I was so excited to see that Hulu dropped the most recent season of Top Chef. For a week, all of my free time, and maybe a little of my not-supposed-to-be-free-time shifted to watching one of my favorite shows. Watching the show in March of 2021, marking a year since the pandemic began, and realizing slowly but surely the contestants were inching their way into a new world, was emotional and cathartic. There is an episode where they focus on the Olympics and Japanese food. One of the contestants wins a ticket to Tokyo to attend the games. One of the young athletes talks about competing. My kids wandered in and out of the room, quietly judging me for binge watching the show, and I tried to hide the fact that I was in tears. The finale happens in Italy (I suspect it was filmed in the winter of 2019), and one of the episodes starts with one of the judges, via zoom, giving a short statement about how our hearts are with Italy.
What a weird era.
It made me really stop and think about what we are doing, in this moment, to take back living. How do we grieve, heal, and start to find joy and connection again?
One small way that I embraced the moment—I turned to food. You all know me well enough to not be surprised by this. We went to Eataly in Chicago and picked up duck prosciutto and creamy cheese. Fig jelly and fresh dill to compliment. Scheduled Sunday afternoon as a time to watch the final episode. Grabbed a box of Kleenex. Prayed about the chefs in Italy and around the world who have had their livelihoods and staff threatened.
Is it odd to turn to television in this moment for healing?
I hope you are well, and finding ways to process and heal from the year we have experienced. May you find beauty and great food along the way.