I’ve held on to my home office (which, OK, is my dining room table) despite the fact we were called back to the newsroom in July and I then retired in August. It seems right — and somewhat comforting — to keep it.
I spent so much time there for almost 18 months, starting in mid-March 2019. At first there was fear — being told to go home and work from there so we wouldn’t come down with the rapidly spreading COVID-19. And the premise it would only be for a few weeks … The fear of going out, disinfecting anything brought into the house, using sanitizer like crazy and waking every day, wondering how many more people had died and praying they were none of my family and friends.
There was no 35-minute commute to Pittsfield twice a day, which over time I really missed. There were no pre-work chats with my podmate, although we called and texted each other daily. There was no gossiping with my features department “girls.” And Zoom meetings were a daily thing. I spent my days working and watching life around the neighborhood — what little there was — waving to my neighbors as they walked their dogs, watching the birds.
Because my commute consisted of walking 15 feet from my bedroom to the kitchen for coffee, and then backtracking 5 feet to my “desk,” morning coffee became a morning luxury. I was fortunate to have a coffeemaker that made lattes, cappuccinos and espresso. I bought all types of flavored coffee and always had vanilla ice cream on hand to make a homemade Viennese coffee. And there was the pandemic food fad — Dalgona coffee, a beverage made by whipping instant coffee powder, sugar and hot water until it became creamy and then adding it to cold or hot milk. It became a small, but necessary component of my pandemic work life.
The other day, as I was clearing out my coffee cupboard, I found the recipe for regular Dalgona and my favorite variation — Whipped Coffee Mochaccino. So, here I sit writing this column in one of my happy places, sipping on a rich, creamy coffee. The pandemic has eased, and as odd as it may sound, looking back, there are some good memories.
WHIPPED COFFEE MOCHACCINO
1 cup milk (regular or nondairy, divided)
1/4 cup instant coffee
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
1/4 cup boiling water
Divide milk between two 8- to 12-ounce glasses and set aside.
Whisk coffee, granulated sugar and cocoa powder together in a large heatproof bowl.
Friday, as food columnist Margaret Button watched the Berkshires turn into a scene from Disney’s “Frozen,” she decided to try a no-yeast cinnamon roll recipe that had come with a gift box of cinnamon spices she received for Christmas
Pour boiling water into the coffee mixture.
With an electric mixer, beat the mixture until it’s thickened and very fluffy, about 3 minutes. (Alternatively, you can use a stand mixer or whisk as fast as you can with a regular whisk.)
Divide the whipped coffee mixture between the 2 glasses. Stir before drinking to combine the milk and the coffee.