Report from the Second Lockdown

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That’s one hell of a nicely-designed virus molecule! For the second time in a year, we are living–well, existing anyway–in a lockdown in New Mexico. Restaurants and other “non-essential” businesses are closed, but we can still buy beer, wine, and trivialities like groceries. And we are providing some measure of assistance with two articles by Sharon Hudgins on “The Joys of Cooking in a Crisis” and “Stir Crazy | Cooking to Cope with Cabin Fever.” Sharon, who along with husband Tom, has lived all over the world, has been in similar circumstances before and has good insights about coping with the situation.  Here on Beall Court, Mary Jane and I are being good little hermits and basically will enjoy the holidays alone and without other family members, Still, that’s a step up for me–last year I “celebrated” Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s at the Lovelace Rehabilitation Hospital, where I was recovering first from a mini-stroke and second, from a broken left femur. This year, I’ll be home for the holidays, as the sappy song goes.
Despite the lockdown, I’m still writing and getting new books out. My best book on chiles, Chile Peppers: A Global History was published in September, and UNM Press just accepted my new book with my Mexican coauthor José Marmolejo, Picante y Delicioso: The Mexican Chile Pepper Cookbook. That will be released in the spring of 2022–there’s no cover design yet. And I have yet another new coauthor, Michael Cimarusti. Michael is the executive chef and co-owner of Providence LA, a high-end seafood restaurant in Los Angeles. Since it’s not a good time to be in the restaurant business or the show production business, we are spending a lot of time writing a proposal to publish The Seafood Harvest: A Culinary History.  You can get a taste of that book by visiting our blog of the same name, here.
My wife of many, many years, Mary Jane, is cooking and baking like crazy, so we don’t really miss the restaurants all that much. We are reading a lot of books and I’m watching soccer and football as much as possible. I have a new method of selecting books, which prevents wasting money on printed books that I don’t finish reading for one reason or another. I get free digital samples from Amazon and if I like the sample, I’ll buy either the print version (usually nonfiction) or the ebook (usually fiction). I don’t save novels in my home library, hence the ebooks.
I’m not going to discuss politics here but  I will mention that I do agree with Barack Obama that our country is deeply divided, which is troubling and stressful. I’m hopeful that some degree of normality returning will help to mend the divisions among us.
Meanwhile, a happy lockdown and holidays to everyone!