Coping with Confinement: My Lockdown Strategies

As of last week, France has gone back into lockdown, which prompted a 454 mile (730km) traffic jam as people tried to get in and out of the city. The lockdown is expected to last a month and while it’s not ideal, it’s not nearly as restrictive as the lockdown we had last spring and everything from taking a walk to going to the grocery store was tense and fraught as there was less information as the Covid-19 virus is spread, and masks were in short supply.

On the second day of the current lockdown, I went to get a few groceries and there were people on the streets, people eating food in front of restaurants, people in offices, and even the local vodka shop was open. (Bookstores, however, are closed as they’re not considered essential businesses. Interestingly, large supermarkets can remain open, but aren’t allowed to sell books either.)

The situation is evolving and my hunch is there will be more stringent measures put into place, a feeling shared by everyone I’ve spoken to here. But unlike last spring, I have enough baking chocolate, flour, and sugar, to last for a couple of months. (Almost everyone I’ve spoken to has also agreed that this lockdown is likely to continue through Christmas.) For the record, I’m not a hoarder. Because of what I do, I always have a few month’s worth of baking ingredients on hand because, well…you never know, do you? Last time I was caught without any chocolate, which in my line of work is considered “essential.”

In my November newsletter, I wrote up a few things that helped me get through the last lockdown, which I’m applying to the current one. I’ve been hearing from people around the world how difficult lockdowns have been for them, so I thought I’d share some things that I do, that kept me sane, while I adjust to the new reality – again.

Many people are dealing with “pandemic” fatigue. Wearing a mask, being afraid to touch everyday objects, unable to eat in restaurants or have a drink at a bar, not being able to travel, nor being able to see friends and family, has been taking its toll on everyone. Earlier last week, I fell into a little depression. The everpresent grisaille (gray skies) was hovering over Paris and the city was damp, drizzly, and dreary, and when I went to the market, I missed the brightness of the previous season’s cherries and peaches and came home with squash, apples, and a pineapple. I am fond of squash, apples, and pineapple, but the combo wasn’t enough to rouse me out of my funk.

So I met a friend for lunch and had a “smashburger” at Echo Deli. If you read my book L’Appart, you’ll remember that burgers became my comfort food when the going got tough during those months…which turned into years. (Back then, they were still a novelty. Nowadays, burgers show up on 85% of the restaurant menus in France.) Just spending time with a friend and eating something that made me feel better was the double-header I needed, and I felt a lot better. And while I don’t think the burger had anything to do with it, the sun came out and the walk home was glorious.

Every morning, make a list daily of what you want to accomplish that day.

Make the list large and tape it to the wall so it’ll seem more important. (Which it is.) I started this when I began doing Instagram Live Apéro Hour videos and had to organize my time, as well as my guests, my recipes, and my liquor. As an ex-professional baker, I know the importance of “the list” and how complete it should be. So even something as insignificant as “Take a shower” or “Call my aunt” should go on that list. Crossing things off as you accomplish them will make you feel like you’re moving forward and getting things done, and carrying on with life.

Exercise.

I’m one of those people who can’t exercise unless someone is yelling at me. Ok, that’s not quite true. They don’t need to be yelling, but if someone is not standing over me or if I’m not in a group, I’ll quit after 5 minutes to check my email or rummage through the refrigerator for a snack.

After a knee injury a few years back at “boot camp” I now do Pilates. Fortunately the two studios I go to in Paris have been offering classes on Zoom which keep me connected to my teachers and the other students. At the very start of the previous confinement last spring, I made a commitment to myself that I would exercise every single day, and I had no excuses not to. Except…with classes costing €18 ($21) at one studio I go to (yes, even online), taking classes daily at 18X30 would cost €540/$640 a month, and I’d be heading straight from confinement to the poorhouse…albeit with impressive shoulder muscles.

To soften the financial blow, I found some very good classes on YouTube, particularly those by Katja (who does yoga and Pilates) and Beth, who are both calm and clear instructors. But even if you’re not athletic, it helps to do some stretching and it’s nice to have a guided voice to keep you motivated. A little searching around will help you find the right people to follow that meet your needs if you’re like me and need to be prodded. (Update: Readers in the comments recommended Yoga with Adriene on YouTube and Pilatesology for online Pilates.)

Note: If you do free online video classes, you’ll notice there are ads before the workouts. That’s how the instructors make a living, especially now that many gyms and fitness facilities are closed and some are doing online classes. So let an ad or two run before you workout so they make some money for their work. The cost to you? Zéro. Zip. Nada. I click on the video, then get changed and unroll my mat while the ads run :-)

I tried Glo and used their two-week trial for free fitness classes which are quite good. It goes to $18/month after the trial period. And kudos to them for having teachers with different body types than the usual ones you see in exercise programs. Another platform, Patreon, has become popular for content creators and has a fitness section, although I haven’t tried any of them. Another option is Apple Fitness+ (if you have one of their watches, which I don’t.) In terms of mental fitness, if you need to calm your mind and help you sleep, I’ve been using the Calm app for a couple of years and I like many of the options and programs it features for relaxing and sleeping. Headspace is another good app for that, and Insight Timer is another (which I don’t use) but is free and has live yoga classes.

[UPDATE: I should mention I use a daylight therapy lamp, mine is made by Beurer, which I don’t have concrete proof that it works against Seasonal Affective Disorder, but they are recommended and I do seem to feel better for using it. Also many in France take Vitamin D supplements which are said to help.)

Eat well.

That’s admittedly hard to do if you can’t easily shop for ingredients, and I know it’s easy to eat frozen pizzas, chocolate, ice cream, peanut M&M’s, and leftover Halloween candy corn, which I enjoy in moderation. But I do make it a point to include lots of vegetables and salads in my diet and recommend the same. It makes me feel good to eat well.

Many communities have CSA boxes which are a fun way to add variety to your life, and diet. Here’s a directory of them in the U.S. I tried a few in Paris but wasn’t entirely pleased with the offerings, one of which Romain described as la misère when it arrived, so I stick with getting my produce at shops like Biocoop, Terroirs d’Avenir, and Au Bout du Champ, which feature produce from small growers. Eating well is one of the best and easiest ways to stay healthy and eating local, if you can, helps others in your community.

