The coronavirus has a silver lining for families

Published 6:30 pm Tuesday, April 7, 2020

By Mary Rapoport

Mary Rapoport

Everyone knows what a reset button is. Your electrical gadget suddenly stops working and you push the red ‘reset’ button and it comes back to life. Maybe the silver lining to this devastating virus is our country’s ‘reset button’.

Things had gotten out of hand — for families. Families were rarely eating together; parents worked so many hours they often didn’t spend quality time with their kids throughout the week; children thought cooking was a package of something pre-prepared, stuck in the microwave and consumed right out of the container in front of a screen; mornings were a nightmare with parents screaming to rush sleepy kids out the door so they could leave and be on time for work; evening fights were the norm when parents realized kids hadn’t done homework since often kids spent their out of school time being shuttled to many after-school activities, causing more stress with time and resources; when parents exercised, it was alone in a gym on their lunch hour or on the way home from work; and when families did take a vacation together, parents were often still connected to work via cell phone. It’s stressful just thinking about!

This coronavirus reset button means many parents are working from home. Kids aren’t rushing out the door to school and their myriad ‘enrichment’ activities. With the current social isolation, families are being stuck with each other in a way they never knew. It’s the extended snow day without the snow ice cream, hot chocolate and wet mittens.

And it’s a chance for folks to slow down and take advantage of so many things we’d put aside for so long:

• Eating together as a family – Setting an actual table and talking to each other during meals.

• Cooking together or cooking period.

• Being creative with crafts to while away the extra hours at home.

• Calling grandparents, older relatives and neighbors, to check on them.

• Going for a walk around the block with each other or getting out the old exercise equipment in the garage.

• Working in the yard together — it’s spring and there’s plenty to do outside.

• Get the house organized — Clean out some drawers, closets and gather old clothes, toys books etc., to give to the needy, wash windows, clean out gutters.

• Fix things — you can google anything to find out how to fix it.

• Pray together. Gather everyone around and have each say what they are hoping comes out of this weird time we’re all living through and ask God for help keeping everyone well.

• Read.

• Get all personal papers in order — wills, safe deposit box keys, insurance and bank information (just in case it needs to be accessed quickly).

• Teach kids how to do the laundry, make a bed properly, dust.

• Play board games or card games — together.

• Practice counting to 10 before becoming upset with siblings, spouses, parents.

• Learn and practice good hygiene, not just for now, but forever.

We will come out of this. And we will all look back and remember it. And be thankful it’s not like after a storm when there is no power. At least we’re warm, we can get food, we can enjoy each other like never before, and we can plan what we’ll do when it passes, because it will.

When kids learn to cook it’ll keep them occupied, bring them a feeling of empowerment, will lighten the load on parents, and will give them a life skill they’ll use forever. Here are some easy recipes they’ll enjoy fixing now and can add to their ‘toolbox for living’. They all contain eggs which are not only easy to cook, are super nutritious for folks of all ages, are inexpensive, versatile and delicious. Get crackin’:

Sprinkle the Toad in the Hole with salt and pepper and place on a plate with some fruit and enjoy. — Courtesy Virginia Egg Council

Toad in a Hole

1 slice of bread

1 egg

1 pat butter or margarine, a tablespoon cooking oil, or a squirt of cooking spray

Salt and pepper

Wash hands. Gather all tools and ingredients needed along with a plate.

Using a large cookie cutter, a wide rimmed glass, cup or a biscuit cutter, cut a hole out of the center of the bread.

Crack egg into a small bowl.

Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat.

Put butter or margarine, oil or cooking spray in hot skillet.

Place bread in the skillet and pour the egg inside the hole. Place the extra bread in skillet on the side.

Cook for a few minutes, then slip a spatula under the bread with the egg inside and flip it over. Flip over the extra piece of bread, as well. Cook a few more minutes.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper and place on a plate with some fruit and enjoy.

Clean up!

Serves 1

Egg Tacos

Scoop cooked eggs into taco shell. Sprinkle on cheese and lettuce and top with salsa. Place on a plate and enjoy. — Courtesy Virginia Egg Council

2 eggs and 1 tablespoon butter or margarine

Hard or soft taco shells

Grated cheese

Shredded lettuce

Salsa

Wash hands. Gather all tools and ingredients needed along with a plate.

Crack eggs into a small bowl and beat with a fork until well blended.

Heat non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add butter or margarine and swing around pan to cover it.

Pour eggs onto hot surface of pan, let sit about 30 seconds, then start slowly moving eggs around until nearly cooked through.

Scoop cooked eggs into taco shell. Sprinkle on cheese and lettuce and top with salsa. Place on a plate and enjoy.

Clean up!

Serves 1

French Toast

2 eggs

2 Tablespoons milk

1 tablespoon butter or margarine

2 to 4 slices of bread

Toppings: Fruit, powdered sugar, maple syrup

Wash hands. Gather all tools and ingredients needed along with 2 plates.

Crack eggs into a pie plate. Blend with a fork. Add milk and blend together.

Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add butter or margarine and swing around pan to cover it.

Dip bread in the egg/milk mixture, using a fork to turn it in the mixture, letting mixture seep in a bit.

Place egg-soaked bread in the skillet and cook a few minutes on one side. Flip, once it starts turning brown. Cook on remaining side a few minutes. Repeat with remaining bread until eggs are used up.

Lift out and place on 2 plates. Top with toppings and enjoy.

Clean up!

Serves 2

Egg Salad Open ‘Faced’ Sandwiches

6 hard-boiled eggs*

½ cup chopped celery

¼ – ½ cup mayonnaise

6 Bread slices or English muffins halves, toasted

Cherry tomatoes, pepper strips, olives

Wash hands. Gather all tools and ingredients needed along with three to six plates.

*Place 6 eggs in steamer basket in pan with 1 inch water. Cover. Heat water to simmering and steam eggs for 12 min. Chill in ice water for 15 minutes, crack all over and peel.

Place eggs in a large bowl and cut with two knives, crisscross fashion, until nicely chopped. Add the celery and just enough mayonnaise to make a smooth paste. Taste in case salt and pepper are needed (Congrats — you just made egg-salad!).

Layer egg salad on six slices of toast or English muffin halves. Decorate with cherry tomatoes for eyes, pepper strips for a smile and an olive for a nose. Place one or two ‘faces’ on each plate. Enjoy right away or refrigerate some egg salad to use later.

Clean up!

Serves 3 to 6

MARY RAPOPORT is the director of Consumer Affairs for the Virginia Egg Council. Contact her at 540-345-3958. or eggsrgr8@rev.net.