By Isa Covo

How many weeks has it been? Five, six, more, does it matter? Each day blends into the other. What if we wake up at 6:00 am, or 12:00 pm, the days, the hours are all the same. It is true, the light changes, and somedays the skies are clear, sometimes cloudy, some days it rains.

In the morning I make coffee, watch a bit of TV, somedays I exercise, I take a shower, I dress in street clothes, and make my bed. I want the day to begin the way it always did.

I look out of the window, and the cars and pedestrians are rare. In this neighborhood anyway, it is not difficult to practice distancing. Very often the sidewalks are completely empty and suddenly, on a sunny day, an elongated shadow may appear on the street a tiny person standing at its feet: A Hopper mage. In the evening, when the streetlights, and some of the home ones are turned on, these quiet dark streets look unsettling as with impending doom suggested in black and white crime movies from the 1930’s, 40’s and 50’s.

The necessary trips to the grocery, or the pharmacy are quick, but there is a satisfaction, even though we keep our distances and sanitize everything we touch, to talk and perhaps exchange some pleasantries with real human beings and to be on the street. I like passing by the little gardens along my walk, all of them planted with tulips, pansies, hyacinths and other flowers whose names I can’t remember. We should have a big street party the day we are able to join our family, friends and neighbors without any social distancing.

But in truth, we are not totally as isolated as we would have been in the days of old: there is Internet, we can write to each other, chat with each other, even have a virtual party with our family, friends and neighbors, as we connect with any of those video connecting sites. Take advantage of it as much as you can. I find that it helps, even if it doesn’t replace being able to go with friends to our favorite hangouts. Speaking of this, last month I had a paragraph about the Hot Club at Cafe Bohemia where Matthew “Fat Cat” Rivera presented rare jazz 78’s. Since all bars, restaurants and clubs are shuttered, so is the Café. If any of you enjoyed the Hot Club Monday evenings, thanks to modern technology, any of you who have internet can continue to do so every Monday evening from 7:00 to 10:00 pm from the comfort of your home, and you don’t even have to live in New York. It is like a salon, with many participants spread far and wide. Here is the information on how to participate: Go to the web site, or you may contact Matthew at I tried it, and it is great.

There is a current conversation nowadays regarding the handshake. When I arrived in the US in the late Fifties, handshakes were reserved for deals, or some such things, otherwise people greeted each other verbally most of the time. For close friends and relatives there was maybe a peck on the cheek. I also witnessed relatives kissing each other on the lips, which I found a little strange.

Handshakes are the preferred greeting in Europe, and when I returned, I had to be nudged to extend my hand.

I have a theory that things started changing in the late 60’s and 70’s, with flower children, the touchy-feely hugs, linking arms, and of course handshakes. It’s time to return to the old ways.

Stay safe. Be well.

Frittata in the Time of Coronavirus

Photo by Isa Covo.

We inspect the refrigerator, some eggs, a tomato, half a pepper, garlic, onions, a few sprigs of drying herbs, a small piece of hard cheese, even some leftover greens. Anything edible. Let’s make a frittata.

  • 2 to 8 large eggs
  • 1 to 4 tablespoons of oil
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons of butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Your choice of ingredients, in quantities according to the number of eggs.

Use a heavy bottomed, preferably nonstick pan in a size appropriate to the quantity of the ingredients

  1. Prepare the ingredients: beat the eggs until the yolks and whites are just mixed. If you use potatoes, cut them into thin slices and parboil or steam for about eight minutes. If you use onions, chop them and sauté with some oil in the pan where you will cook the omelet. If you use a pepper, cut it into strips and add it to the onions. Sauté over medium heat for five minutes, stirring occasionally until the onions are translucent and the pepper strips have softened. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  2. Grate the cheese, mince the garlic, chop coarsely the rest of the ingredients and mix everything together with the onions. Season.
  3. Pour the oil in the pan, add the butter and heat over medium low heat. When the butter has melted and the mixture foams, add the beaten eggs and cook lightly until the bottom is slightly cooked. Stir in the rest of the ingredients being careful not to disturb the bottom of the frittata. Cover the pan and cook until the frittata is set but not dry, about six to eight minutes.

Some people add a sprinkle of fresh squeezed lemon juice on each portion.

Yield: 1 to 4 servings

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