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‘Welcome to another riveting day of planning meals and preparing 536 different snacks’

by Amanda Cassidy
05th Feb 2021

Shopping, cooking, eating, talking about what to eat, fighting about what to eat, eating too much... Anyone else stuck in a never-ending food rut, wonders Amanda Cassidy

“Will we ever forget it?”

My neighbour has said this to me every single morning of lockdown as we see each other on our daily walk while our dogs sniff at a very unsocial distance. It is usually followed up with “It’s like Groundhog Day” said a lack of irony that makes me equally bemused and murderous.

(Groundhog Day, for those who live under a rock. was this week (Feb 2nd) when good old Punxsutawney Phil predicted 6 more weeks of winter)

It is almost a year since we first heard the concept of having to stay within 3 miles of our home with Gardai stationed in our neighbourhoods to make sure we don’t venture any further. Our collective future has been suspended in time, dismissed with the wave of Tony’s hand until “the numbers fall further.”

Everyone has played their part.

What’s for dinner?

But as we face yet into another week of homeschool and bloody walks. Groundhog Day is an understatement – this is more like Going-out-of-my-mind-thinking-of-things-to-cook Day. And it’s every day with no end in sight.

This food apathy is the complete antithesis to the first lockdown when we all channeled our inner Jamie Oliver. We baked to make Mary Berry proud, we Instagrammed our heads off with photos of restaurant kits and fancy take-aways and DIY cocktails.

But just like the novelty of Zoom quizzes wore off, so to did the excitement when it came to ordering or cooking our meals.

Even take-aways bore me now

This time around, we have lost all food motivation – especially when you have cranky cooped-up kids to appease. Banana bread can kiss my…As for another thing, nobody ever told me before I had children that 91% of it is trying to keep them full for more than an hour just so you can unchain yourself from the kitchen.

How did they ever get through the school day with a sandwich and a rice-cake when they are almost fainting on the floor after two bowls of pasta, three apples, 2 biscuits, popcorn, and 57 crackers at the same time at home?

What voodoo do those schools have over them and why don’t they teach it to us?

Teachers it must be said are playing a blinder as we all hobble to the homeschool finish line. Do they know, I wonder, that we gesture wildly to our kids to mute, mouth them the answer (some parents write prompts in LARGE on a piece of paper behind the laptop), and then bask in the praise vicariously through our obviously genius children?

Without the joy of eating at a table that isn’t our own kitchen table (or coffee table with our hands at this stage) food is dull and perfunctory – just another chore. Even take-aways bore me now.

The social aspect of breaking bread with friends or colleagues will no longer be taken for granted. Nor too will the concept of having a social life at all. Remember all those evenings where we hummed and hawed and decided not to go out? 

This year has changed us all a lot. It will have left a mark as indelible as the whiteboard marker scribbles all over my wooden dining table. We have become judgemental, fearful, and sometimes despondent. We have also become resourceful, resilient, creative and hungry… always hungry.

Let this lockdown end for all the important reasons – the suppression of the virus, the health of the nation, the psyche of our communities. But please let it end so I don’t have to cook and plan and eat and repeat day after day after day.

Will we ever forget it all the same?