And while you may not be able to travel, if you want to do some French cooking, La Cuisine in Paris including Live Cuisine Camp classes, Kate Hill in the Southwest of France, and Les Petits Farcis in Nice, are offering online cooking classes, as are my friends Susana Trilling at Seasons of My Heart in Oaxaca, Mexico, and Judy Witts in Tuscany. As for me, I’ll be doing a French Apéritif Class for Context Travel on November 15th if you’re feeling thirsty for France.

Organize something…and use everything.

I never was able to wrap my head around a total Kondo-style purge, which has you go through everything in your home at the same time, rather than room-by-room or closet-by-closet, as most of us normally do. But I did organize my liquor shelf, which boasts 150 bottles that were in complete disarray during the last lockdown. Not sure if that would please Ms. Kondo, but at least I can find my ginger eau-de-vie and curaçao.

While remaining mindful of keeping a reasonable supply of food on hand, when it became clear that there wouldn’t be any major food shortages here last spring, I went through my refrigerator and freezer, and scoured through my kitchen drawers and cabinets, to gather and use all those bits and pieces and cans and boxes and bottles of everything that’s been sitting around, waiting for the right time to use them. I dawned on me, “Now’s the time!”

I melted the 5 packets of flavored butters I found crammed in various spots in my freezer to make cornbread, which turned out to be the best cornbread I ever made in my life. Kitchen Sink chocolate chip cookies which used a little bit of this, and some of that, to become a lockdown staple around here. And not a single radish leaf went to waste as I made a nourishing (and thrifty) Radish Leaf Soup, and Radish Leaf Pesto.

So in the name of anti-gaspillage (being against food waste) and fun, dig through your cabinets and refrigerator and see what you can come up with to use all those odds and ends.

Do good online.

A lot of people aren’t feeling or doing so great right now, especially small businesses that have taken a profound hit by having to close their doors. France has offered financial assistance to businesses that have had to close and to pay employees up to 84% of their salaries, but they are still struggling, as are people elsewhere.

Having worked in a number of restaurants, I know that very, very, very few people go into the work and say, “I’m going to use this opportunity to do a bad job today.” I like to think that people are doing their best in whatever endeavor they’ve chosen to pursue, so let’s support people in the food, beverage, and hospitality business as best we can. So before leaving a negative review of a restaurant and other establishment online, if something is really off or you’ve had a negative experience, rather than post about it, send a message to the management to see if it can be resolved.

Even if you haven’t had a bad experience, small businesses could use your help so take some of that free time you’ve got on your hands to write positive things about your favorite restaurants, bakeries, cafés, and bars on social media and websites. (As well as your favorite books on websites that allow reviews, which really help authors.) Tip well if you can and be patient with the staff.

In other places online, such as on social media, before you hit the “Send” button, think about what you are posting or how you are responding to a comment. Are you adding something positive to the conversation? Or just being a pill because you don’t agree with someone who prefers creamy peanut butter to chunky, or they didn’t have spaghetti so used rigatoni in their pasta Puttanesca. Stop, take a breath, and turn that attitude around.

And if you want to start a quarrel because someone posted a picture of a pair of chopsticks next to a bowl of Bibimbap, which I naively did (for the record, I usually use a spoon, and chopsticks for the bigger pieces), use that energy to volunteer at your local hospital or community center, where you’ll see there are bigger problems.

Give yourself a break.

Whew! This one is so hard to do. We are told to “be strong,” which is indeed a worthy goal. But it’s hard when there’s a global pandemic, global leaders are saying n’importe quoi and blurring the lines between truth and reality, and neighborhoods and businesses are in upheaval, are adding to global feelings of frustration while the virus has turned our lives upside down.

We’re dealing with a wheelhouse of emotions we’re not used to confronting, during this unprecedented time, most notably loneliness, depression, hostility, futility, and helplessness. Stay mindful of the news and be vigilant. If you live in the U.S. or are American, be sure to vote. That’s one thing we still have control over and hasn’t been taken away from us. But feel free to take a moment away from social media and television and engage with people in positive conversations. Or go for a walk to experience nature and see the good things around us. I’m about to do that right now. But in case that doesn’t work, that restaurant is still offering smashburgers (à emporter/to go), in case I need another one in the next few weeks, or longer…

 


131 comments

  • Carol Jean
    November 2, 2020 5:48pm

    I really appreciate that you posted confinement and lockdown strategies that you’ve found helpful. I’m in the US and I’m bracing for another round of stay-at-home orders as the weather turns cooler. Because of your post/newsletter I just ordered a magnetic “to-do list” that I will hang prominently on my refrigerator and begin using right away. Thank you, and stay well. Reply

  • November 2, 2020 6:09pm

    Thanks for the suggestions and the comments about helping instead of criticizing. In general I try to be kind (tips, thank yous, positive comments, etc.) but I was never ACTIVELY trying to do this. Thanks to you, I’ll be more mindful about all the things you talk about :) Reply

  • Sharon Wichmann
    November 2, 2020 6:17pm

    Thanks, David. You’ve condensed a lot of stuff I have already read, but it’s so good to be reminded. I tend to cocoon which means sitting and reading and I need to get out, even in the gray, short days of north Germany. Hope you voted…. Reply

    • MitMoi
      November 2, 2020 6:38pm

      David … YES! Yes, Yes! “The list”. And I do time increments (just like when I made my prep-lists before service … because you want to start adjusting about 2 hours before service – not 30 minutes.) And on really bad days where I’m feeling extra procrastinate-y I start my list with “Make the List” :) Reply

    • becky albrecht
      November 3, 2020 9:00am

      I agree, thank you David!! Exercise has been key. It’s been too nasty for my usual go-to of biking, so I cleared space in our attic and dug out my dusty tap-shoes. (Andrew of Drury Lane Tap in London has some fun tutorials). I haul my (now a bit larger) derrière up the stairs after a day at the computer, and it really helps. To Sharon, I’m in the cold, grey, north too, and have the same tendency to hide. Wherever you are though, I hope you woke up this morning to brilliant sunshine – it’s beautiful today here in Bremen – what a welcome change! Knowing my ballot arrived and has been accepted (love online tracking) and that at the very least, the sun is still shining , gives me hope. Wishing you some blue sky, sunshine, and hope today too! Reply

    • anje
      November 4, 2020 4:37pm

      I love getting out at dawn even in winter No one is around and connecting with Nature first thing in the crisp clean air sets a tone of freshness inside and out for the rest of the day. Reply

  • November 2, 2020 6:40pm

    Yoga With Adriene on YouTube is my go to. She is so comforting and calm and wants you to “find what feels good.” It’s free with hundreds of videos and I cannot recommend her enough. Reply

    • Carol Jean
      November 2, 2020 6:47pm

      Thank you for the tip! I really miss my in-person yoga classes and teachers. Reply

      • November 2, 2020 9:26pm
        David Lebovitz

        I do too. But on the other hand, it’s nice to not have to go anywhere and honestly, the online classes are very good so that’s ok with me. Reply

        • suki
          November 3, 2020 7:22pm

          Thank you so much for the Pilates links especially the free ones! I will donate what I can to them but just having the choice of how much is a huge help to my budget right now! And that Glo deal is amazing.

