Mom! Can we order yet?

Navigating our way back to our favorite restaurants is hard, but not impossible.

By week 9 of shuttling between the four walls of my home, I can say that Sunday afternoons may be my favorite time of the week. You’ve had a heavy lunch and proceed to pat your belly with undeserving love. Even though the cold beers have been missing for a while, nothing can compare to the gentle breeze that cradles you to sleep. You wake up, blissfully happy and content, only to realize that you now have to cook dinner. What ensues is a heated debate on the perils of ordering takeout. Welcome to my least favorite time of the week.

While we have been riding the ‘outside food is prohibited at home’ bandwagon for close to two months, the question arises how long are we supposed to stay away? The answer, unfortunately, is as twisted as the bowl of spaghetti you’re craving.

This problem has alternating layers of apprehension around safety concerns and a lack of control topped with the craving for that indulgent tiramisu that you just cannot replicate at home despite all the YouTube tutorials. Through the world of suppliers, restaurant kitchens, delivery executives, our only resting defense is soap and the almighty microwave. This defense whether we like it or not is enough, and truth be told, is all we have.

Our world’s paradigm has shifted and acclimatizing with the new world order is crucial. Our work desks may be swapped by wobbly bed trays till further notice, but yet the world keeps turning. Covid-19 needs to be approached with caution and an army of sanitizers but yet needs to be de-stigmatized.

There is a difference between de-stigmatizing and normalizing, and while the latter should be avoided at the perils of letting our guards down, we do need to understand the benefits of the former.

The National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) has estimated, and Ramarko Sengupta mentioned in an article, that over 20 lakh industry professionals are likely to lose their job amid this crisis. The industry has come together to ask the government for monetary relief, and the people for their continued support by placing orders and enjoying the food in the confines of one’s home. Some may contest the proposition of supporting restaurant businesses at the cost of personal safety.

Now, I urge you to think about the moments that have made you feel warm over the past years. Ever felt that sense of utter relief at the first sip of the cocktail on a Friday night, the sense of excitement of scribbling a message on a cake at 11:48 pm minutes before you were supposed to wish a friend on their birthday, or salivating when your server brought you that plate of loaded fries that you were dreaming about during your meeting? All of this would cease to exist.

It’s not your responsibility to save the restaurants single-handedly. You should and need to hold them accountable for their hygiene, anything less can be considered blasphemous. It’s a business that needs to serve it’s clientele after all. But understand the risks they take through these trying times to open, survive, and feed. These risks are not just to feed you, but also to sustain hundreds of families that are reliant on the business running.

Unfortunately, most of us at some point are going to know someone who has contracted Covid-19, and the only way to fight it is as a community that believes and trusts. To do this, we need to do stop allocating blame. No one wants to catch it, and moreover, no one wants to pass it on. Serving sentences to individuals and organizations affected despite exacting protocols can be counterintuitive. Support isn’t supposed to be unconditional, but being able to provide it when someone needs it the most is probably one of the kindest things you can do.

So give your kitchen a rest, follow the instructions prescribed to sanitize, give your microwave a grateful wave, and enjoy that takeout. It’s time to build new memories within your four walls.

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Hi! I’m Takshama, and FIP is a collection of ruminations on how our geopolitical context dictates what we eat. I sometimes sidebar to discuss the F&B industry.

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Food is Political

Hi! I’m Takshama, and FIP is a collection of ruminations on how our geopolitical context dictates what we eat. I sometimes sidebar to discuss the F&B industry.