In these moments

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If you’d told me last year that there would be a day when I would go to the grocery store just once a week with a list and wonder what I might find on the shelf; or that I would come home giddy over finding a carton of eggs, a gallon of milk, and a loaf of bread, I might have questioned that.

Aren’t these things always supposed to be available? Didn’t rationing end with WWII? Like most of my generation, I’ve never gone to a grocery store prior to this pandemic wondering what might be available on the shelves.

Ohio sunset

An abundance of food is not something that I will likely ever take for granted. (I’ve talked about this many times here, here, here, here, and here as part of the reason why I choose to support Feeding America.)

Growing up, there were times when I watched my mom create meals out of very little. Charity food boxes were an exciting thing when they arrived, as there might be cool cereals, chips, or day-old donuts tucked inside.

In these moments of uncertainty, I’m actively looking for ways to be grateful for the little things that are happening everywhere around us. I’m overwhelmingly grateful for the human nature that is shining through in beautiful ways as well.

The acts of kindness and moments of happiness that I’ve seen shared online over the past month have brought me so much joy. If you have a story, please share it!

Right now, I’m grateful for the ability to sit on the porch, go for a walk, and most of all to enjoy the sunshine on these pretty spring days. I’ve made a habit of porch sitting in the morning and often the evenings too ever since we moved to Ohio and I’m even more thankful for that peace-filled habit now.

Ohio sunrise

As a child in the middle of eight children, I missed the tightest of years for our family. My mom tells the following story of a particularly frugal season of life:

“I went to the store with a very small amount of money (I don’t remember how much), hoping to buy some meat. Back then ground beef was 99 cents a pound. Liver was 29 cents for a container the size of a small margarine tub. There were times I could not even walk past the meat counter because of the temptation to steal some.

Onions were 5 cents a pound. So, I bought the liver and two pounds of onions. We had one great meal and then fried onions until your father got paid a few days later. I always had beans and rice on hand so the onions provided an elegant garnish.”

Ohio path

I remember pinto beans and white rice on repeat throughout much of my childhood. My mom also made “Arroz con Pollo” (always said in Spanish to make it fancier!) which was always far more rice than chicken, but definitely an improvement over the constant beans on rotation.

One of my sister in laws recalls meeting the family over dinner and as my mom set a platter of chicken drumsticks on the table, apparently some of the younger kids were so excited they shouted “meat!”

The story makes me laugh now, as I recall there being meat for many of our meals, but she said that she immediately looked for the smallest piece on that platter to make sure there was plenty for the kids.

Ohio corn field

Yet, here I stand in 2020 able to buy what we need, but it isn’t there. For the past couple of weeks, you simply don’t know what you might find on the shelves at the grocery store. Will there be eggs in stock? or bread? or milk?

It isn’t good “business” right now to talk online about the Coronavirus or Covid-19 if you’re a food website.

The experts tell us that Google and advertisers will eventually search for the terms trending now as we deal with this pandemic and “reverse keyword target” them, meaning there is a list of keywords that they won’t want their advertisements to show next to.

The idea behind that is that if you post content with corona-related keywords in the posts, it is very likely that those posts will not earn nearly as well as your other content that does not include those keywords.

You know what? I just don’t care about that right now. This is a huge part of our life and our history and I don’t want to just gloss over it all.

Ohio early sunrise

There is so much unknown and I want to be present and listen and look for the joy in the little things around us. I want to help you where I am able.

Do you have random pantry ingredients that you’re trying to use? Shoot me a note, leave a comment on a recipe, or message me on Instagram.

Wondering if you can swap some chicken from the freezer for beef in a recipe? Odds are good that we can figure out a way to make it work with what you have on hand.

Afternoon walk

How are you doing, friends? How are you feeling? Do you want to talk about it? Please leave a comment.

Want to share something wonderful and great that is making you smile right now? PLEASE do that. Is it as simple as the cup of coffee that is breathing life into your day? Tell me about it.

We’re all in this together.

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Mary Younkin

Mary Younkin

Hi, I’m Mary. I’m the author, cook, photographer, and travel lover behind the scenes here at Barefeet In The Kitchen. I'm also the author of three cookbooks dedicated to making cooking from scratch as simple as possible.

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  1. George Anne says

    Mary, I enjoy your site and many of your recipes. But I have put this article you wrote in my “Keep File”. I, too, lived through being so poor I served homemade biscuits and gravy every meal…as well as the shortages we had to deal with over the years. I never thought I would see the times we are now experiencing. I pray for each person to be aware of those who may be doing without or need whatever help you are able to offer.
    Thank you for a beautiful thoughtful article. God bless.

    • Mary Younkin says

      Thanks so much for taking the time to write, George Anne. I share your prayer that we will all pay attention and be aware of those in need around us.

