Food and working from home during Covid-19


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Food and working from home during Covid-19
Emily Brignone Oral History, 2021/08/06

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While working from home I started snacking a lot as I frequently missed breaks and lunches due to the increased workload I also tended to work later than before so while I had no commute I stopped working around the same time I would have gotten home if I had been in the office most of June and July. I found snacking was a way to stay present in the physical world while living almost exclusively online during work hours and frequently replaced or at least supplemented some very hurried lunches. My favorite snack I had never tried before but it was suggested to me by someone who later passed from Covid and so now reminds me not only to be grounded but of them. My favorite snack is really simple but was new to me: wheat thins with light veggie cream cheese. It tasted like what the summer should have been instead of what it was. It was also a shift for me since I didn't eat a lot of convenience foods before COVID I took the time to make food so the idea of creating little snacks to replace generally more nutritious and regulated food was new to me.

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audio recording

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Emily Brignone

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Emily Brignone

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United States of America

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During the Covid-19 pandemic, in June and July, I was working from home still, I worked from home the entire year of 2020. But we had a dramatically increased workload in June and July due to Covid and the nature of the work I was doing. And so I didn't take breaks anymore. I often worked late and I often skipped lunch, not always, but most of the time. And because of that, I started snacking more than I ever have in my life. [Laughs] I grew up in a household that makes food, I made food in college, my mom and dad made food for us growing up. Convenience food is not something I grew up with. So the real change for me during Covid while a lot of people were switching to making food was to switch to convenience food because I simply did not have time for regular food. So my snacks were replacing my lunches, but they were also a way to keep me grounded because I was online all the time I was living online, I wouldn't move for hours, and just be seated in the same place working for hours and hours. And that kind of monotony online, it becomes really difficult to be centered, to be grounded, to still feel like you're living in any sort of reality. So as unhealthy of a habit as this is, snacking became a way to do that specifically my favorite snack. So I had never had it before. Well, I've had the different pieces of it before in varying items, butI've never had them together. Um, it's really simple. The recipe is very, very basic, because it's made out of convenience foods. [Laughs]. So I found that the best snack for me was we fins with cream cheese, but not just any cream cheese, it has to be light, Philadelphia veggie cream cheese, the other veggie cream cheese's just don't go as well. It has to be the spreadable kind, the block kind doesn't work either. And like sometimes I would put different things with the Wheat Thins I'd have like cheese and apples and things like that. But my preferred snack. The recipe for that is all of two ingredients. And you dip the wheat things in the cream cheese. So you probably need your own bowl since it was Covid and you couldn't share food. So um, but because of the veggie cream cheese and I only have crackers at like parties and things I like I said I didn't have convenience foods a lot. Because I only really had wheat things at like holidays or parties. Um, to me, the snack tasted like what summer should have been like that summer instead of what actually was. It was a lot of work that summer. So those snacks really helped me stay grounded because it gave me some more to look besides the screen it gave me other sensory experiences besides just my eyes. Frequently there was no audio. When there was audio it was a very surreal experience because of what the audio contained. But a lot of it was just me in silence looking at a screen. So this snack, the crackers, snapping the crackers gave a sound for me to hear the taste, the smell of it. It brought me back to the present and to the now as opposed to living in this sort of hyperspace. [Laughs]. I could be present and engaged in something to do with the world I was existing in as opposed to the world online and I found that extremely important as the pandemic wore on because I spent more and more time like that all my, all my social, all my work was online and so I was online so many hours a day. So snacking not only replaced my meals because I wasn't eating meals very often anymore, well I ate dinner, but other than that I was struggling to maintain a proper diet. They also provided an opportunity to be present even when I was in a virtual world and that was really important to me.

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This item was submitted on August 6, 2021 by Emily Brignone using the form “Share Your Story” on the site “A Journal of the Plague Year”:

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