It’s the End of the World as We Know It, and I Feel Fine – R.E.M.

Ciao Readers!  I am happy to have this forum to reach out to you, wherever you are, say “hello” and offer my warm thoughts for you and yours.

So, I knew I wanted to say something in these strange times, but I didn’t know what. It just came to me on a long walk (one of many over the past weeks). I wanted to share my thoughts about the “silver linings” to the apocalypse. I completely understand that folks are suffering – physically, financially, psychologically – and I do not mean to diminish their suffering. But for me, I have to look ahead and try and glean the good that will come to stay out of the dark. So, in no particular order, here are some of the long-term “positives” I think will result:

U.S. Society: I think the pandemic is showing us where our societal structural fabric is weak and needs adjustments. This situation has shed (even more) light on the need for universal health care, paid sick leave, fair wages, childcare and more. It has also forced the justice system to ask questions like “should we really be keeping a 70 year-old locked up for inability to pay a jaywalking fine right now?” (which begs the question, should we ever?). On a more human societal note, I think it is making us appreciate our interconnectedness and motivating people to help others. Even the small things, like more patience at the grocery and a kind word for the cashiers, can start ripple effects of good in the universe.

Corporations: This seems like a “rubber hits the road” moment where we get to truly see if corporations are or are not good global citizens. When Amazon raised its and Whole Foods’ employees wages by 2$/hr., I felt much better about shopping with them. I am also very impressed with t-mobile giving unlimited data, Xfinity free hot spots, and Audible free books to help us all through. In contrast, when McDonalds actively lobbied against paid sick time in the stimulus bill, it reinforced the fact that it is good that I haven’t stepped foot in one since I worked there (ages 14 – 16, yes, against child labor laws). Don’t get me started on Hobby Lobby, which I was already boycotting before this (if you want to read their rationale for staying open and making people come to work, you can read it here). If I get to be preachy at all, I would ask that you think carefully in the future about the corporations to which you’re giving your hard earned money.

Global/Cultural: This one’s a little hard, because I know there have been many incidences of racism.  However, on the bright side, I think we have all been made more aware of what other countries and peoples are going through and what they have or have not done in response. Maybe we gain some empathy for suffering Italians and some appreciation for law-respecting South Koreans.  Maybe we also decide that the liberty/safety balance in China is more than we are willing to give; maybe not.  Regardless of what our personal perspectives are, we are probably getting more world news now than we ever have and learning about other countries and their people on a very human level. I am personally still mind-boggled by all of the photos I have seen of Italians queuing politely outside grocery stores (who knew they actually could?!).

Personally:  I could go on about this one for a long time (as I am guessing you can as well – feel free to share in the comments). For those of you who know me, you know I can be a bit of a control freak. I see this as the universe’s way of finally ingraining the old proverb about “learning what you can’t control” into my thick skull….we shall see.  And even though I am fortunate and still have tons of work to do every day (which I should be doing now instead of writing this), there does seem to be more time to stop and smell the metaphorical roses. So, I will leave you as I often do, returning to food – two days ago Steve and I made pasta from hand (something we keep “meaning” to do but never seem to get around to). I was too busy rolling and covered in flour to take photos of the process, but pretend you can smell and taste the final product (that’s Tuscan sausage/kale/white bean sauce)…….   Until next time!

 

A Plethora of Pasta (A Photo Anthology)

Ciao Readers!

A couple of weeks ago in my dream grocery post I mentioned the countless varieties of pasta they have here.  I thought it would be fun to underline my point by taking my camera into the two grocery stores in our neighborhood (COOP and Conad).  Mind you, this is the pasta at just regular ol’ smallish groceries – not the big fancy groceries and not the foodie markets (where you can find pasta in every shape and color).  The idea is that there is a perfectly shaped pasta for each and every individual sauce out there (the right nooks and crannies to hold sauces of differing densities/viscosities).  I haven’t counted, but I’m guessing you could find at least 100 varieties of pasta in each of these groceries (hey, if you’re gonna eat 51 pounds of it a year, ya need variety).  Notice that there are 3 types each of just the store-brand penne and rigatoni (each just a slightly different size)!   Every store has at least one entire aisle side dedicated to pasta, as well as an entire section of inexpensive refrigerated pasta, then a separate section of various types of locally made “fresh” pasta.  Just a sampling from a trip the grocery…  Boun Appetito!

(If by chance you are thinking “hmmmm, this post seems a bit thin,” you’re not off-base; I started back to Italian school last week, and for reasons I will explain in a forthcoming post, ended up in level 6 of 6, so my brain capacity and blogging time are seriously hampered! I will likely only be posting 2 times/week for a while.)  In any case, there are pics of cute little mini pastas, too….

pasta isle

Fun Fact (featuring a pasta-eating quiz)

Ciao Readers!

Sorry if the title threw you – no, I have not found a way to provide an actual eating experience on my blog (yet).  (Nor will the quiz, below, be consuming any pasta.)  Today’s fun fact is in the form of a poll about how much pasta Italians v. Americans eat.  Mind you, I did as much research as I could (also some taste-testing) and the answer to the quiz represents the numbers that appeared most frequently and in the most reliable sources (there’s just way too much info in cyberspace).  So, on with today’s quiz:

So, unfortunately, poll-daddy on wordpress is really for just for polls, not quizzes, so the only way for you to know if you got the answer right is for me to tell you.  If I just type it, it will take the fun out of taking the quiz, cause you’ll see the answer below.  Instead, take the quiz first.  (Yes, right now, before you read another word.)  Okay, have you taken it? Seriously?

Alright, now for the answer….I’ll give you a hint…it’s not the first, second or third option… (Yep, that’s about a pound a week for those of you doing the math!)

Thanks for playing along!  (I don’t know about you, but I am really enjoying these “fun facts,” though I just realized that unlike the others, this one is not based on a gripe…..and it’s making me kinda hungry.)

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