Well, we have had a good run in Stockholm with things carrying on more or less as normal, but this week things tightened up considerably and now our swimming pools, museums, and libraries are closed. I really only care about the first thing as it was the one thing we could still do with the kids, and since most people have been avoiding pools it's been blissfully empty and we have often had the entire family section to ourselves.
They've also banned the sale of alcohol after 10pm, which means that bars now have to close by 10:30. This seems kind of irrelevant to me, as many bars have just adjusted by opening earlier on the weekends, and it's not like the virus is nocturnal and comes out only at 10:01pm. I feel like having bars open but swimming pools closed is a bit of a backwards message to send, but it is what it is. I guess I'll be staying out of both of them for now.
Man, is social media a minefield right now or what? This week I unfollowed a friend of a friend after they posted one too many things about how the pandemic isn't real, citing "fraudulent epidemiological data" that is being used to oppress people.
I mean, really? Is this a complex, coordinated government ruse that multiple countries and continents are in on? Like, allllll the governments got together in an international ruse to just mess things up? I'm all for a good conspiracy theory now and then, but c'mon.
The kicker though, was when they posted a link to a video on Instagram that strove to educate people in using legal language (or, the lexicon of the law, as they called it) to help educate people about issues surrounding "forced masking". The lady in the video cited an experience she had in Starbucks, where mask use is required, and how she spoke to the manager and went through her three-point formula educating the poor guy. And she had the audacity to say that requiring people to wear a mask is discrimination, akin to discriminating against someone's skin colour.
Here's why this video got under my skin so much. (My friend Alison is going to love this...) Did you guys know that I used to be lifeguard?
Yep, I spent 16 years sporting a whistle and fanny pack, pounding the pool deck and keeping people safe. What you may not know about being a lifeguard is that it's approximately 2% rescuing people, 48% preventing accidents, and 50% getting yelled at for doing your job.
There are rules in a swimming pool or beach that have been designed to keep people safe. No running on the pool deck. No diving in the shallow end. An age limit for using the hot tub. A time limit in the sauna. Certain lanes that are designated for faster and slower swimmers. Mostly reasonable stuff, you know?
When you're doing your job, enforcing rules, most people are pretty respectful of them. But there is always a portion of patrons who are complete asshats. Entitled d-bags who think they should get to do whatever they want because they are paying customers. And they will take out all of their frustration on the poor person standing on the pool deck just trying to do their job and keep people safe.
The thing with being a lifeguard is that, by law, someone has to be watching the pool. So if you're getting yelled at for doing your job, you are trapped there. You can't just walk away unless you signal for another lifeguard to come out and take over your duties, and then either the person who is yelling at you will follow you, or they'll switch to verbally assaulting your colleague instead.
So when I watched this IGTV video of a woman instructing people on how to "educate" coffee shop employees on the fact that "forced masking" is a human rights violation, I found myself really triggered by it.
If a store has a policy that states you have to wear a mask, then you wear the damn mask. If you have a problem with the policy, you take it up with the policy makers - contact Starbucks' corporate headquarters and vent on their asses, not on some poor barista making minimum wage who is simply following orders and doing their job.
Pretty sure Starbucks also requires a shirt and shoes, but I don't see anyone getting all in a twitch about how their feet are being oppressed. If you can't spend two minutes with a mask on your face to comply with the policy of the business you are visiting, perhaps you should just make your damn coffee at home and enjoy it mask-free.
For the record, I one time got into a fight with a Starbucks barista because they refused (REFUSED!!) to make me a frappuccinio with soy milk instead of regular. They said it wasn't the recipe, and they therefore couldn't guarantee the quality of the drink and wouldn't make it. Apparently that, too, was a policy set at the corporate level. But I dropped it, got a different drink, and walked away.
Yelling at people who are just doing their jobs is a douche move. Don't be a douche.
For many of you, Thanksgiving is coming up this week. I'm sure regardless of where you are, the holiday is going to look pretty different this year.
As someone who has lived on the other side of the world from her family for more than a decade, I can really empathize with how tough it is to not be able to spend the day with family. My recommendation is to not hold yourself back on making your Thanksgiving favourites, even if you're entertaining a small group.
