As summer wraps up….

What a strange year. It has been a roller coaster of emotions and happenings for everyone, both good and bad. I hope everyone is staying safe, wearing masks, and social distancing as much as possible. Not everyone can work from home, and I feel very much for those that go off to work every day. I also feel for those that are struggling because of a lack of work due to the pandemic. These are not easy times, and we are not out of the woods yet. It will take everyone doing their part, no matter how small, to pull us through to the other side.

Adapting to working remotely 95% of the time has been interesting, and a lesson in planning and personal determination. I like the summer hours the campus keeps, as I can get a lot of things done once I”m off the clock at 3:30pm. It doesn’t sound like a lot of time, that hour and a half difference. However, when you are focused with a goal you can get a lot done. I was able to pull and write recipes, draft copy for attempting my first food videos (sorry for the packed and tiny kitchen – I’m working at reorganizing and moving things around for the future), get grocery shopping done without rushing, and FINALLY start cataloging my huge cookbook library.

I want to say thank you to Allison Wolfe for her continuing collaboration and support of the zany Worst Cooks bingo that I started earlier this year. I am not part of the Food Network family (though I’d love to!), just a big food groupie. It is fun to watch past seasons and try to guess what to put on the bingo cards. Most of the time I come pretty close, since basic skills are something everyone has to learn when they first start. Interacting with some of the contestants has been a blast, and I think Season 20 was a terrific one with Alex Guarnaschelli’s style complimenting that of Anne Burrell. The camaraderie among the two teams was above and beyond what I’ve seen previously, and it was easy to see that they all got along.

Now that summer is almost over, it is time to make new plans. The yearly fair turn-in deluge will not be happening due to the pandemic causing most of the fair to be cancelled or go virtual. I think my husband is a little relieved, because the two turn-in weekends (crafts and baked goods) are super hectic as I try to get everything possible done and turned in before 5pm. I’m a little sad because I was going to try to beat my record of 26 items baked in a day and a half (including yeast breads and candy). There’s always next year, and will give me time to perfect a few things. (I do miss having taste testers handy at work for feedback.)

I think between now and the end of September will be more about getting organized and update parts of the kitchen so we can make better videos. It has a small galley-style kitchen, next to no pantry space, and the upper cabinets over what should be a breakfast bar are hung too low to do anyone any favors. The house is older than I am, so we never know exactly what twist might happen on a project until we are in the middle of it. I will finally get the cookbook cataloging project finished and uploaded so that I quit accidentally buying duplicates, and get started on writing a cookbook. I promised myself I’d get one done before I turned 60, and that is only a few years away. I have an idea for a quirky cooking show (no, I’m not telling anything about it just yet), and will be pushing my comfort zone to do more cooking videos. You might see me tackle real-life leftover issues, or random ingredients and what to do with them (or not!). I really want people to be able to relate and not be intimidated with cooking and baking. There is a lot I don’t know, but I’m always willing to research and learn. I can laugh at my cooking blunders and figure out how to do better the next time. It’s food; if it tastes good it’s still a win in my book.

It is a tough time for the nation, and will be so until we get a handle on the pandemic. Look out for each other, check in on your friends and family remotely, practice self-care, and above all, be kind. Choose to respond to a challenge or situation instead of react. Making the conscious decision on what you do will change more than just the outcome. It will change your outlook and resilience for the better. Remember, you are living, you occupy space, and you matter.

Also, life is too short for bad food. Drop me a message or comment on what you want a recipe for or see me make. I’m up for a challenge, so let’s make it fun!

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