When we joined IMD in January this year, the one thing we all looked forward to was the sumptuous multi-course lunch provided by the IMD restaurant. Alas, our joy was short-lived as Covid reared its ugly head and by mid-March, we were struggling to refine our culinary skills to feed and not poison ourselves.
With the entire world on lockdown, the internet became our best friend and ally – dishing out advice on how to utilize this time to learn a new skill and given our circumstances, sharpening our cooking skills seemed to provide best NPV (net present value).
And to our surprise, this journey has not been as unpleasant as some of us expected it to be. Like one of my classmates pointed out,
I have been collecting recipes on Instagram for more than a year now but never had the time or the inclination to try them. And now I am. And it’s actually fun!
From basics like omelets to Caribbean inspired chickpea stew (https://cooking.nytimes.com>recipes), from Thai green curry to chicken biryani, the list is endless, and the palate is equal parts curious and happy. Not only are we becoming experts at following recipes, we are also experimenting and innovating when ingredients become scarce and Migros (the local supermarket) seems like too much of an effort. My flatmate and I tried our hands at churning out pizzas using tortillas and they were truly yumm!!
We have witnessed some extraordinary cooking from those who ordinarily don’t cook too. Whether it is doubling up as sous-chefs to the more seasoned cooks in our batch, or going all out and cooking single-handedly, we uncovered some master-chefs in our midst. And those who do, like an Italian batchmate of mine, continue to thrill us with pizzas made from scratch, from kneading the pizza dough to making the rich tomato sauce that goes on top to drizzling generous amounts of virgin olive oil to complete the gourmet meal … with a bottle of rose of course. When this meal comes after 8 hours of online accounting classes, it makes everything that much sweeter.
Whether it’s traditional food from our home countries, or something more experimental, cooking in corona times has become more of a therapy and less of a chore. It is also helping us stay connected; bonding over not just eating good food, but also working together to prepare it (in groups of less than 5 persons, of course, in keeping with federal regulations).
An inspired colleague introduced the concept of zoom lunches where we randomly joined breakout groups over lunch and tried to replicate the feeling of eating together – like we did at the IMD restaurant. And until we can do that again, this is as good as it gets – and I think … this is not bad at all.