One good thing about my island is the food.
It seems that my confinement has made me more inventive and courageous in my comestible productions. We have explored soups and stews, stir-fries and casseroles and all manner of elaborate recipes that we might never take effort for in the hectic days of freedom.
There are inevitable shortages due to high demand and hoarding, of course. There is still precious little pasta on the shelves (rather than a month of Sundays we seem to be living through a month of Prince Spaghetti Days*). Flour and yeast are mere rumors, not that I would ever try to bake my own bread. And for some reason all the sardines were gone at my local grocery – a good source of vitamins for sure, but not something that I would stock a shelter with.
The plenty is a two-edged sword. My abundance is tempered with the awareness that there are many out there who are struggling for food from a combination of lack of money, lack of transportation or lack of access to reasonable food stores. My son, at the height of his interest in eco-art, once explained how the zombie apocalypse, were it to really happen, would be based on food deserts – those areas of the urban landscape where there are no groceries or reliable sources of fresh and healthy food. We are seeing the actuality of that divide daily in Dallas and all over the world.
There are organizations that try to combat the inequality of food resources. Everything from food pantries to local farms. Some communities are leaning on Victory Gardens, a charming effort started during the World Wars to supplement the home larder without compromising the supply chains for the troops. But gardens take time and the need is so immediate.
It’s always hard to decide what community services to support. In times of relative plenty (remembering that poverty and the food divide are not produced by the pandemic, merely intensified), we can dabble. Now there is urgency to choose and support. The key is not to pick the perfect cause, but to pick any cause and act.
We should not feel guilty for enjoying what we have, but we should be conscious of the needs of others in this strange shared community that the pandemic has created.
*If you know that in “Boston’s Italian North End, Wednesday is Prince Spaghetti Day”, you are wicked awesome. Just ask Anthony Martignetti.
[This Post was adapted from a essay originally published on Facebook the day listed above]