On the Coast – 55+ (July/August 2020 Issue)

The experience of COVID-19 has taught us many things about family, the importance of relationships and our home habits.  Months of lockdown brought intense scrutiny and focus on the minutia of our domestic environment and skills, and for many of us, we rose to the challenge to find pleasures, meaning and enjoy the small joys.

One of the popular pursuits in lockdown was the return of home crafts and arts, most particularly, cooking.  Now, being the ‘undomestic goddess’ that I am, COVID-19 nudged even me into the kitchen – I roasted, souped and slow cooked with the best of you – but I have to admit, even though I did succumb to a panic buy of flour like every body else, but I am ready to believe that I might be the one and only person who didn’t turn to baking during the pandemic.

Everyone, except me, was baking, be it bread, cakes, muffins, cupcakes or even more adventurous explorations such slow fermentation experiments with authentic sourdough. The art of baking just exploded.  Other old arts revived were knitting and sewing. People got out their glue sticks, paintbrushes and scissors.  Even darning gain popularity again for goodness sake!

As we tightened our belts we had to expand our creativity.  We had to use only the items in our homes and just the ingredients in the pantry to sustain us.

What this also unleashed was an unprecedented demand for zoom sessions with mums and grandmothers for the family secret recipes and kitchen tutorials. Old family recipes were traded, the classic 3 ingredient scone went viral and YouTube nonnas were trending with their recipes for home pasta and lasagna.

What all this activity highlighted was the beauty and necessity of inter-generational relationships and the value of family rituals, wisdoms and knowledges being shared and maintained.  In our fast paced, fast-food and google-generated information overload, for a moment there, we almost forgot and lost these priceless heirlooms. COVID-10 restored some of the old balance, tilting us back into a good nostalgia and healthy sentimentalism.

The revival of family rituals of connection, handcrafted items and bespoke traditions maybe comes as no surprise as we were forced to gather at the hearth and bunker down, but what was surprising was our appetite for them and how much we enjoyed them. And even more heartening is the desire to maintain them and more strongly embed them back into our daily lives and family ethos moving forwards.

As we begin to brave into a wider circle and open up our lives again, the ‘new normal’ that we can create might actually be closer to an ‘old familiar’ way of being. For many I have spoken to, this is already happening and some of the ways things have transformed for many folk include a return to weekly all-in family dinners; intergenerational baking days; at-home crafting circles; knitting and bookclubs; the planting of home and even neighbourhood/community food gardens; and a revaluing of family traditions with a more mindful creating of legacy.

Time apart paradoxically brought us closer together.  Isolated in our home and small domestic groups made us value our extended familial relationships and the knowledge that lives amongst us.  Our collective community effort to isolate to protect the most vulnerable in our society may have just been the action required to reunite them back into the heart of families and highlight the value inherent in our older members of society.

As COVID-19 restrictions put the pause on ‘consumerism and the capitalist juggernaut’ we have been reminded that that not all things of value can be bought and sold.  They are transferred from person to person in loving relationship. They are intimate wisdoms that can be only revealed by love and connection.

We at On the Coast Magazines are interested to know what was your family’s experience of any regenerative practices that emerged for you and your family during COVID-19 restrictions?  We’d love you to share the silver linings and family traditions that were revived in your household on our Facebook page.