          Overall the tone of this post is just spot on, thanks especially for your skill and for the boost!

          PS: I’ve had the urge to make cornbread for the last couple days and now I will today! Was it just the extra butter and flavors that made your batch the “best ever”? Reply

    • deborah yerburgh
      November 2, 2020 8:25pm

      I love Yoga with Adriene….she has levels of yoga for all folks, all abilities, and she is so very inclusive. Great suggestion here! Reply

    • November 2, 2020 9:23pm

      Me too – she’s absolutely fantastic and I can’t recommend her enough either.
      Great post David, thank you. Listing is definitely the way to go – I always feel much better having crossed off a few things even if they’re trivial.
      I usually work at our local Secours Catholique but sadly now closed for ‘Lockdown Season 2’, but a very good idea to help others in any way we can at this time. Bon courage ! Reply

    • Rose
      November 3, 2020 4:12pm

      I love Adriene too! She’s been a lifesaver this year. Reply

  • Jeanette
    November 2, 2020 7:03pm

    Just wanted to say, you are such a good person and a spark of brightness in rough times. Nice to be reminded of all of these important points. Reply

    • Corine
      November 2, 2020 10:17pm

      I agree, Jeanette. Not only is David a wonderful chef and writer, but he is also a good person. His kindness always comes through. Reply

  • Lynda Todd
    November 2, 2020 7:22pm

    Excellent piece David. Simple, human and real. You enrich many lives. Hang in there and thank you. Reply

  • November 2, 2020 7:40pm

    That smashburger looks delicious. Those sly Frenchies. Reply

  • Mike Q
    November 2, 2020 8:19pm

    A wonderful post.
    Also thinking about offering to babysit for a friend for a couple hours. Parents & kids are getting sick of 24/7 family time. :) You’ll be greatly appreciated by all. Reply

    • Laura Morland
      November 3, 2020 4:37am

      Wow, this column really was a public service! I am actually going to try the lists… and I’d already decided to exercise (or walk) for an hour a day, to try to lose the weight I gained in the first confinement.

      A couple of minor points: a pretty darn good Korean restaurant recently opened up around the corner from me (rue de Bercy close to bd de la Bastille). For takeout, they always include two pairs of chopsticks with my two bibimbap. And no spoons.

      I agree that we should all refrain from critical comments on social media… except in the case of smooth v. chunky peanut butter. There’s no excuse for preferring smooth once you’re of voting age.

      ;-) Reply

      • November 3, 2020 8:19am
        David Lebovitz

        Thanks. I try to be mindful of waste as well and on that particular day, and in that particular place – which wasn’t a full-on restaurant, they had plastic spoons (and they were small ones, like teaspoon-size) so they wouldn’t have been so effective in eating the rice bowl as the bigger metal spoons Korean restaurants usually supply.

        As for the smooth vs. chunky debate, like nuts in brownies, it’s a matter of choice. Chunky, to me, is like getting something “extra” in your peanut butter…and why not get it? But that’s just imho ;) Reply

    • November 3, 2020 5:52pm

      I love this post! Thanks David, and Mike Q, I’m babysitting Thursday evening for some parents who have not had a break since March. I hope others will give it a go. Just be sure they have been following the mask rules! ;) Stay safe! Reply

  • Mara
    November 2, 2020 8:35pm

    Thanks so much for a wonderful post. It reminds me that I’m not alone in all of this…. Reply

  • Georgette Osserman
    November 2, 2020 8:38pm

    David Thank you. I’ve been looking for a good you tube class for stretching, and you gave me 2.
    So grateful,
    georgette Reply

  • Abigail Stopper
    November 2, 2020 8:41pm

    Your blog brings little rays of happiness and variety to an otherwise grueling year. Thank you for writing! Reply

  • ganthi
    November 2, 2020 8:47pm

    Thank you for this post and for the reminder that we are not alone and together we will get through this one day at a time. Reply

  • Lissa Mattson
    November 2, 2020 8:51pm

    Are you familiar with Pilatesology? Reply

    • November 4, 2020 1:48pm
      David Lebovitz

      I’m not but I took a look and there are a lot of Pilates classes there. Actually there were so many it was hard to find the right one to take! The selection is so vast but I’m going to give it a try as well. thanks. Reply

      • marcella
        November 10, 2020 7:26pm

        There’s also PilatesAnytime – you can hunt for level and length of class as well as for classes using any equipment you may have (from foam rollers to the big stuff) There are lots of free 30 day codes out there but after that I think it’s $19/US a month. Reply

  • Christine
    November 2, 2020 8:52pm

    What a lovely helpful and kind post with many great suggestions .I particularly like cleaning and sorting the liquor cabinet and the large list for the day.I think everyone likes to cross off tasks that are completed.
    Stay safe and kind Reply

    • November 2, 2020 9:16pm
      David Lebovitz

      Interestingly I sorted by liquors by type and someone told me to try sorting them by color, which makes sense in a different way. Next time it needs organizing, I may try that! Reply

    • November 2, 2020 9:24pm
      David Lebovitz

      I really liked using up all those things in my kitchen cabinets, like condiments and seasonings, etc. that I’d been hanging on to. One company noticed that I used up one of their products when I posted a picture on Instagram and offered to send me a few to replace it, since we were in lockdown, which was nice, but I replied that I was in the “use stuff up” mode – so thanks, but no thanks ;) Reply

  • Annie Rose
    November 2, 2020 8:57pm

    Thank you for such a balanced list of good suggestions. I appreciate your urging everyone to be good to themselves and to others. We all need that reminder from time to time. Reply

