Well, all of society is now getting a crash course in Home Ec. And maybe that's not the worst thing. Sewing machines are flying off the shelves, as a Walmart exec told us last week. My colleague Sue Herera says her kids are having a blast learning new recipes from the Food Network's Kitchen app.
And maybe I'm finally starting to master the art--or science--of meal planning. I don't want to brag, but the shredded barbecue chicken I made over the weekend turned out pret-ty, pret-ty good. The recipe is literally: 6 chicken breasts, 12 oz of barbecue sauce, a can of Coke, and four hours on high in the CrockPot. Clueless-millennial-proof. I got it from one of the mommy blogs I now devour like I used to devour Warren Buffett shareholder letters.
There has been deeper learning, too: how to manage family rhythms so we're all not losing it by 11 a.m., etc. I was thinking of this when reading Peggy Noonan's column this weekend. She quoted social psychologist Jonathan Haidt: "The key concept everyone has to understand," he said, "is hardship generally makes people stronger. Fear, challenge, threat--unless they are extreme--tend to produce growth, not damage."
Haidt, she wrote, "feels this could be a turning point for some of the young who have been 'overprotected.' They are enduring 'a giant shock and setbacks,' he said. 'This will make them experience, and deal. Many people will grow a lot from it.'"
The only teeny, tiny problem is the disruption this is all causing to grocery stores and the food supply. Turns out the early Toilet Paper Panic was not the worst of it. Not only are we all choosing to meal-plan these days and grocery shop accordingly, we are being forced to because the grocery store experience, lines, and random shortages are worsening by the day. Remember that shredded chicken I made? If I'd left the store five minutes earlier last week, it would have been without any chicken breast, period.
Not only is grocery demand way up, but coronavirus is causing supply problems, too. Smithfield, the biggest pork producer, warned yesterday we are moving "perilously close to the edge" in grocery supplies after shutting one of its U.S. plants (that alone accounts for 4-5% of U.S. pork production) indefinitely after a coronavirus outbreak.
CEO Ken Sullivan said: "We have a stark choice as a nation: we are either going to produce food or not, even in the face of COVID-19." I think we all know which choice has to be made. And the gratitude and support being shown to healthcare workers should be extended to all workers in the food supply chain. The message needs to be: you are risking your lives and we depend on you and will support you however we can.
See you at 1 p.m!
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