Covid / Open Call

Cooking for 6

by Denise Eng

This is how you cook for a family of 6.

First, you put on your mask. Make sure you pinch the wire so that it fits your nose-bridge. Make sure you smooth it over your face so your glasses don’t fog up. That’s important. Did you pull the bottom edge of the mask over your chin? Good. Now you’re ready.

Head to the supermarket. Don’t forget to check in with the Safe Entry QR code! Silently judging people who don’t have an app that scans codes as quickly as yours is optional, and also unkind. Remember that.

Eggs are a great source of protein. Put 3 trays of 2 dozen, or that large tray of 30 in your trolley. You are permitted, at this point, to silently hope that people will be kind that think, “That person must have a big family to feed!”, instead of judging you for alleged panic buying. If it helps, you can quietly take stock of how many eggs your brothers eat so that you can justify your misplaced sense of guilt.

No matter. Bread is next. At least the shelves are full, and they aren’t empty like they used to be when people really were panic buying. We’re all suddenly aware of how fragile our food security is now. Can you really pick up your weekly fruit and vegetables without thinking of those farmers around the world, and how your beef and pork might just have more airmiles than you right now? Can you shop mindlessly even though international news says that not everyone is so lucky to have full shelves? It used to be easier to ignore. Except, you felt a little bit of it, and now you can’t forget.

There’s a plane overhead. Who is still traveling? You hope that it’s carrying precious cargo. Food? PPE? Maybe if you were a surgical mask you’d have a chance of going somewhere nice these days, and people would be happy to see you instead of making you keep to your lonely self for 2 weeks.

Ice cream is good for morale. Let’s get two pints because it’s on sale. And snacks too. You don’t normally buy potato chips, but we’re all feeling lousy right now. A bottle of wine for you, and some potato chips to share.

Checking out at the cashier the queues seem so long. How dare these people stand so close together! Don’t they know there is a pandemic going on? Don’t forget to shuffle forward to show people you are moving but also making an effort to keep them safe from your droplets. Are the cashiers scared?

Finally home!

Remember to disinfect everything before you put them away into the fridge and cupboards or prepare them for dinner.

Now, you can start to cook for 6.

Denise Eng is a freelance illustrator who also enjoys writing from time to time. She likes learning new things, including how to make more sustainable choices in her daily life, whether for the environment or for mental health. Her hobbies include writing, crocheting, postcard urban sketching, and gardening. Her artwork can be seen at

(Featured image from Unsplash)