New York City used to be "The City that Never Sleeps". As a child, I would never have guessed that the subway would be closed for overnight cleaning. We, New Yorkers, used to take such privileges for granted. I remember my first trip to LA, and most restaurants closed by 11:00 PM. It was one of the reasons I chose not to relocate there. I need my 2:00 AM pizza delivery.
But COVID shut everything down. The world changed.
And with it we all realized some hard things. Number one: most of us suck at cooking.
And because of this void, new supply and demand was created, and home-cooked meals became delivery meals. The search for the best ube and cheese pan de sal became a new craze. Small businesses, like Ai's Kitchen, Mrs. Bernabe, Chef Cecile Lai, and Boondat Sarap, thrived through word-of-mouth and social media.
Ai Aromin, founder of Ai’s Kitchen, recalls how offices closed and how difficult it became to pay bills. “I needed income. I decided to pursue my passion and started to cook various dishes for friends and family. What has kept me motivated is discovering new recipes…along with meeting new people every day.” Ai’s specialty and best seller is her kare-kare (oxtail in a peanut-based sauce).
Even closer to home, some took it upon themselves to learn how to provide solid meals for their families.
For those still struggling with cooking, JCI Philippine-New York, in collaboration with Krizia Eats, is producing short video tutorials on how to cook some favorite meals. The first featured Christef Cook's Made from Scratch Pasta. Upcoming episodes include Elaine Schroeder's lumpiang shanghai, as well as surprise delicacies from Ai Aromin and Cecile Lai. These videos are available on the JCI Philippine-New York Facebook page, YouTube channel, and Instagram accounts.
Is the pandemic really almost over? At least we'll be able to cook through the next one.
By: Krizia Daya