Monday Author: Susanne Skinner
We suspended our lives for one year, trying to make sense of it all. Considering what we’ve been through, there is much to be thankful for.
Optimism is about the future. I look back on a year of heartbreak, then look forward with renewed hope as we come to the end of March 2021. I have a lot on my mind.
Getting Back to Normal
More than 1 in 5 Americans have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine. As a nation, we are healing ourselves and reopening the country.
Normal will follow. As more people become vaccinated and recreational outings resume, each of us will redefine what normal means. Many of us are feeling tired, lonely, and impatient.
Our isolation left us with a lot of online time. It’s important to remain informed but the tendency to post and repost information without fact checking annoys me. Knowledge is power only when you share correct information.
I implore everyone to double check sources before making anything public. When it’s not fact checked for accuracy and truth, it’s either your opinion or your ignorance.
Don’t get nasty when others disagree and if it offends you unfollow the poster.
In the News
One year ago, on March 11 the World Health Organization declared the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak became a global pandemic. Since then, COVID-19 has claimed more than 539,038 American lives.
This crisis points to the need for a strong public health system. COVID-19 illuminated inequities in health care and underscored the need for fast and accurate data systems. Americans learned to appreciate the roles of healthcare workers during a pandemic.
The nation has turned a corner and we are moving in the right direction. Where we go from here depends on doing all we can to protect ourselves and our communities.
The Real Influencers
There’s a lot of talk these days about influencers. It may feel woke, but it’s not new. Influencer marketing originated with celebrity endorsements. Companies counted on sales increases when their products were promoted by someone famous.
The original influencers were journalists, academics and industry experts. Today they are daughters of college admission scandal parents or people I’ve never heard of. They live on sites like Instagram and Tik Tok. I never doubt their influencer status but question their integrity and sometimes their intelligence.
Does anyone really think an actress who nets $7M per film colors her own hair? On the other hand, I have no problem believing Tiger Woods wears a Rolex or Nicole Kidman’s perfume of choice is Chanel.
My girl Martha Stewart is an original influencer and one of the best!
Friendships That Don’t Survive Politics
2020 is the year many of us learned that the price of politics is friendship. A presidential election showed the dark side of people we thought we knew. Everyone has a story, and everyone can point to a former friend.
Not every friend is going to be your best friend. That was true before politics intervened. In the age of social media and deeply partisan politics an election became the deciding factor in life-long relationships.
Friendships are based on shared philosophies and ideas, but it’s also important to value differences. You can’t be in synch all of the time but it’s important to share values in order to remain friends.
I have ex-friends whose appalling language and behavior made them unlovable. Continuing our friendship was impossible. These losses have been entirely about political beliefs.
In the Kitchen with Suze
Chill your batter. This is my new baking mantra. When muffin or cookie dough is chilled, baking magic happens. Refrigeration absorbs moisture, resulting in a more tender crumb. Your muffins rise to greater heights and flavors improve. Make the batter the night before baking. This activates the baking powder and allows the dough to rise quickly.
Cookies made from chilled dough taste better and bake more evenly. There is science behind the chilling. Refrigeration allows the butter, shortening, cream cheese, and other fats to solidify. This prevents cookies from spreading too quickly when baking. If you cook with a high-fat European butter (like me), this is a critical step. Try these chocolate chip cookies from David Lebovitz. You get crisp edges and a chewy center.
Read ~ Watch ~ Listen: March 2021
When it comes to entertainment, here’s what’s on my mind for March 2021.
The Orphan X Series by Gregg Hurwitz. His series of books became my pandemic reading obsession.
Orphan X is the self-titled first book describing a government black ops group that recruits young boys with no family ties and trains them to be international assassins. Evan Smoak is Orphan X. The books follow him as he abandons the program (not allowed) and becomes The Nowhere Man, helping desperate people in need.
Searching for Italy is a six-part CNN Series following Academy Award nominee Stanley Tucci as he travels across Italy exploring culinary traditions. He is fluent in Italian and gets to the heart of regional dishes through local culture and family recipes. We made the Spaghetti alla Nerano after watching the episode on Napoli.
Stephane Grappelli From Paris With Love. Grappelli is the grandfather of jazz violinists. He is most well-known for his collaborations with gypsy guitarist Django Reinhardt. Together they created the first all-string jazz band. This soon-to-be-released three-CD set features 30 of their songs, including two of my favorites, La Mer, and The Folks Who Live on the Hill.
Both Grappelli and Reinhardt are gone, but this never-before-issued collection honors their enormous talent.
Be positive, stay healthy, and bake some cookies.