It took the United States ten years to get over the Great Depression. Smart people say that all processes are cyclical. This time, the universe decided to play big by giving us the Great Frustration of the 21st century. And how much time will it take for the world to overcome this outrage?
The Great Frustration is characterized by an increased feeling of anxiety that the humanity experiences because of the inability to implement all plans they had, and all this is generously seasoned with a breakdown and a terrible mood.
We got a huge mental punch: there’s zero chance of hugging our beloved ones who live in another city or even country, the inability to travel, and the constant feeling that you are a leper or, at best, a wild beast that is locked in a cage.
On the other hand, we are homo sapiens, the “wise men,” and we can adapt to any troubles. So, after a month of forced self-isolation, you realize that earlier, a plane ticket to your favorite country was a push for the dopamine release (responsible for pleasure and motivation), or shakshuka in one of the cafes on the embankment of Tel Aviv, or a bun with herring on Dam Square in Amsterdam.
Pickled herring sandwich
But now you need to learn how to find pleasure in other ways, so you realize that you can make the most delicious bun with herring and pickles at home – simply bake or buy a brioche bun at the nearest bakery, grease it with farm butter, add herring, pickled onions, finely chopped pickled cucumbers, and enjoy. You will bite this tender bun and think about how you walked along the narrow streets of Amsterdam, tasted various kinds of cheese in cheese shops ten times a day, and relaxed in coffee shops.
One day, you will feel tired of cooking omelet every single day and decide to cook shakshuka. You will take a deep frying pan and fry onions until translucent, then add finely chopped eggplant and pepper, add oil to the pan, and continue to cook the whole thing over low heat. When veggies are soft, you will add finely chopped tomatoes and half a glass of water, add salt, pepper, add a pinch of cumin, then cover everything with a lid and leave to simmer for about 10 minutes over low heat.
Then you will carefully make a deepening with a spoon in the resulting stew and add eggs there no less carefully so as not to damage the yolk. Then you will add salt and pepper again, cover the dish with a lid, and leave it to rest for a couple of minutes.
In fact, the shakshuka recipe is quite variable. You can replace eggplant with mushrooms or completely abandon these ingredients and add corn. The basics in shakshuka are tomatoes, onions, and eggs.
And when you eat shakshuka straight from the pan (because eating it from the plate is blasphemy), when you dip a piece of bread in a spicy red stew and then into a liquid yolk, inhaling the smell of cumin, a powerful flashback wave will first take you to the Ben Gurion airport, and then to that very café in Tel Aviv, where the Shabbat atmosphere prevails 24/7, and it is so nice to drink coffee and wine, eat shakshuka and watch sexy surfers in tight suits.
And now sit back and relax or otherwise, you will fall. The currywurst is as simple as it may be. All you need to feel the Berlin vibe is to boil and then fry a couple of sausages to a spicy crust, then them into circles and pour with a mixture of ketchup and curry powder.
If you want to be more classy, you can fry some onions in a pan, add ground paprika and curry powder to it, then add canned peeled tomatoes (can be found in any supermarket), a couple of tablespoons of wine vinegar, salt, and about a tablespoon sugar. You need it because tomatoes get very acidic when you heat them, and sugar always balances the taste in such cases. Bring it all to a boil, then simmer it over low heat for about 20 minutes. And after you dip the fried sausage in the mixture, your taste buds will take you back to Berlin’s U-Bahn for a moment.
After all these gastronomic delights, you will realize that you can safely experience being away from travel. All you need is to stop ordering delivery of fast food and start cooking dishes that you have pleasant memories with.
If you are too lazy to cook all of the above, at least make yourself some Turkish coffee, that's already something. The next thing you know, the frustration will loosen its grip.