What is food blogging like in a pandemic? My blog oscillates between the asinine and, occasionally, trying to be a bit of something else. Today is another trying-to-be-a-bit-of-something-else sort of day.
You’ve probably noticed that there is a theme strung throughout the constant inundation of pandemic updates. While each individual headline isn’t a surprise, it is remarkable how clearly COVID-19 has broadly articulated inequities. Which is to say that COVID-19 is wreaking havoc on the more vulnerable and marginalized.
We’re seeing the same disproportionate impact on those in poverty, a key determinant of health, as we do with many health outcomes. There are many challenges for precariously housed or homeless individuals, for whom the calls to self-isolate pose a “cruel oxymoron.” For precarious workers, individuals living from pay check to pay check, staying home may not be a choice, particularly when many have no paid sick days despite longstanding advocacy efforts. And individuals that work in informal economies are not only impacted, but also often excluded from government support measures.
The current crisis has also amplified the unequal burden placed on women to act as unpaid caregivers and the violence that some face at home. In some areas in the States, the pandemic has been twisted to restrict access to essential reproductive health care.
Through ongoing marginalization of Indigenous peoples and surveillance of Black Canadians, Canada has set these populations up for a worse outcomes. And then there are the excess risks posed to those with pre-existing mental health conditions, those who use substances, and the exclusion in care of those with disabilities. Refugees, migrants and undocumented workers are seeing greater risks, as well as immigration detainees in Canada. Seniors in long-term care facilities have already seen devastating outbreaks, with nearly half of Canadian COVID-19-attributed deaths originating from these centres, a situation which may soon be replicated in Canada’s prisons as well.
It’s no coincidence that COVID-19 has been exacerbating vulnerabilities on every front – these are the places and people who are not valued in the same way as others and have been denied the power, tools and resources. In fact, intense inequity may have played a role in perpetuating the pandemic in the first place.
For anyone who cares about something, this pandemic is a public health crisis – so it’s a good time to keep talking about it and keep opening new conversations. With increasing public attention and awareness, this could be an opportunity to shake off some inertia and address underlying social factors that impact health. Just a few examples: establish living wages, mandate paid sick days without needing a doctor’s note, start guaranteed basic income pilots, implement Truth and Reconciliation Commission calls to action, or reform prison systems.
Because I do believe we’re all in it together – but we’re in at different depths.
Oh and here are some tarts! They’re essentially a variant of a Bakewell tart. It turns out I love grapefruit marmalade – I added in some pectin to cut down on the sugar, and it is tart and bitter and bright, and turns a brilliant hot-ember orange.
I am also loving combinations of coconut and citrus, and so here is another such pairing – and I can’t resist adding cardamom to almost everything.
coconut & grapefruit marmalade tarts
grapefruit cardamom marmalade Preparation of fruit adapted from Ricardo. Makes about one 250mL jar of marmalade.
- 1 grapefruit
- 1/2 cup of granulated sugar
- 1 heaping tsp green cardamom pods,
- 10g pectin
Peel the grapefruit and finely chop the peel. Put the peel in a small saucepan, cover with water, and boil for 1 minutes. Drain the peel in a sieve, rinse with water, and repeat the boiling process twice more.
Cut the flesh of the grapefruit into cubes. Add to the small saucepan along with the drained grapefruit peel. Add 1/3 cup of water, the sugar, cardamom pods, and pectin. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar and pectin. Reduce the temperature to allow the marmalade to simmer until it becomes thickened (about 20 minutes for me).
Transfer to a jar or container to cool. You can pick out the cardamom pods now or leave them in and pick them out later.
Makes lots of extra! It’s so much easier to line tart tins when there is extra. This is enough to line 5 tins in one go, or if you re-roll the dough and break up the process you can absolutely line more. If you use all all-purpose flour instead of whole wheat, you may need more flour.
- 113g soft butter
- 25g granulated sugar
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1 egg at room temperature
- 210g flour, half whole wheat and half all-purpose
- a bit of extra egg white
Cream the butter with the sugar and salt. Beat the egg in a small bowl and add to the butter in four additions, thoroughly mixing in each addition. Add the flours and stir until a dough is formed. Knead a couple times to bring it together.
Divide the dough in half and roll out each between parchment. Chill completely.
Take five 3″ tart rings. Cut round tart bases from one half of the rolled out dough.
Trim the other half of the dough into a rectangle and slice into long strips – because you can trim the strips, they should be longer than the circumference of the rings and wider than the height of the tart rings. Take a strip and use it to line the sides of a tart ring, cutting the excess length and pressing the two edges together to seal (have a bit of overlap to help seal). Press along the seam between the side and base to seal. Trim the excess pastry height with a sharp knife to bring it level with the side of the tart rings.
Preheat the oven to 350F. Prick the bases of the tart shells all over with a fork. Bake the tart shells until dried, around 10-15 minutes.
sort of coconut frangipane
I don’t know how, but over multiple remakes and random alterations, this no longer resembles the typical ratios of a frangipane… Makes enough to fill around 10 tarts, but I only used half for 5 tarts and saved the remainder for an upcoming banana bread recipe.
- 67g soft butter
- 40g granulated sugar
- hearty pinch of kosher salt
- 100g unsweetened desiccated coconut, ground rather finely
- 17g flour
- 1 large egg
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Place the coconut in the bowl a food processor (or do it in batches in a spice grinder) and pulse until ground. Cream butter with sugar and salt until light and fluffy. Add the ground and toasted coconut and beat in. Follow with the flour, and then the egg, a little bit at a time. Lastly, beat in the vanilla extract.
- shredded dried unsweetened coconut
Preheat the oven to 350F. Spread a bit of grapefruit marmalade in a thin layer on the bottom of each tart shell. Top with coconut frangipane – this doesn’t rise quite as much so you can fill it a bit closer to the top of the tart shell. Sprinkle with shredded coconut. Bake for around 20 minutes or until the filling is golden brown.