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  • Renee Kashuba

ICYMI

We're beginning to emerge from our homes, at varying speeds, around the globe. As we rejoin world events, already in progress, it may be time to broaden our focus beyond the daily concerns of surviving life in lockdown. I feel like I've missed so much, being disconnected from others near and far. As a small business owner, working primarily in isolation in my commercial kitchen, I interact with others to a limited extent. I have no water cooler. My husband is a freelance writer, so he's at home, too. And yet, we usually seem to keep each other up to date on our different interests and what's happening in the local, national, and international news. Although I've been following the news, I feel less informed than normal. So, why do I feel like I don't know what's going on in the world? Why do I feel like I'm jumping into a world already in turmoil and I've missed the beginning of the story?


The primary answer must be that I've changed my focus. The top news stories seem always to be COVID-19 related. As a Chef who never really shut down completely, I've made extra effort to research emerging science on the disease and its transmission, as well as current guidelines from the local health department, the governor, the CDC, and WHO. Well, that's a lot. I've just immersed myself in all things coronavirus.


Now I find myself blinking in the bright outdoor light of a new day, trying to get my bearings. And the images I'm seeing are bleak. Mass uprisings and demonstrations, sometime violent, to police brutality that are also fueled by the racial disparities in the individual and community experiences of the pandemic. [See Holley Bailey, Annie Gowen, Vanessa Williams, and Jose A. Del Real's 'It's a blue-soaked anger': Amid protests, African Americans feel a private grief in The Washington Post (paywall).] The communities hardest hit by the virus are now suffering from the ongoing protests and aftershocks of demonstrations. [See Washington Post coverage of coronavirus in communities of color (paywall) and a look at racial disparities by NPR.] And those demonstrations are spreading beyond our country [Washington Post paywall].


What to do? That really follows along the same thread of personal responsibility that is so essential to continuing efforts to contain the virus. It's up to each of us to find our way. Some business leaders are advocating for a green return over business as usual. A Chef argues for the dismantling of the restaurant industry as we know it. I agree with these sentiments. If we have to forge a new path, let it be a better one than we trudged before. And so, I find myself looking for ways to emerge as a disrupter, and I'm considering radically different business models. I just can't quite manage bringing back the status quo, even in my very small corner of this enormous industry.


What can you do? I always try to include some tiny call to action on the very local level for folks. This week, it's a simple reminder of your civic duty. School budgets are going to a vote this week in our area, and that vote will be conducted by mail-in ballot. As always, vote. No matter what, always vote in every election you can. It is a powerful voice that so often goes unused. But especially vote in this election, not just to give support to budgets to help our schools in this period of extreme economic hardship (or reject them, if you don't like them -- it's your choice!), but to demonstrate the feasibility of mail-in ballots and the simple truth that democracy will prevail through any crisis. As a society, we simply must find a way to persist.


And here are some calls to action to help the local economy:

  • All week (and probably next week, too) I'll be highlighting local businesses I look forward to frequenting again on Instagram. Follow me to see the notices.

  • Chime in on Instagram, Facebook, or respond to this newsletter with more of your favorites. The more, the merrier!

  • Keep informed about local news that's not coronavirus related.

This Week's Recipes

Well, I feel I have to give the premium members a bit more for their investment. I'm going to start sharing recipes that I haven't previously shared before. These are my adaptations and original creations -- the ones that I don't generally share (because pretty much everything I do is some kind of adaptation).

Banana Foster Cake

3/4 c butter, softened

1 3/4 c brown sugar

4 eggs

1/2 c dark rum

1 Tb vanilla

3 bananas, liquified in blender (about 2 c volume)

3 c flour

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

1 Tb baking powder


Cream butter and & sugar until well mixed. Beat in eggs & liquids. Mix flour, salt, cinnamon, salt, & powder. Mix into batter. Bake in greased & lined 8-inch round cake pans (2). Cool fully.


Brown Sugar Milk Icing

1 c milk

1/2 c brown sugar

2 Tb corn starch

1/2 c white sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1 c butter, slightly softened


Mix milk with sugar and corn starch and boil until thickened. Cool fully in refrigerator. Beat butter until creamy. Add vanilla, milk mixture and sugar and beat until fluffy. Fill and ice cake with icing.


Cognac Caramel Sauce

1/2 c butter

1 c brown sugar

1/2 c cream

Dash salt

Vanilla

1 Tb cognac


Place all ingredients in small saucepan. Heat gently to low boil. Reduce heat and simmer until slightly thickened. DO NOT STIR. No matter how much you want to. Do not stir. Cool and drizzle over cake.


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