  • Janet
    November 2, 2020 8:58pm

    Try the website Doyogawithme For a terrific variety of quality yoga classes. Reply

  • Katherine Herz
    November 2, 2020 8:59pm

    I just wanted to say thank you so much for being you. I live in Philadelphia, and while there is nowhere else I would rather be, it does feel like the world is resting on our shoulders and our community could be in violent disarray at any moment. This weekend I said out loud – to my apartment – “David Lebovitz aways makes the world feel better” – took “My Paris Kitchen” off the shelf, and started prepping Chicken Lady Chicken. That’s my meal plan for tonight – and many to come – alongside roasted vegetables and salad. After walking home from work across my beautiful city. Santé et merci tellement pour tous. Reply

  • Mrs Tonia
    November 2, 2020 9:03pm

    Thanks David for these suggestions and inspirations. Writing this from England where we go into Lockdown 2.0 on Thursday.
    Like you on the first round of this I did three zoom yogas per week.
    Since the summer I’ve gone to studio for live classes. A lovely change. Now it’s back to zoom but better to engage with this for mind and body.
    I shall follow some of your organisational ideas. Bon courage. Reply

    • November 2, 2020 9:22pm
      David Lebovitz

      One of the places I go to was still having in-studio classes just until last Thursday; lockdown began at midnight that night. Gyms and sports facilities were supposed to be closed a few weeks ago but Pilates, as they said, wasn’t considered a “sport” in France. Or something like that. (I guess yoga studios had to close, but not dance studios, which was one of the quirks of laws and categories in France.) Anyhow I stopped going to in-studio classes a few weeks ago when I was the numbers of infections take a really sharp curve upward and even though they limited classes to 9 people rather than 16, it didn’t seem prudent to be an enclosed space with a lot of (unmasked) people breathing heavily. The teachers wore masks, but fortunately they still offered Zoom classes which I switched to, and now they are all on Zoom. Reply

      • Jules
        November 3, 2020 1:07am

        Thank you for your sound and comforting advice. Aside from ‘The List’ of which I am a big fan, I also love online yoga/Pilates, and life always feels better if you can be kind or help someone else. I recently organised my drinks cupboard by finishing all the bottles which contained only small amounts! Not all at once, I hasten to add. We are in semi-lockdown in my part of Scotland, hoping not to go into the full-blown version. Stay safe. Reply

        • tess
          November 6, 2020 3:43am

          haha, great organizing technique Reply

  • Tom Purple
    November 2, 2020 9:05pm

    I have only one complaint (and many compliments) for your current newsletter: I was not feeling hungry until the picture of the “smash burger” popped up. Now I am starved, and only one of these will satisfy my craving! Always enjoy your writing. Thank you. Reply

  • Evie
    November 2, 2020 9:05pm

    Thank you for your thoughtful suggestions, David. I am a big fan of the Smart Living and At Home sections of The New York Times web site that also offer insights and practical tips from experts, psychologists, etc. We all need lots of resources right now!
    I’m off to make a smashburger. [heart emoji] Reply

  • Elena
    November 2, 2020 9:09pm

    I have been following you for years, this is the best piece I’ve read from you (although I really appreciate your blog posts and recipes). Comprehensive, calm, joyful and serene… Thank you David and enjoy the coming months as best as possible! Sending love from Greece Reply

    • Jill Center
      November 2, 2020 9:33pm

      A Balm, for here in San Francisco. Thank you. Reply

    • Kerrie
      November 2, 2020 10:33pm

      Thank you for your post. We’ve just come out of our lockdown and had followed many of your advice. I’d highlight the “ring your aunt ” . I tried to ring some one different each week. Sometimes it was an effort to do but always hung up feeling better, even though both of us had no news. Wishing every One here good health. Reply

  • Lynne Parkhurst
    November 2, 2020 9:13pm

    Thanks, David! Love you, your new book and the Instagram hours! You are the best as are your recipes. Reply

  • Sandra H.
    November 2, 2020 9:30pm

    I really like this and your previous newsletter very much – thank you. It’s good to read these a couple times or more for positive reinforcement. Best wishes to all. Reply

  • Patti Mackin
    November 2, 2020 9:36pm

    David,you are brave!
    I was in Paris in February and somehow contracted the virus and didn’t know what it was, and I went on doing things. It is so important to stay home and avoid this thing.
    But, I must admit, Paris is all about life and it must be difficult to see it shut down. At least a walk if you’re near a park can still be done.
    Here in Chicago, believe it or not, they even closed the parks during the first shutdown and we are about to have another one.
    Stay well,
    Patti Mackin Reply

    • November 3, 2020 8:21am
      David Lebovitz

      Hi Patti: They closed parks in Paris as well. A few months back when infections were rising, they starting sectioning off Paris in terms of which neighborhoods (and streets) people had to wear masks, and which they didn’t. It didn’t make sense to a lot of people but I think they were just trying not to shut down or make the rule across the city. But it confused people and in reality, didn’t seem effective to say, “On this side of the street, you need to wear a mask, but on the other side, you don’t” and they made the mandate city-wide. Reply

    • anje
      November 4, 2020 4:52pm

      Our parks were closed in the Puget Sound area of Washington state as well. Everyone who can should just stay home or on your own property for the foreseeable future imo. When our parks opened up again there were HOARDS of people – sans masks – walking in family groups all over the park. And now, no surprise, we have the second wave of even sharper infection rates around the world.

      I wish the average person was a great deal smarter. Government is trying to protect the economy by allowing openings so it is up to the people to use their heads and continue to wear masks and stay away from others.

