Laurel Herman
Chef Instructor, Culinary Storyteller, and Culinary Medicine

It’s Not Me I’m Worried About, It’s YOU. It’s Not Paranoia, It’s Self-Love

I was just walking my dog and saw my neighbor unpacking a car full of toilet paper. Didn’t they get the memo? STOP HOARDING. I was shaking my head watching this display of  disrespect, disregard, and selfishness.  It’s only toilet paper right? As I was walking back to my apartment I began to ask myself this question.

If  they’re not listening to the advice about hoarding a thing like toilet paper, what else are they not paying attention to ? Deliberately, now that is arrogance. 

The place where I teach cooking has decided for the safety of our guests and for us and our families, to observe self isolation and shut down.  As a self-employed person, I am losing money I  can’t recoup. I have no idea what will happen to me, but I’m not alone in this. On the other hand, I am SO relieved.  And it’s not just about me. It is imperative that we take this seriously   This raises another question.

Who have “you ” been around? And who have those people You’ve been around been exposed to? What a math exercise that is. 

  Would you practice this self isolation and care to the degree that I will?  I don’t know about you, but I’d rather not get this. Or spread it.  At the end of the day, its really out of my hands, but  I will do my part. 

The only conclusion I can come to is that I trust me more that I trust you. But that should always be the case. It took me a life time to learn this.  I respect myself enough to do this for me, and you. I also have a healthy respect for this virus.  If there  was ever a time to practice self love it’s now. I am immune compromised. Next month I’ll be 65. I have asthma. I have a 94-year-old mother who is sick.  I can t go near her. At least not now.

For the time being, people like me have to be extra careful.  We usually are anyway. This is practicing self love.  If I protect myself, I protect you as well. Words like self distancing are new to my vocabulary too. For all the good out there, the food people feeding kids, the generosity of friends, there is a counterpart, a shadow, of mistrust and uncertainty. It is just the way things are. It needs to be. This is a knock upside the head to love yourself. What’s it going to take?   A dear friend called me the other day to discuss, healthy fear. I think we can give ourselves permission to have that as well. I’ve had my freak out moments. This is not one of them. I’m in a moment of clarity.  And if God is truly in me? I’m gonna respect Her. 

Food for thought. Take care, Love yourself, L’ Chiam.   Laurel

About the Author
Laurel Herman is Chef Instructor and Culinary Storyteller, and Culinary Medicine practitioner, residing in Richmond, Virginia. A classically trained chef in the European style( Thames Valley University, London, U.K. and The Institute for Integrative Nutrition) Her style is anything but classic, its fun, and relaxed. A lifelong career in food, Laurel had the unique experience of being the only woman in a kitchen brigade of 30 men, ( 40 years ago) earning their respect and affection through hard work and determination. Laurel's passion is bringing people together through food, her joy is to watch people arrive as strangers, and leave as friends. Her workshop and retreat work use storytelling combined with cooking and music to evoke a sense of remembrance. She currently teaches at Mise en Place Cooking School, and various venues throughout Richmond . She is a strong believer that one way we can fight racism and bigotry of any kind is by helping people have access to clean and abundant food, supporting farmers markets and local vendors. Although not a chef himself, her favorite mythological character is Robin Hood, the revolutionary defender of social equality. Her books, The Blissed Out Chef was published in 2015 and the Inner Kitchen, Balboa press in 2011.
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