The Foodie

COVID on Campus: The Foodie

“My roommates and I have family dinner together every night.” – Claire Howard
Published: January 20, 2021 | Updated: September 30th, 2022 at 5:16 pm

COVID on Campus - Claire Howard - The Foodie
Sophomore Claire Howard took on cooking to find a sense of purpose during the pandemic.

The day after I got home in March, right at the beginning of the pandemic, I remember I baked banana bread in my sister-in-law’s kitchen. It felt so healing for me to be able to turn all of the confusion into an activity that brought me peace.

And now, at school, because I have a lot more time in my apartment than I usually would, I’ve been doing a lot of cooking. My roommates and I have family dinner together every night, and we all cook very elaborate meals. Tomorrow, I’m making beef stroganoff, which is a traditional Russian dish. We’ll sit around and enjoy that as a little community, and we can share with each other. It is very comforting and very healing.

I’ve honestly never really been worried about this sickness itself, which may be a little bit misguided. I think I’ve always been afraid of the effects of quarantining – things like isolation, loneliness and mental health. My biggest fear of this pandemic is that it would take away things that I love.

I spent my summer working on a farm in North Carolina, and it was really important for my growth. I would never think of myself as being the type of person who would want to farm. But I loved it. I loved the idea that you can pour yourself into something that is very, very physical that’s going to turn into something practical, something that benefits societies and other people. Food brings people together, and to be able to take part in creating food was a very special experience.

We’ve now realized that there’s so much joy in everyday things, like going to a coffee shop, going to the grocery store, knocking on your friend’s door and talking to them. All these things that might have been mundane or things that we even complained about, we have realized that these are things that hold a lot of value and meaning for us and give our lives a lot of joy.

After this is over, I certainly will want to savor those things more because I know what it feels like to live without them.

COVID on Campus

COVID on Campus

This as-told-to interview is part of COVID on Campus, a series created by students in the Reporting classes at the Newhouse School in Fall 2020. COVID on Campus documents the experiences of students, staff, and faculty living through this extraordinary time.