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April 1, 2020

It's going to be ok

Oh boy!

Most of us are entering our third week of self-isolation, limiting our contact with the outside world. I am staying safe and closely following the terrible spread of the coronavirus. Never could I have imagined the drama we are currently living through, and yet, it is unfolding right before our eyes… in our empty streets, in our schools that have fallen silent, in our shuttered businesses and even in our own homes that have been transformed into safe bunkers to keep an elusive enemy at bay.

What can we do to stay positive? To keep busy and to hold on to the belief that “it’s going to be okay”? Colouring rainbows, creating new cookies for the kids, perfecting a more flavourful pork chop sauce, reading about making jam or brushing up on our bread-making skills. Well, perhaps I might share with you what a busy white-haired lady like myself does when she no longer has anything important to do?    

This afternoon, for example, after returning from my walk in nature, where life is springing back, I gently cooked a new papaya jam. Papayas that I had carefully washed with a kitchen brush, peeled and deseeded, before finely dicing them. The papayas’ sweet flesh spent the night in the fridge covered in three-quarters of its weight in sugar.

I was excited to try a new recipe and especially curious to see how it would turn out. Getting comfortable on a stool I had placed in front of the stove, I watched the mixture as it simmered. Despite being on low, I had to skim big milky bubbles from the surface a few times. Gently stirring with a wooden spoon, I waited until the small, hot bits of papaya became clear, bulging at the centre and thickening in perfect harmony with the syrup that was neither too runny or sticky.

I trust my fingers more than my eyes to tell me when it’s time to turn off the heat. Simply by touching a few drops of syrup flicked onto a saucer, I can tell that the jam is going to be delicious.

Stay safe, Cora