SO, clearly the angle with which I am approaching this list has changed greatly. Instead of obsessing over an object first, I’m instead obsessing over the TRIUMPH of the SPIRIT I’m witnessing. These are dark times and yet every single day I am touched or impressed by peoples’ ability to rise to the occasion and help in some capacity. The level of compassion, industriousness and creativity coming from citizens and businesses alike has been very inspiring – a true triumph of the spirit despite the bleakest of conditions. That’s my first and main obsession. Here are the rest:
Aperitifs, liqueurs and low-ABV wine cocktails
I have always been a “social drinker” which is a classy label for my (maybe too) enthusiastic and expedient consumption of alcohol when I’m out with my friends. I’m one of those people who zeroes in on a jukebox and imposes a dance party on everyone, for better or worse. So, drinking at home is not really a thing I did often or really at all before all this. I have established that I don’t enjoy being drunk at home unless I’m with pals and we are vibin’ on a good playlist or game. However, I do like having a drink after work because it does make me feel normal-ish and even though work has slowed down a bit, it is not without its new form of stressors.
I am really, REALLY into a spritzer made of botanical and slightly-medicinal aperitifs mixed with a little sparkling wine or seltzer. My current go-to is the French aperitif Bonal Gentiane-Qiuna, made with 50/50 Bridge Lane Bubbles and seltzer and finished with a wedge of lemon. It’s a little bitter, floral/herby, a little sweet, a little tart, and it won’t mess me up on the couch. This may even be my go-to drink at the bar after Q-tine!
Baking, baking, baking!!
Something I LOVE to do but normally don’t have the time (or mental bandwidth) to do on my days off is bake. Since my workweek is more manageable physically and stress-wise, and my weekends are now spent at home, I’m finally digging deep into these baking projects. Why baking is so ideal right now:
Most (good) bread recipes span 24 hours, sometimes more! Ever make puff pastry? If not, let me tell ya its a great way to fill an entire afternoon. Between measuring/weighing out all the ingredients, rising, proofing and the final bake, an entire day has passed in a flash. All the while, your mind was taken over by this project and now you are responsible for this dough or batter or whatever you made. You start rooting for it. I find that my mind puts the non-stop news reel on pause, and replaces it with recipe excerpts, mental timers and ideas for the next baking project.
More specifically, I can’t get enough of TEA CAKE!
HEALTH (physical and mental)
With the exception of my after-work spritzers, my drinking is at an all-time low. I am walking (for pleasure) more than ever. I am doing yoga in my living room, paying attention to what I put in my body and even paying more attention to what comes out (HA, overshare??). In all seriousness, my job is normally so fast-paced and physically and psychologically taxing that I am taking this time to slow down and focus on my body and mind, listening closely to what they have been trying to tell me for years. I know this is not an easy task for everyone (and if that’s the case for you, definitely keep doing what is right for you!), but the greatest outcome of these efforts is that I feel calmer and more rational about what is happening in my environment.
Podcasting (yup, I’m a full-blown podcaster now OKAY SO WHAT)
In order to further my mission to slow the mental news reel, I’ve been listening to podcasts while doing chores or mindless tasks where the doom often finds its way in too easily. Namely, All Songs Considered, the Bon Appetit Podcast, Song Exploder and the Sporkful. I realize I am deep in a niche here, but there is literally something for everyone, and it’s a great time to commit to listening to someone (ANYONE!!) talk to you for an hour about something you love.
Director of Tasting Rooms