Day 3: Sheltering In Place

It’s been about 3 months since we began to limit our travel due to the pandemic, and while it’s been trying, I have to say that it hasn’t been as bad for me as it has for many others.

For one, I have been working from home for most of my career. I have a dedicated work area, and am completely used to the lack of everyday interaction with others (some might say that I prefer it!). Having been laid off from work due to the pandemic was tough, but I still spend much of my time at my keyboard, either working on projects that I’ve put off for lack of time, or for exploring new skills or tools, or ranting on Twitter. The one positive thing about the pandemic is that it makes it easy to keep a perspective: my wife and I, as well as our kids and their families, are healthy. I wouldn’t trade that for any job.

The change is harder for my wife, who works in the local school district. Before this, everything was done face-to-face at the office or various campuses around town. She and everyone else had to learn and adjust to the new ways of working remotely, which is stressful. She is also much more outgoing than I, and as wonderful as I may be 😜 , she does miss interacting with co-workers and family.

So many of the people I interact with, though, are much younger, and many have small children who need to be kept busy, which can be exhausting without being confined to home. I am grateful that our kids are all grown and out on their own!

We also have a house. It’s small, but still – I can’t imagine being confined to an apartment. I can go outside to the yard, tend to the garden, clean up fallen tree debris from last night’s storm, or just sit and watch the birds. That helps maintain sanity.

I’ve also gotten into baking, as many others have. I have developed a great sourdough starter, and really enjoy mastering that process. But that will be fodder for a different post.

So all in all, I think we have it pretty good overall. I can’t wait until the pandemic is over, but until then, we’ll manage.

Deep Dish Pizza

OK, cards on the table: I’m a New Yorker, and I have a very strong attachment to pizza (and bagels too, but that’s another post). So I find myself in Chicago, staying one block from Gino’s East, so I figured it was time to finally try Chicago-style deep dish pizza.

I sat at the bar, and asked the bartender for his recommendation for the best intro to deep-dish pizza for a non-meat-eater. He recommended the O.M.G. pie, which has mushrooms, green peppers, and onions, so I ordered that. They offered a 9″ and 12″ version, and as I was by myself, I got the 9″.

My 9″ OMG pie

AS you can see, the pie came in its own pan, and the first piece was cut out for me. Subsequent pieces (I can’t call them “slices”) required cutting out with the spatula.

I was familiar enough to know that ingredients are upside-down compared to pizza, with “toppings” on the bottom, followed by cheese, and then the tomato sauce. It certainly looked tasty enough! So I dug in.

The first thing that’s odd is that you need a knife and fork to eat it. No self-respecting New Yorker would ever use a knife and fork to eat a pizza. But hey, this is Chicago, not New York, so I embraced that approach. And I must say, it was very tasty: the tomato sauce was fresh and bright, the cheese was rich and stringy, and the veggies were also good. But the crust?

A split-personality meal

It’s very odd: there is little or no crust underneath all the other good things. Instead, it’s all bunched up on the edge. And it isn’t anything like a pizza crust; rather, it’s a dense, cake-like bread. So as best as I could figure out, you eat the sauce/cheese/fillings, and then are left with a bunch of dense bread.

A hunk of dense bread

And the crust itself was good, but man oh man was it filling. I was barely able to finish half the pie. Contrast that with a 9″ thin-crust pie, which leaves room for dessert.

So what can I say? It was enjoyable, but it wasn’t pizza. I’d like to think of it as a tasty bread-based casserole. Now I can’t wait to get back to New York to experience the real thing once more.