Since the tragic, shocking, heart-breaking shooting last week, I've been feeling like so many human beings: hopeless, deeply sad, super pissed. I have stewed about what I could do to try and make a difference, making me feeling more morose.
It certainly didn't feel right to be plugged in to my usual social networking community. Tweeting about what I was eating would have been beyond insulting to the memories of those victims, to the little children and the grow-ups who died trying to protect them. Each time, I see a new photo of one of those poor, sweet children, it stabs me in the heart. How can I post Facebook photos of a batch of English toffee?
So, I stayed away. Or, I tried to. When I did check in on Twitter, it was awash in links to anti-gun petitions and more sad, sad news that was hard to read. And then, on Sunday, there was another shocking loss. Poet Jake Adam York, the brother of my friend, Joe, died after having a stroke. He was just 40 and such a bright spirit. If I lived near Joe and his lovely wife, Kathryn, I would make them a casserole. The universal sign of sincere sympathy.
Cooking -- and eating -- always brings me such comfort. A way to show I care and I love to share. So, I made cookies. I took myself out to lunch, to be surrounded by the happy buzz of conversation, a scene that made it seem as if anything was possible. Don't you love how food brings people together? That feeling of community is what I love about connecting online, talking turkey and bacon and barbecue, cookbooks and delicious blog posts and controversial lists.
Maybe dissecting every bite and photographing each dish might be over-the-top, but there's another way of looking at things: There's nothing wrong with a little diversion. I'm not going to stick my head in the compost and ignore what's going on in the world. But maybe talking about food can be kind of like a balm. Like that casserole I long to deliver to my friends, an edible gesture to show I care.
I will not forget about those sad stories, the loss so many families must face. But I'm slowly indulging my need to connect with that online food community. Will I see you there?