This is Magnolia. I just adopted her in January, she’s a senior terrier mix from the Montgomery County Humane Society. She is very sweet and will be 11 in May and has been such a comfort and distraction for me lately. She is totally allowed on the furniture.

This week has been scary and overwhelming for so many people. A lot (a lot a lot a lot) of people are being hit hard economically and personally by COVID-19. The food and beverage world is particularly affected. Employees, owners, purveyors and more. The ripple effects are huge. And let’s not forget people are sick and dying.

Yesterday, I couldn’t stop thinking about something. If this virus had happened 18 months ago, my life would be very different. October 2018 was my rock bottom. I had gone through most of my savings and retirement trying to keep my consulting business going, I had a tarp in my bathroom dealing with a leaky roof, I was temporarily without health insurance and had a very painful ear infection. On the verge of tears, being me, I plowed on. It was a Saturday, my market shopping day. I wanted to feel normal, so I go and pick up my CSA share from Joan at One Straw Farm. Joan is an incredibly kindhearted person and we know each other pretty well — and she could tell I don’t feel well. We talked a few minutes and I assured her that I will be just fine. Later that morning, I ran into a friend who owns a restaurant and she asks how I am, fully getting that I’m having a rough day. I tell her what’s going on and she says she might be able to help and that she will get in touch later that day. I am so happy and emotional that I immediately (finally, it had been coming a few days) burst into tears. I had to turn and walk away, even though I wanted to hug her. A few hours later, I get a text from her saying that she’s figured out a way to get me on their insurance coverage. I’d have to pay, but it was about one third of what I had been paying.

This is just one example of the people of the Baltimore restaurant community.

Two months after this, my lowest point, I experienced my highest. I landed a full-time job back in the fundraising world (my life of 20+ years before food) at The GreenMount School in Remington and I would have what I really needed: a salary and health insurance. But also missing during my four years of self-employment was being an integral part of a community. So, working at GreenMount these past 18 months has been very good for me — financially and emotionally — and I am incredibly thankful.  For real, to say I’m thankful feels completely inadequate. As my Mom said on the phone this morning, “Amy, can you imagine? If this happened before you had your job?” I can’t, no.

Back to now. This week, I ordered some curbside takeout, snacks online from Popsations Popcorn, a produce share from Chesapeake Farm to Table and a few groceries from Amazon. I’m working at home and so far, it’s been productive. I have to say, it took a week or so to settle in, I think I have been depressed. People are sick, businesses are suffering, people are scared. Who knows what’s next. For now, I’ve got lots of cooking to do and walks with Magnolia, writing and more. I am staying in almost exclusively now.

One way I could help (a little) is to pause payments on my (private, members-only) blog posts. So, if you log on to my blog, you can now see recipes for my salted caramel brownies, roasted chicken, steak tartare and also a post about my favorite kitchen tools. I hope you are cooking, it’s such a nice distraction, even for a few hours. I’m hoping to play around with shooting videos in my little kitchen to actually SHOW you how to cook some of my favorite dishes, do some pantry dive cooking and more. I’ve already posted a few videos on my Instagram page.

My inner Quaker is telling me everything will work out. But getting to that point will be very hard.

Stay strong, friends.