      Just because restaurants and grocery stores and fricken box stores are “open” does not mean it is safe to go. Get take out. Order online and use the pick-up options for shopping. Reply

      • November 4, 2020 5:10pm
        David Lebovitz

        That has been a big problem in Paris. When things reopened in the spring, there were hygiene guidelines put into place which involved sanitizing, spreading tables apart, and not cramming too many people into cafés in restaurants. Cities in France also let restuarants put more tables outside, which was great. Unfortunately after a short time, most of those guidelines were ignored. Not by every restaurant, and now the ones that were following the guidelines are upset because they all have to close, again. Reply

  • November 2, 2020 9:40pm

    Good suggestions. Because of health risks I have essentially been on “lock down” since March here in the U.S. I haven’t been inside any store or restaurant. I have my groceries delivered. Honestly, as an introvert I’m doing quite well. I’m focusing on making the best of the situation rather than bemoaning what I can’t do. Zoom is great. We play games with our daughter and son-in-law this way and have had a couple of virtual cocktail parties with friends. It helps if people determine to be creative rather than simply complaining. Reply

  • Lynette
    November 2, 2020 9:45pm

    Thank you for your generous, kind attitude and reminding us that the news is manufactured merde. Gratefully yours.LMJ Reply

  • Kate
    November 2, 2020 9:46pm

    Oh David, I feel for you. Here in Melbourne we are just coming out of a second strict lockdown that started in July – night curfew, could only move within 5km radius of our homes and only for completely essential needs once a day by one person in the household. We still cannot leave the metro area, and Melbournians are banned from any travel to regions or other states. It is hard. I think your strategy list is perfect – I used to keep ‘to do’ lists like that and they really work to give the day some structure and purpose. Your advice in this post is so practical, considered and realistic and very mindful of mental health. Sending my best wishes to you and Romain. Reply

  • November 2, 2020 9:46pm

    Gracias for your lockdown strategies, David. Even if some of us have developed our own strategies by now — for me, bake more, work out on my husband’s Bow Flex machine, and spend more time birding — your post is very encouraging by just letting us know there are positive steps to take to weather this storm. And we will weather it! I just wish I had stocked up on chocolate. All I can get in our little mountain town in Mexico is Hershey’s, and I’m not that desperate.
    Stay happy and healthy. ~ Kathleen Reply

  • Lisa Hendrickson
    November 2, 2020 9:49pm

    Thanks, David. Great post and great suggestions! While we’re not locked down here in Indiana, I wouldn’t be surprised if we have one soon – numbers keep going up. Reply

  • Minty
    November 2, 2020 9:50pm

    David, thank you for your as-always helpful and entertaining post.
    I would say one thing about your daily list; don’t beat up on yourself if you don’t manage to complete everything. One piece of useful advice I read suggested converting shoulds to coulds where possible, as in “I could clean out the refrigerator”. Less pressure. Reply

    • Joan
      November 4, 2020 11:48pm

      A wise friend has a saying, “don’t should on me…. and don’t should on yourself” Reply

      • November 5, 2020 8:56am
        David Lebovitz

        Joan & Minty: Both are good advice! I joke that I have a filter on my computer that filters out any phrase that begins with “You should_________” (or “You need to_______” because that kind of stuff makes you feel inadequate if you don’t, and it’s really not helpful. And who needs (or wants) any extra pressure now? Reply

  • Becky
    November 2, 2020 10:00pm

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! You are just a little ray of sunshine, and I needed it here on the eve of the election in the US. I voted as soon as I could, and I can hardly wait for it to be over. I am hopeful that 2021 will be a kinder and gentler year for all of us, but even if it is not what we wish, we must remember that this, too, shall pass away. All great suggestions, and again, I thank you. Reply

  • Carol
    November 2, 2020 10:14pm

    Hi David,
    When in lock down here in Sydney Australia my daughter and myself would do exercises from youtube, she would call me on Whatsapp then we would do the exercise together, we still do the same now when we are both at home one or two days a week, otherwise we would both be too lazy to bother.
    Stay safe.
    Carol Reply

    • November 5, 2020 8:58am
      David Lebovitz

      What’s App, Zoom and FaceTime (and other platforms) have really been a gift in a number of ways for staying connected. I participated in what was billed as “The World’s Largest Apéro Hour” in France as hundreds of people gathered on Zoom to have a drink together. It was fun meeting new people and a good idea that kept us all in a good mood. Reply

  • Elizabeth
    November 2, 2020 10:33pm

    Thank you, David, a very calming article. Made me feel better. Reply

  • Anne
    November 2, 2020 10:36pm

    My former CSA was fondly known as “the goolag box”
    Even in peach strawberry tomato and pear season you could count on two cabbages. Week after week after week-
    Thinking of you with gratitude-
    Anne Reply

  • Biddy
    November 2, 2020 10:39pm

    Always love hearing from you. Any chance you will begin doing your cocktail shows again? Would love to hear how you and Romain and all of the wonderful people who appeared with you in the spring are coping. Reply

    • November 2, 2020 11:02pm
      David Lebovitz

      I’ve been doing them 2 – 3 times a week. The most recent one last Thursday featured Julia Bainbridge and her really interesting new book Good Drinks on non-alcoholic cocktails, and the day before that I did one on France herbal tisanes and infusions. I hope to have someone on this week doing chocolat chaud (hot chocolate) from her bakery here in Paris but with the Covid lockdown we may need to postpone, but I’ll try to get more cocktails back in the mix! Reply

      • Biddy
        November 3, 2020 12:47am

        Thought I checked last week and didn’t see them. Rushing now to catch up. Instagram, right? Reply

        • November 3, 2020 8:23am
          David Lebovitz

          Yes, I put the link to my IG (Instagram) TV channel in the post :) Reply

  • Marianne McGriff
    November 2, 2020 10:40pm

    David,
    Thank you for the lovely post. All of your strategies resonated with me—positive and helpful. I appreciate the suggestion of Yoga online-yours and Yoga with Adrienne. Many of my family/friends are predicting a more restrictive lockdown after the election, so we all need to be prepared. I am praying you and Romain stay safe and healthy. Blessings, Marianne Reply

  • Kathryn a Linkjendal
    November 2, 2020 10:42pm

    Thank you, David. You have been a wonderful companion and cheerleader during this difficult time. I’ve just pulled your banana upside down cake out of the oven. We shall see… Reply

  • Laurie Combredet
    November 2, 2020 11:13pm

    If you have never heard of Stephen Ilardi and his research on depression, I highly recommend listening to his tips. We all can use them during these anxiety ridden moments! https://youtu.be/Sf9MBOLbKuk Reply

  • November 2, 2020 11:15pm

    David, that really looks like a Martin’s potato roll, and I see the word Martin’s on the Echo menu! CAN IT BE???? I live in the Pays de Gex, just outside Geneva, and would drive straight to Paris once the lockdown is lifted to get some!!! Can you enlighten? Bon courage for the reconfinement! Reply

    • November 3, 2020 8:24am
      David Lebovitz

      The owner of Echo Deli went to college in Los Angeles and fell in love with the fresh ingredients and the food, and wanted to recreate them in Paris. I don’t know those rolls per se, but you can ask Echo Deli maybe on their Instagram account and see if they are the real deal. Reply

