Camille Watkin

"I'm not sure if it's comfort we have found in food, or comfort in knowing that we now have time to enjoy our food."
Camille Family Unmasked Zoom

Camille Watkin and Kennedy Jade-Watkin Myrie with their family on Zoom.

I wrote this with my 12-year-old, Kennedy. She pointed out that Covid-19 has changed our family. We’ve never had so many meals together (in a row), as a family, at home.

My sister is a med-surg nurse and cares for Covid-19 patients at her hospital, so the reality of the pandemic is something we know all too well.

Our home—specifically, our kitchen—has become our safe space. It has no TV. No longer just a grab-and-go station for travel snacks or an after-school dumping ground for sports equipment, it’s now being used to cook some good, healthy foods.

We’ve discovered our stove and oven. We have finally found time to read those cookbooks and awesome family recipes that were passed down to us by our Jamaican grandmothers, my mom and my aunties. We are following recipes, and sometimes making stuff up as we go.

Cooking as a family is new to us. We all take turns now, so the preparation isn’t such a grueling solo task. The shopping, admittedly, feels like gearing up for war in full body armor, and disinfecting groceries is a chore and a half. But then there is home-cooked food.

We have a new ritual—a weekly shared meal (on Zoom) with my mom and sometimes other family members and friends. Family connection is a newfound privilege. We’re putting more love and attention into our family dinners, now that the stress of an hour-and-a-half commute, after-school lacrosse practices and crosstown karate competitions has been lifted.

I’m not sure if it’s comfort we have found in food, or comfort in knowing that we now have time to enjoy our food.

Our kitchen finally feels like home. We have been forced to slow down and stay inside. It’s a welcome solace. Hardly any food gets wasted now. Our recycling bin collects more than our trash cans.

We cook, eat, clean, play games, read, talk, laugh. We are enjoying each other’s company.

Our conversations are both meaningful and light. With everything going on, all the uncertainty and fears, we are cognizant about celebrating moments of joy.

Laughter often fills our home. It feels good. We sometimes joke about disinfectants and cleansers being the new 2020 currency. Under our kitchen cupboards is a mini Fort Knox.


Readers: We want to hear your stories. Send your 300-word COVID-19 story and a photo to editorial@arlingtonmagazine.com.  You can read more Covid Chronicles essays here

Categories: Covid Chronicles
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