  2. Nanci Dotson says

    You can watch things happen…or you can make things happen…or you can wonder what happened. The choice is yours!

  3. Jeneen says

    Thank you so much for sharing and bring encouragement during a time of uncertainty. I do know we will overcome hopefully better, wiser, and more grateful for the conveniences we have enjoyed. I too come from humble beginnings and can remember the same meals being an repeat quite often. If you can share simple delicious recipes with less or easier to find ingredients that would be awesome. I look forward to enjoying you creations in my own kitchen. God bless you and yours

  4. Tanya Roberts-Golden says

    Oh. My. Goodness. I loved your story and mostly your honesty. Thank You sooooo much for sharing!!! I don’t know you but if I did here is where we would become instant friends. Take care of yourself and each other.

  5. phyllis lundy says

    So much of what you said is what I have been thinking and feeling. It helps me to hear it from someone else. My thanks and God is blessing us all with this wisdom. We just haven’t realized it yet.

  6. Amanda Kraft says

    Hi Mary, aside from being grateful for you, letting us into your blessed home every week, I am truly grateful for our healthcare providers. I spent the better part of the day in the ER of my local hospital and they are amazing, raring to go, and I am grateful for them. Words fail me but I think you know what I mean. These men and women have chosen a profession where they usually see people at their worst, putting their well being and families in harm’s way. They are on the front line in flu season, pandemic etc and I appreciate them more than I can say.

    • Mary Younkin says

      I’m so very grateful for all of the service providers right now, Amanda. Those on the front lines in the hospitals and those delivering packages to our doors enabling us to stay home as well!

    • Micaela says

      I’m it’s been said before, but the need to iterate it is necessary.

      We are not under ration orders, we are being forced into rationing by quite a few very selfish and irrational people. As a single parent, I know how to stretch my food dollars. However, when I am unable to by even those necessary pantry staples that ability goes out the window.

      I am so frustrated by it.

    • Mary Younkin says

      You are correct, Micaela. We are not under ration orders. However, with more people cooking at home than ever before, there is a higher demand for our resources at the moment. Fortunately, most stores have implemented reasonable “ration” limits to help make it possible for more people to get what they need at this time.

  7. Janie Campbell says

    Beautiful pictures and thoughts. I am grateful for my Savior first, my family and friends. I am grateful for you and the way you brighten my day with recipes, thoughts and book suggestions. Thank you for all you do. Stay safe and enjoy your beautiful Ohio. The small part of the state we saw is beautiful.

  8. Pam says

    I am thankful for the corona virus. I am able to spend more quiet time with my husband. My immediate family is only a phone call away. I actually take time to listen to the birds. I can watch flowers slowly bloom. I have time to be creative in the kitchen. There is time to play with my sewing machine. AND the world is showing compassion and love. God is still good!

  9. Anita says

    Staying connected with our church family with daily lenten services and Sunday morning streaming has been a powerful mental support for me. Being able to assist with online music lessons and cooking and knitting and walking. We surely are rediscovering the simpler things in life again.

  10. Tom Webster says

    Mary,
    Hello from AZ – Tom Webster your old Uber driver to say Hi and share from just last Monday morning.
    The house next door burned to the ground. New owners barely survived just in time.
    We are doing what we can for them.
    Today Steph is making banana Bread to take to the new fire house just built a mile and a half from us, as, as a way of saying thanks and welcoming them to the neighborhood.
    What a week we’ve had.
    Alls well beyond that, and we remain thankful and greatful for other blessings.
    Be well.

    Tom and Steph

    • Mary Younkin says

      oh, Tom! That is so sad!! I am so very glad that you and Steph are okay and that your home wasn’t damaged as well. I love that you are helping your neighbors and thanking the firefighters too. You are such good people. I miss our chats to and from the airport!

  11. Cher says

    I am grateful for my parents who provided me with love, a comfortable home, and who installed in me good values that have served me well. They taught me to follow my dreams and contributed unselfishly into making that happen.

  12. Judith Warrington says

    I am grateful that we (the whole world) have been educated on this
    virus and we (the whole world) are concerned about each others
    welfare.

  13. Julia S says

    You asked for something I am grateful for. I am grateful for this time I have. I was so busy that I actually felt like I was drowning. Shelter in place, staying home to protect others has given me such peace. I am grateful my family is well, I have so many friends. People seem so kind and thoughtful lately, No one is rushing by, people smile and greet each other–social distancing being respected. I am grateful I can cook from the cupboard and have food to cook. Thank you for your recipes and posts.

  14. Audra Carr says

    Hi Mary,
    Audra from Phoenix, didnt know you moved. Seems we lose touch in this big world with our busy life. Then this pandemic comes along and I catch up with friends and family. I’m glad your doing well. Still following along with your blog, you know how much I love food. Keep cooking, keep safe and healthy. Love to the family. Blessings!!

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