  • Julie Hock
    November 3, 2020 12:04am

    Great newsletter and the suggestions to survive ‚lockdown‘ are sensible. I have been reading L‘Appart during our recent 3 month lockdown in Melbourne . after I“ve bought my takeaway coffee and sitting in my car to enjoy both. A special time for me. You write well and it‘s a pleasure to read. OUr lockdown has lifted here with some remaining restrictions, and yesterday my Lover and I enjoyed a coffee at the cafe from a porcelain cup – bliss. Reply

  • Mare
    November 3, 2020 12:10am

    Hi David,
    Thank you for this post. It is helpful to read what you are doing and how you are coping during this unprecedented time. I really enjoyed your book and I look forward to reading your blog — I always seem to learn something new. You have a great community here and I am sure it is helpful that when you post — someone else is reading & responding. I also look forward to your photos too. Maybe you can do another post on photographing food to help people who might be interested– or at least refer back to your previous posts on how you photograph ? Keep up the great work ! Reply

  • Robert in Santa Fe, NM
    November 3, 2020 12:21am

    Ah David, you always brighten up my day no matter what! I always look forward to your posts. Reply

  • Jennifer
    November 3, 2020 12:31am

    Great tips! I have to admit that 50% of my original “to do” list from last Spring is still not done. However, I have taken on a few organizational projects (rearranging my spices, freezer, pantry), and I still have a LARGE box of items that needs to go to Goodwill or whomever. Some places will pick it up. (On the list). The weather is still glorious here in NorCal, so walking is still a pleasure, but I think I will be hunkered down for most of the rest of this particular week! I have discovered a number of new hiking trails, and tomorrow I am going wine tasting in Napa because what other way would be best to get through this elections (voted weeks ago)? Thanks for always being a ray of sunshine, even if some days it feels like you’re more stormy, foggy or just plain gloomy. Sending hugs! Reply

  • November 3, 2020 12:37am

    Thank you as always, David, for your kindness, insight, and humor. For years, your books and blog have added greatly to my knowledge and stories that I share with my tour members (I’m a tour guide for Rick Steves’ Europe). We were thinking along the same lines….I recently posted a similar article on my blog. I hope to meet you someday…in that lovely future when we can travel again! Reply

  • Linda Karber
    November 3, 2020 12:49am

    The smashburger at Paris’ Echo Deli looks so good! The next time you are in Los Angeles you should make the jaunt to Venice, especially Gjelina. There are many great restaurants in Venice. Our daughter has lived there since 1990 and the atmosphere has certainly gentrified; great bakeries, delis, groceries (Erewhon!) and restaurants. Everything there is locked down too (not quite as strict as you have it in Paris) so we are hoping the establishments survive. Stay safe and well!

    Linda Reply

    • November 3, 2020 8:26am
      David Lebovitz

      The opening chef at Echo Deli was a sous chef at Gjelina, which I haven’t been to. I want to go, but whenever I go to LA I suggest I eat there with friends or family but no one will drive out to Venice with me due to all the traffic! Reply

  • Joy McBride
    November 3, 2020 12:52am

    Beautifully put. Love your kindness and positivity. All the best to you and Romain. ❤️ Cheers from Canada. Reply

  • November 3, 2020 12:57am

    Oh, God, that burger! I want one now. I can’t remember the last time I had a burger with cheese. Does anyone in the East Bay (SF Bay Area) know a great burger place that delivers? I like the “use what you’ve got” challenge — my kind of cooking. I just peeled a whole basket of apples: apple pie and dried apples for later. Reply

  • Lisa
    November 3, 2020 1:00am

    Thank you so much for sharing your strategies. As always, your post made me smile. I noticed you felt the need to mention that you aren’t a hoarder and I have felt that too during this pandemic. I have 4 kids and buy in bulk in normal times, especially baking supplies. I’ve felt the need to apologize whenever I’ve gone shopping and people are looking at me with my overflowing shopping cart. I’m sure your shopping bag is tiny compared to mine! Reply

    • November 3, 2020 8:13am
      David Lebovitz

      During the last lockdown in the spring, I was avoiding the supermarket (and unnecessary trips out) so would fill up my shopping cart whenever I went. Fortunately in France there weren’t major shortages of food but certain things, namely pasta, yeast, and flour, definitely were in short supply. Reply

  • Adrienne Young
    November 3, 2020 1:20am

    Thank you David. For all you do. Not just this post. Everything. You make a big difference in so many people’s worlds. Reply

  • Catherine
    November 3, 2020 1:28am

    Merci beaucoup, David, for sharing this with all your readers. It is uplifting and practical and helpful – and good to know what a burger can do for you! My psychologist friend is sending it to some of his patients for good coping advice! Reply

  • Catherine
    November 3, 2020 1:29am

    P.S. I just stocked up on flour and chocolate! Vive the baked goods! Reply

  • Cynthia
    November 3, 2020 1:35am

    David, The best hamburger I ever ate was in Paris Two years ago. It was simply called a hamburger but it was so different and delish compared to any US version. Can you please post a recipe for the smash burger someday, please? Reply

    • November 3, 2020 8:10am
      David Lebovitz

      Kenji López-Alt posted a smashburger recipe which looks great! Reply

      • Cynthia
        November 3, 2020 4:55pm

        Thanks for the recipe, David! Now it’s on my list of lockdown recipes. Tonight I’m making your Soup À l’Ognion recipe which is the best one I’ve ever made. Reply

        • November 3, 2020 6:54pm
          David Lebovitz

          Happy you like that soup so much! Reply

  • Ellen N.
    November 3, 2020 2:03am

    Hi David,

    Thank you for writing such a thoughtful, kind post.

    For me, reading and cooking from your blog are a big bright spot in these trying times.

