Pandemic Diaries: Lemon squares

By Jamie Etheridge

Yesterday I made lemon squares. I rarely cook and never bake, but it was after the curfew and I had a craving for something lemony and tart. So I searched online and found what seemed like a no-fail, easy recipe. I collected the ingredients and with the help of my eight-year-old daughter, whipped up the eggs, sugar, lemon and butter into a frothy, gooey yellow filling and poured this over some crushed cookies in a pan.

In half an hour the entire house smelled of fresh lemons and sugar, and when they came out of the oven, all of us rushed to take a bite. The lemon squares turned out less than perfect. They were sweet and squishy, not as tart as I’d hoped. But nonetheless completely satisfying.

This may seem odd, talking about lemon squares in the middle of a global pandemic. Such things seem unimportant and unworthy of discussion even in normal times, much less when people are dying en masse all over the globe and we are all hiding in our homes, trying to stay safe and flatten the spread of this terrible virus.

But I mention the lemon squares on purpose. I spend anywhere from 8-10 hours online daily. Just monitoring events in Kuwait and around the globe and staying aware of all the latest developments can be all-engrossing and all-encompassing. I’m guessing many of you spend your days repeatedly checking your phone, social media and your favorite news sites to get the latest news. Unfortunately, most of it is bad and likely to get worse.

We are living through a historical moment of momentous import, a global pandemic that has completely stopped modern civilization in its tracks and left all of us shell-shocked and reeling. Even as we continue with our daily lives when and where we can, working from home, e-learning for the kids, cooking, cleaning or socializing via Zoom, life may go on, but it definitely is not as before. We are living in a strange, bizarro world, and this strangeness, coupled with the daily grind of grim facts and disheartening news from around the globe, can take its toll.

There is no escaping the reality of the world we are faced with now…but we can take a break every now and then, pretend that it’s Saturday afternoon and the kids are bored and “hey, let’s make dessert.” And that’s why I made lemon squares. Nothing huge, nothing expensive, nothing dramatic. Just a few ingredients, some effort in the kitchen with the kids, and a tasty dessert at the end that equals a few moments of normal.

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