Shopping List

  • Small Saucepan
  • Pizza Cutter
  • New Paring Knife
  • Casserole Dish
  • Blender
  • Small Toaster Oven
  • Various Storage Containers
  • Herb Rack

Do you notice how there is no food on this shopping list? I’ve always said that if I go to Hell, I’ll find that it’s a big kitchen where I’ll be chained to cook for eternity. For those who know me and realize that I HATE COOKING, they won’t be surprised that I am entirely unprepared for the new adventure of finally having to learn to cook during the pandemic. The Covid-19 pandemic has forced me to meet my biggest nemesis… the kitchen. I am short on the proper utensils, storage jars, basic tools but most of all, the wherewithal to use them!

Before the pandemic I used to liken cooking to being in a war zone. In fact, a typical day would consist of developing a strategy plan to avoid cooking at all costs. I felt like I was going into battle like a Brigadier General on a march against the enemy. And I prided myself in being so clever in my strategies. Making a list in my mind of which small grocery store or boutique deli I would visit to buy the essential pre-prepared meals was first and foremost. How many of those establishments I would visit for various well prepared lunches/dinners was key. And of course, so as not to feel totally guilty, I would usually buy ingredients for a dandy salad which I could throw together and feel that I had actually offered SOMETHING of my own.

I mentioned in an earlier entry that I have a pillow in my dining room that is embroidered with the phrase, “My Favorite Thing To Make For Dinner Is Reservations.” And believe me, it’s true. Musicians have non traditional schedules, so eating out is often a necessity of life. That was a lucky break for me. I reveled in the knowledge that a real cook in the kitchen could handle the food better than I and it let me feel as if I was off the hook.

The Covid-19 pandemic has forced me to meet my biggest nemesis…
the kitchen.

My Mother is a fantastic cook who literally can’t wait to go to the grocery store. She loves to take her time, going down each aisle developing new ideas for recipes as she shops. She actually becomes giddy with excitement when planning meals and if she has the much coveted chance to prepare appetizers then she may as well be dancing the Fandango. I don’t know how I missed her DNA strand that might have provided me with the curiosity and clarity to function in the kitchen but the fact remains that for me, it is exhausting and stressful. And besides that, whenever I would go through the motions to prepare something, it would never taste good. So, then I would revert back to being the Brigadier General and make some sort of hasty attack on a boutique grocery store/deli. The endgame was always to let someone else prepare a dinner that I could enjoy.

But with the advent of Covid-19, I had to be a different kind of General. (Can you see how necessary it is for me to assume the role of military personnel to actually get myself motivated….?) And the subtitle was, “Get up and get the job done yourself.” I’m good under pressure and the stress of the virus and the subsequent quarantine sent me running to protect myself and my husband. I needed supplies and I needed to supplement the shelves with utensils. What followed was a flood of online action ordering many of the items on my shopping list above. And then the food. For the girl who could never figure out the measurements, ingredients and recipes, I suddenly got my act together in a hurry. After I made one huge shopping trip to a major grocery store where I dressed as though I was preparing to enter Russia after Chernobyl, I started to order from as many online sites as I could to keep from having to visit the store to keep ourselves safe.

For the girl who could never figure out the measurements, ingredients and recipes, I suddenly got my act together in a hurry.

And then the preparation of the food… I approached this with a humility that said loud and clear, “I don’t know what I’m doing but I’m going to fake it well.” And I started to create a new energy out of something that before had been stressful. I recalled a time when my friend, Starr took me to a nearby clothing boutique. She prefaced our entrance to the delightful store with the words, “Now before we go in, just take a moment to breathe. This store is fantastic!” So I did the same with cooking. I took a moment and breathed. Instead of panicked stress I looked at the coordination of cooking as musical parts. It made it easier for me to lay out everything and in order. And of course, with our mutual quarantine, I just have more time.

Oh, and about those utensils….. filling out the parts of my kitchen supplies that were lacking suddenly took on the same kind of thrill that I reserved for shopping for a new pair of shoes. I purchased a small saucepan on Amazon. It arrived and had the cutest little well-fitting lid. I was as happy as if I had been given a new puppy! Little pleasures… who would have known!

The long and the short of it is that because of a stressful and frightening time in our lives, I have found a way to let go of a different kind of stress…that which I used to experience in the kitchen. And am I a good cook? Not necessarily. I’ll leave that mantle to my Mom. But, right now in the time of Covid-19, there are new directions that many of us are learning to take. And some of those directions will ultimately change our lives for the better. And whether a kitchen for me is Hell or Heaven doesn’t matter… I just have to get the job done.

And whether a kitchen for me is Hell or Heaven doesn’t matter… I just have to get the job done.

And so, now that dinner has been planned… I might just need a little online shoe shopping!

Operatic Soprano, PAMELA KUHN has dedicated her life to the art of singing. She has thrived in bringing her sumptuous sound to the stages of Vienna, London, Venice, Paris and cities across America. After gaining her Master of Music degree from the University of Southern California, she based her career in London for twenty years, performing her recital debut with Graham Johnson at the Wigmore Hall and numerous performances with legendary pianist, Geoffrey Parsons. Since her return to America she is now recognized for her work as a voice teacher and mentor to her young professional singers. She maintains voice studios in New York City and Greenwich, CT and works with a wide variety of artists. She is the Director of Opus 8 Vocal Consultants offering voice and speech therapy and presentation skills. She is the Music Director and Conductor of both the Angel Choir and The MasterSingers Chorus and is the radio talk show host of “The Center Stage” on WGCH Greenwich.


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