    Your blog is the Cookbook of the Month for November on Chowhound. My to do list now includes posting about cooking your wonderful recipes. So far, I’ve posted about your Pasta Puttanesca.

    https://www.chowhound.com/post/november-2020-cookbook-month-cotm-david-lebovitz-website-1095007 Reply

  • Micala
    November 3, 2020 2:04am

    Another one from Melbourne Australia as we slowly begin to emerge from our harsh lockdown -sending love to you and yours. Thank you for your suggestions and tips. The ideas of others are invaluable as we deal with this. The suggestion I would like to add is that I found that the music and literature and recipes that have always given me comfort or captured my attention no longer worked. This was an enormous shock until I worked out new music different books and different recipes did. 2020 just needed a different ‘soundtrack’. Hopefully a legacy of 2020 is an expanding of horizons just not literally as I had hoped.
    Stay well and take care Reply

  • Sally
    November 3, 2020 2:18am

    Tu me fais rire toujours David, aussi les commentaires de Romain!! I also make a to-do list, but if the task is especially onerous or will take days, I draw a box instead of a checkoff and make a mark every time I work on the horribleness. Reply

  • Rachael
    November 3, 2020 2:33am

    Thank you. Reply

  • Pat Milito Strauss
    November 3, 2020 2:41am

    Thanks David. You’re so great. Reply

  • Gavrielle
    November 3, 2020 3:12am

    We’re lucky enough to be living a pretty much normal life in New Zealand now, but I’ve been practicing my anti-gaspillage strategy with my leftover bananas and your low-fat banana and chocolate cake. Superbe! Best wishes to you and everyone else heading into lockdown. Reply

  • November 3, 2020 3:22am

    David,
    Thank you for this…. we’ve already put a lot of this in motion the last few months. We are older, living in Southern California and trying to be Oh so careful. Our son and his wife live in Nashville and now all hope of seeing them for either of the upcoming holidays are dashed, but we are grateful that after four months he is going back to work.

    There is lots of cooking and baking going on here, though. Made your marble cake the other day and some cannele’s yesterday. Made me dream of lovely days in Paris years ago.

    We Zoom with family and friends and Zoom yoga and other classes. It all helps. Trying to keep focused and upbeat in perilous times. I agree with you about your to do list. Mine is on my iPad and I check it every morning.

    I also spend a lot of time and angst on our election, but that will come to a head this week.

    I thank you for your Newsletter… it is much appreciated here.

    Sally Wright Reply

  • Linda M Herzog
    November 3, 2020 4:08am

    Good reminders to be kind and helpful. Will definitely buy some shelf sturdy baking stuff as I d remember there being a shortage of such things in th last lockdown. Reply

  • Amy
    November 3, 2020 4:32am

    It doesn’t matter what line of work your in, chocolate is always essential! Reply

  • Sara weil
    November 3, 2020 4:35am

    Thanks and merci, David. I just just made the french apple rum cake from a post 10 years ago. This post is even better than a recipe. So full of goodness and help for all.
    The very best during the lockdown this time. Reply

  • Cynthia
    November 3, 2020 5:56am

    Re: my earlier comment about the best hamburger I have ever eaten and it was in paris, it was at a truck stand just ourtide the Institution Luis Vuitton. The burger was not minced beef but shredded. I never ate at a truck stand in France, either. We were surrounded by peacocks. Reply

  • Liz
    November 3, 2020 6:08am

    Wonderful! Thank you. Reply

  • Catherine
    November 3, 2020 7:13am

    Thank you and good luck. We have had a very long haul here in Melbourne with two lockdowns – the second for 3 months and very tough for many people. We have come out the other side and France and Europe will too. Keep on posting. You are very much loved around the world. Reply

  • Synthia
    November 3, 2020 9:09am

    I’m outside Bordeaux near Saint Emilion where I’m pretty isolated but now it’s worse as there is no one on the tiny roads and all the small shops are closed. Your newsletter came at the right time and I agree we all need to love more, and judge less. Thank you for all your inspiration xo Reply

  • Caro
    November 3, 2020 1:44pm

    Thank you David. What a lovely, kind man you are!

    You, Sam Neill and YoYo Ma have been my IG heroes this year

    sending much love from London X Reply

  • Eva
    November 3, 2020 1:56pm

    Thank you. This helps, a lot. Reply

  • November 3, 2020 3:37pm

    David, that burger looks scrumptious. I am salivating. Thank you for all you do. Reply

  • Sarah N-J
    November 3, 2020 4:27pm

    Thanks for the great tips, David. I felt happier just reading your post. It is grey here in Ontario too, and I felt down after staying inside all day yesterday. I’m just about to go out for a walk. All the best to you and to all the readers of your blog around the world. Reply

  • Rachel
    November 3, 2020 5:07pm

    Great post. Love your blog Reply

  • Mary
    November 3, 2020 5:41pm

    Thanks for this post ! Such great suggestions. I love your positivity and kindness – you definitely make the world a better place. Reply

  • jane
    November 3, 2020 7:11pm

    So important to remember that while Beth and Katja’s classes are free on youtube, Katja has a Paypal link on her “About” tab and Beth has a Kickstarter. Donating a reasonable monthly amount – if you’re able to – seems essential. Reply

    • November 5, 2020 8:59am
      David Lebovitz

      Thanks for letting me know. I didn’t see those and figured they only had ad income. I’ll send a donation to them both – thanks! Reply

  • Hannah
    November 3, 2020 7:35pm

    Thank you David for all your wonderful suggestions and kind words. These are hard times but burgers and exercise just might be able to help us get through. I’m also about to start a cleaning and organizing project for my scary basement, which feels like a metaphor for what it’s like to live in the world right now. Reply

  • Rhea T
    November 3, 2020 8:32pm

    Hi David ~

    Thank you for the great post.

    Due to COVID-19’s effect on the airline industry I retired in August after 41 years of flying as an International Flight Attendant. I miss flying to Paris and your blog keeps me connected to a city that I love.

    Please keep sharing all your wonderful recipes and Parisian adventures.
    ~They make me happy !