Put on your stretchy pants, make a full batch of Instant Pot Stuffing (or your favourite stuffing recipe) some Amazing Vegan Gravy, and a Naturally Sweetened Pumpkin Pie. That is all I need. Those three things and I'm completely satisfied.
If you're looking for inspiration, I have a Vegetarian Thanksgiving Menu which includes a printable grocery list. I sent this out to my American newsletter subscribers last week, but if you're not a subscriber, there's still time to check it out!
Whatever you do, I hope you enjoy a safe and happy holiday. Here's hoping that next year will look substantially different.
Tell me about your Christmas shopping strategy this year!
I really only have my kids to shop for and since I don't want to add to the body count in crowded shopping centers, I am planning to do all of my shopping online this year. At the same time, I really want to support local and small businesses, but I don't really know how to reconcile wanting to stay safe / avoid in-person shopping with that kind of support.
Any brilliant ideas around this?
I may try and take a day where I work from home or work a half day so I can nip out and do some shopping in the middle of the day when things are quiet.
Otherwise it's going to be homemade edible gifts and HNL merch for everyone.
Just kidding. I don't have any merch.
ON HEY NUTRITION LADY THIS WEEK
This week I shared one of my favourite vegetable side dishes, Lemony Roasted Tahini Cauliflower. It's crisp, lemony roasted cauliflower served on a puddle of tahini sauce and scattered with capers and yes, you need this in your life.
I also updated one of my favourites for a simple homemade edible gift, Vanilla Salt! This stuff is incredible sprinkled on top of chocolate chip cookies, I highly recommend.
WHAT’S TRENDING ON HNL
Yeah, yeah, we all know that Mung Bean and Coconut Curry is in number one. So let’s look at what else is trending.
1. How to Cook Mung Beans. Yup yup.
2. Homemade Pumpkin Purée. T'is the season.
3. Turmeric Latte Mix. Mmmm, so good.
4. 10-Minute Vegetable Ramen Noodles. I want these right now!
5. Cinnamon Roasted Apples. Still going strong!
COMMENT OF THE WEEK
Carla left the following comment and 5-star review on my Red Lentil Dal recipe:
Hands down the best dal recipe. The spice combo is perfect and toasting them separately first is something I never take the time to do, but so glad I did this time. I pureed a portion for my 5 year old (who is picky about tomato chunks!) and she gobbled it right up. To the rest of the pan I added chilli flakes for some heat. Yum!
Love the trick of puréeing a portion for the kids!
THIS WEEK’S MENU
I realized last week that the weeks I eat best are the ones when I've done a bunch of batch cooking ahead of time. Even if I have super simple meals planned, more often than not life gets in the way and I take a shortcut.
I've got a couple of new recipes planned for this week, but am also planning to cook some quinoa, a big tray of roasted brussels sprouts, and some barbecue tofu. Plus a kale salad, obviously. Then I can mix and match into meals all week.
Sunday: Roasted Vegetable Bowls.
Monday: Zucchini Fritters with warm Brussels sprouts salad.
Tuesday: Quick and easy tortellini with halloumi and broccoli.
Wednesday: Kale salad + crispy tofu.
Thursday: Omelet night + kale salad.
Friday: Taco night. Thinking of making my Tempeh Tacos or some Spicy Instant Pot Black Beans.
WHAT’S GOOD AROUND THE WEB
1. Once enthusiastic, 'Cooking Fatigue' simmers as pandemic drags on.
2. Dining bubbles are popping up everywhere. But are they safe?
3. Kefir vs Yogurt: which one packs the most gut-healthy benefits?
4. Love the idea of these Mashed Potato Holiday Bowls.
5. Study: Do consumer see "pretty" food as healthier?
HNL I love your straight forward tell it like it is (or should I say tell it like you feel) descriptions regarding some of the ridiculous and disrespectful things going on right now in the world. It’s refreshing! My son was also a lifeguard for years and i can relate to your analogy of people just doing their jobs and getting dumped on. Keep up your honest dialogue. It’s what endears you to us your readers.