Karuna is the Sanskrit word for Compassion. This post is not to share a recipe or a meal plan. But it is to share some ideas on how we can respond to this pandemic with love and compassion by mirroring stories of extra-ordinarily ordinary acts of kindness around the world.
Since most of us are in home-isolation (In India, our PM just announced a 21 day lockdown yesterday and same is the situation around the world), we definitely are doing more home-cooking. So being an advocate for healthy home cooked meals, I will in the end share some family-friendly meal ideas that are fun to prepare and can be takes as breakfast, lunch, or dinner!
But before that, I want to share what is truly alive for me right now — the many heroic ways in which humanity is rising up!
A dear elder and mentor had sent us a message almost a week ago sharing that the current times are a call and an opportunity to strengthen our virtues towards collective well being.
“You will see that humanity will spread its fragrance through Karuna.”Jayesh Bhai Patel
All around the world, as many face disconnection, anxiety, and fear; ordinary people are doing extraordinary acts of service with an open heart!
The outpour of information fuels a sense of scarcity but these simple acts show that we can turn it around. As one poet said, let’s reach out with our hearts. One guest leaves a generous tip of $2500 for the restaurant’s staff; one landlord pauses rent for his tenants; one lady goes out to distribute masks at metro station; what can I do?
Some simple acts of kindness that I did today from my home:
- I donated money to our local government and some organizations that are providing meal packets to daily wage earners and needy.
- Inspired by a friend, I am making “Thank You” cards to give to the grocery store guys, garbage collector, and other people who are still serving everyone.
- I sat in silence for 10 mins and offered a prayer for everyone’s wellbeing.
- Called up 2 friends who are living in isolation to just talk.
Note: Few friends are hosting a 21-Day Kindness Challenge to foster community and cultivation. Do join in if it is something you resonate with! Many of also meet up for weekly virtual meditation and sharing circles. Let me know if you would like to join in!
In times of physical isolation, how can we cultivate a sense of community? When the whole neighborhood comes together in songs through their windows; when in one day 1000 doctors in a city enlist to battle coronavirus; when citizens come together to take care of the elderly and vulnerable; when a family turned the food (for their daughter’s cancelled bat mitzvah party) into meal deliveries for people in quarantine — are we not building stronger more resilient communities?
Family friendly meal ideas
One thing that I make sure I do everyday is to check up with at least 2 people on how they are doing. I am grateful for the connectivity we have which allows us all to keep in touch.
Many of my friends tell me that they have never cooked so much as they are cooking now and they definitely need ideas to go beyond their every day cooking. A little spicing up in the kitchen with simple, fun meals is definitely a good way to keep the spirits up while in quarantine! So here you go with 5 super-easy and fun meal suggestions:
A dense base with fruits and grains and topped with more fruits, and nuts, and granola – smoothie bowls are surely easy, nourishing, and fun to make! Now smoothie bowls might sound like a breakfast meal but we enjoy them as lunch, snack, and also dinner.
This one’s my favorite weekend brunch recipe and now since every day is a weekend, why not enjoy it more often! Make extra salad and tahini dressing for the chickpea salad.
Bored with regular chickpea recipes? Try this roasted chickpea salad. I am sure everyone has stocked up on some canned chickpeas. This is quick to put together if you have some handy.
Tip: Roast some extra chickpeas… dry roasted chickpeas make for a great snack!
4. Good Old Rice and Lentil Curry
Rice and Lentil Curry a.k.a chawal-dal is a comfort food in almost every Indian home. At the end of the day when you are tired from all the chores and work you have accomplished; a warm bowl of rice and lentils is divine. There are so many varieties of lentils that you can never get bored!
5. Stir Fry
I love stir fry recipes for their versatility. One can do mis and match with both the base, the vegetables, and the sauce.
- A base of grain – chose from whole millets, rice, quinoa, noodles, or even smaller pastas would go.
- Sautéed Vegetables – chose as many or as little of seasonal vegetables of your liking.
- Sauce – Keep it simple with just ketchup, or a raita, or soy sauce & vinegar, or chutney, or any sauce that you like.
I hope these ideas give you some additional kitchen inspirations!
A friend of mine recently shared with me:
Till now, tea used to be hot water and a tea-bag but since I had so much time, I decided to clean out the kitchen cupboards and I found a packed of loose Darjeeling Tea leaves that you had given me years ago and now every evening, I steep my tea leaves, sit down at my window with a book and relish a cup of “real tea”!
So here’s hoping that you drink your ‘real tea’ and enjoy some real time with family and also yourself.
The present Coronavirus outbreak is a harsh reminder of our shared humanity. In times like these love must rise! I wish you all to be safe, to be well, and to have the courage to reach out with your hearts. Kindness and Compassion are contagious too. Let us all be the carriers of the Kindness Bug!
In the next post I will share ideas of involving kids in kitchen…
Update: Published post – How can kids help in the kitchen?