    Rhea ~ Seattle WA USA Reply

    • November 4, 2020 9:36am
      David Lebovitz

      This has been such a bad time for the hospitality industry, which includes flight attendants (who also do double-duty as safety officers) Sorry you had to curtail flying but hopefully when this is over you have some travel credits so you can fly and have more adventures again. Reply

    • Deborah Gee
      November 11, 2020 11:47am

      Loved this article and have enjoyed reading and implementing it on my extended layover in Santiago, where we are quarantined to our rooms for 4 days. This has become quite common for airline crews in various cities and so it’s also a good idea to pack a potable speaker (music brightens up every day), a candle and some snacks (nuts, chocolate, crackers). Reply

      • November 11, 2020 2:01pm
        David Lebovitz

        A portable speaker is a great idea…and I always travel with snacks, even though Romain makes fun of me, because you never know when you’re going to be stuck! Reply

  • November 3, 2020 8:51pm

    Good suggestions. After years of poo-pooing it, the pandemic helped me embrace yoga and I totally love the Yoga with Adrienne YouTube channel. Sorry you are back to lockdown. I imagine we aren’t too far behind you. Reply

  • November 3, 2020 11:41pm

    I made a list of responses
    1) baking and cooking supplies are good right now, I’ve laid in a supply without hording
    2) pilates is excellent, plus we acquired a stationary bicycle, a rowing machine, and a Teeter since March
    3) Dear Husband and I have reinstituted date lunch once a week, for as long as we can – makes us happier – fills fridge with leftovers
    Take care, stay safe, :) Reply

    • November 4, 2020 9:32am
      David Lebovitz

      All of these are excellent strategies – you and your husband are fortunate to have each other! Reply

  • Leslie
    November 4, 2020 3:24am

    Thank you, David, for your wonderfully buoying words. They are a reminder that we all have to keep moving. That movement can take the form of a Pilates class online, yoga in your own apartment, or in a broader sense, changing and evolving your self into a more positive, tolerant, and kind person. Thank you for being a bright ray of sunshine. Reply

    • November 4, 2020 9:38am
      David Lebovitz

      Yes, it’s a good strategy for taking your mind off things, while still remaining mindful, as well as keeping you in touch with others if you do them with a group, either in a studio or online. You also tend to be in touch with kind and generous people, which is a good reminder of how good people and humanity can be, even in the face of adversity. Reply

  • j
    November 4, 2020 8:38pm

    Thank you. Thank you very much.
    Go safely. j Reply

  • Michelle K.
    November 5, 2020 12:46am

    I’ve come across your blog just within the past few days and your overall tone is both informative and warm, which is surprisingly hard to come across within the saturated blog scene.

    Thank you for your tips and your reminder for all of us to find our slice of normalcy in our everyday. Reply

  • J
    November 5, 2020 1:51am

    Great tips, stay strong! Love from Sydney X Reply

  • AAtkinson
    November 10, 2020 4:38am

    Thanks David. I enjoy your posts and your recipes! Made a convert of my husband with your book on French drinks. We bought some Salers years ago in the Auvergne — who would have anticipated that it is now widely available in the USA. We are so missing Paris and France generally!
    Also, for the CSA fans, can I put in a good word for Farmer Lee Jones (www.chefs-table.com)? Until the pandemic this Ohio farm producing specialty vegetables catered to fine restaurants but during the pandemic started shipping to home cooks. In tomato corn season there were lovely tomatoes and corn, not to mention all manner of peppers and eggplants. Best CSA boxes I have ever had. They even had chervil — almost impossible to find fresh here in NYC. Now that it is fall it is true that cabbages turn up, but interesting cabbages, savoy and pointed cabbage (the latter new to me but very tasty).
    We are having a warm spell here (74 in the middle of November) so have been dining outdoors at our favorite Soho neighborhood restaurants as much as possible. So many have closed. One small bright spot is that the city is planning to continue permitting restaurants to expand outside even after the pandemic. Reply

  • Ellen A.
    November 11, 2020 11:39pm

    Lovely post. One of your best, and helpful to all of us in these trying times. I’d also like to suggest to anyone who is feeling a little down that they might peruse the FAQ section of your website for a taste of your dry humor, as in:

    “Q: I’m don’t want to search your blog for tips. Can’t I just ask you?

    A: No.” Reply

  • November 12, 2020 8:13pm

    David, you are a delight. Thank you so much for sharing yourself with the world- I should think it must be exhausting at times. And as one professional cook and baker to another: THE LIST. Nothing more important than The List. :) Reply

  • November 15, 2020 7:14pm

    Hi David,

    I have a double-whammy – not only is Brooklyn starting to show signs of going into another lockdown, but I broke my knee back in early October and was going to be laid up for the next couple months regardless. Not only do I need to mask up when I drag myself to physical therapy (oh, and I live on the 4th floor in a building with no elevator, so getting down all those stairs on crutches is SUCH fun), but I’m stuck in bed all day, with my poor roommate shouldering the entire burden of cooking, cleaning, answering phones, and managing everything. (He is a prince amongst men and I tell him as often as I can.)

    But this has kind of underscored one additional lesson that lockdown has taught ME, at least – that there’s still ways we can reach out and help each other in the real world as well as online. Even though my world has now shrunk to the other 3 families inside my apartment building, we’ve still found ways to band together – a neighbor saw me trying to get up the stairs after my knee surgery, and immediately jumped into helping my roommate trying to get me up the stairs. To thank her, we started offering her vegetables from the CSA that we couldn’t eat (I can’t eat cabbage or broccoli), and after a few times of doing that she started to return the favor by occasionally baking for us. Another neighbor who saw me making my way to a physical therapy session yesterday found an old electric cold-therapy device she’d had from when she broke HER knee, and dug it out of her closet and has loaned it to me.

    And because there is no way I would be able to say it enough – my roommate is a prince amongst men. He sort of found himself unexpectedly thrust into the role of “live-in health care aide,” but has been handling it with enormous grace. There has been no task that he has declined doing whatsoever, including trying to figure out how to get me into a shower when I had 25% of my body covered in plaster. (Although we both figured out a way to do that where I could stay clothed until he left the room….) We have very different eating habits and meal schedules, but he has been catering to me without any word of complaint.

    This is all reminding me that I’m not alone in this – and not in the “oh everyone around the world is in lockdown together” sense, but in the “there are some real-world people I can point to whom I know would have my back” sense. That can be tremendously comforting. Reply

  • Kim Brakeley
    November 16, 2020 5:43am

    Oh David, how I love love love you. Thankyousoooo much. Yoga with Adrienne has saved my life many times, starting when I got postpartum, she is a real treasure. So are YOU! Love to you from redondo beach, ca. Reply

  • Clare D
    November 18, 2020 2:10pm

    Thank you David. That is a really positive and helpful post. My big take-away? The LIST! Reply

  • Kat
    November 18, 2020 3:13pm

    You have such a steady voice plus natural wit and charm! Yours is the one and only newsletter I subscribe to as well as the only Instagram feed I don’t find tedious after following. And your suggestions to volunteer are spot on. There are many, many out there who have infinite time to complain and post on social media but who have no interest in doing the boring, un-postable work that really matters. You are a gem. Reply

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