Notes on ... Quarantine

Drum roll for Edsa's first newsletter. Also: We miss you, world.

Hello, there.

Welcome to the first issue of Delicious Creativity, a creative newsletter on food by Edsa. It’s great to have you here. We hope you are all keeping well and safe.

For those who are not familiar: Edsa is a creative collaboration between us, Kat Fernando and Sai Villafuerte — a passion project, exploring the intersections where ideas of food and creativity meet. 

Last October, we made our debut during Fungi Fest in London, England, with our first project: a capsule collection of mushroom-inspired sweatshirts, capturing the playful innuendos we enjoy exploring as Edsa. You can read about that project in this article by nolisoli.ph.

It’s been five months since our debut and we’ve been thinking hard about our next step. We always wanted to create a publication and we figured starting a newsletter would be the best way to start that journey. 

This newsletter is sweet and punchy. Each issue is introduced with a word (in this case, “quarantine”), explored through three subjects: food, creativity and everything in between. Sounds simple enough, right?

Whether it’s a new recipe or a juicy meme, we hope you’ll find something that tickles your fancy.

Hugs and kisses,

Kat and Sai


+ FOOD 

WE <3 DELIVERY DRIVERS

Photos by Ryan Christopher Jones for BuzzFeed News

The food industry is one of the hardest hit by the coronavirus outbreak. As restaurants shut their doors, food delivery services are taking off to feed hungry customers at home.

However, delivery drivers are frequently neglected as part of this equation with customers cancelling orders due to inconsiderate impatience. In the Philippines, as a call to solve this problem, a Facebook group called Order Heroes was created. Drivers use their own pocket money to purchase meals before collecting payment from customers. The group dedicates itself in helping drivers sell cancelled orders for others to purchase

Christopher Jones and Amber Jamieson documented the life of a food delivery driver in New York after the coronavirus outbreak for Buzzfeed News. Meanwhile, in Malaysia, Tashny Sukumaran from South China Morning Post talks to a few of the country’s working drivers, examining how their life changed since the lockdown. Here is what GoGet driver Mark had to say:

“There’s a spike in deliveries because everyone is getting food to the table. There have been lots of jobs, I haven’t been able to eat lunch some days as there are nonstop deliveries, sometimes from 8 AM until 6 PM.”

FOOD IN VIDEO GAMES

Video games combine real-life elements with fantasy to create wildly imaginative worlds, many exploring food as a gameplay vehicle. Cooking in-game allows players to gain stat bonuses to level up or aid them in battle. However, many games also use food as a cultural device, providing a basis of interaction between players. Todd Harper of Vice observes how this is demonstrated in Vanillaware’s Odin Sphere: Leifthrasir.

“[The game] perfectly captures not just the default game notions of food — restoring health, providing benefits — but also the feeling of being part of a rowdy group of adventurers preparing what might be their last meal, fueling up before diving headfirst into danger once more.”

On Thrillist, illustrator Everest Strayer-Wong shares how artists approach designing food in video games.

“Maybe it’s because drawing is like putting the world through the filter of your own experience and aesthetic. In food art, and video game art, what’s left is the best parts of the food’s spirit -- and someone else’s expression of that food from their own nostalgia.” 

ANXIETY BAKING

#sourdoughbread #Baking this morning 🍞 . I am testing out all different methods I found online and in books, to come up with a fool proof recipe you can replicate without too much trouble. Video should be up sunday next week, as this week I have something else in store... Oh boy. SOMETHING CU-RA-ZEEEEEEEEE...
April 13, 2017
Check out this playlist from @frenchguycooking’s YouTube for a foolproof guide on making sourdough bread

In these extraordinary times, people are scrambling to find new hobbies at home to keep active, calm and creative. Enter #anxietybaking or #stressbaking. Contrary to the oxymoron, baking can indeed boost mindfulness by focusing on one repetitive action such as kneading, folding and mixing. 

Even front liners are pursuing this craft during their downtime. This article on The New York Times explores how baking is personally helping doctors and policy experts during this period. Here, Jeremy Konyndyk, a pandemic preparedness expert and senior policy fellow at the Center for Global Development, gives his two cents on the matter:

“In disaster relief — famine, war, epidemics — the crisis goes on and on and on. There’s no point where you’re finished. Baking lets you take a project from beginning to end.”

If you’re looking to join the club on Instagram, Milk Bar’s Christina Tosi started hosting #BakingClub daily at 2 PM EST via IGTV. Gabriel Waterhouse from The Waterhouse Project also shares bread recipes on his Instagram Stories.


+ CREATIVITY

MAINTENANCE AS PRODUCTIVITY

Illustration: "Female Athlete Gymnastics" by Gun Karlsson

“Growing” is not the only means of being productive. In fact, this is the very logic that sometimes makes the balance between life and work for creatives so unsustainable. Do yourself a favour during this period and check in on those things that need checking in. You don’t need to get going, be better or do everything. This piece of advice from Dr Sahar Yousef, a cognitive neuroscientist, published on 99U drives the point home. 

“The key is taking the time to get to know yourself without passing judgment. You have a natural rhythm, and times when your productivity peaks and wanes. Keep track of when you are most productive, note your daily “slump times,” and set a few strict ground rules for those time-suck habits like checking your inbox or Slack notifications.”

HOW TO DO NOTHING

Jenny Odell’s How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy is a manifesto on taking control over our attention, arguably the most valuable commodity. This is especially relevant now as we feel obligated to maintain contact, taking an inordinate number of Zoom calls or hopping from one live stream event to another. Annabelle Timsit from Quartz reminds us how our quarantine lives risk becoming as over-scheduled as our normal lives, while this short article on Man Repeller cautions us over the modern trap of turning our hobbies into hustles

And when you decide to do nothing, we recommend Olivia de Recat’s piece in The New Yorker on highly relatable fantasies for everyone. We wish this fantasy onto you and your loved ones:

“I sleep through the entire night and wake to find that someone has made me oatmeal with peaches in it.” 

ON KEEPING INSPIRED

Illustration by Fatchurofi. Read this piece on It’s Nice That about how mindfulness influences his work. 

You don’t have to put on the breaks if you don’t want to. We can’t help it sometimes. When inspiration is everywhere, the seeds of the tree are sowed before you know it. 

This article from the Harvard Business Review specifies three qualities behind the psychology of inspiration: (1) “evocation” — the “eureka” moment when an idea reveals itself; (2) “transcendence,” i.e. pushing what is conceptually possible, and; (3) “approach motivation,” or bringing that idea into a tangible reality. 

There are ways of increasing our likelihood of inspiration. While effort prepares the mind for an inspirational experience (not all of which are easy), openness and positive affect make us more attuned to when inspiration arrives. “Small accomplishments are also important,” they suggest, “as they can boost inspiration, setting off a productive and creative cycle.”

So, yay for small accomplishments! Whether you’re working on a project or taking a well-deserved rest, we recommend checking the resource archives of The Creative Independent, which includes guides, interviews and essays on topics such as dealing with creative anxiety to developing a creative process


+ EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN

Salt Fat Acid Heat’s Samin Nostrat launched a pop-up podcast together with Hrishikesh Hirway on how to cook creatively with leftover pantry ingredients. 

Somerset House is hosting #NowPlayThis on their website this weekend to celebrate experimental game design. One highlight is a live conversation hosted in Animal Crossing between art critics The White Pube and game designers House House.

Munchies is holding a virtual cook-off for everyone quarantine cooking at home. Sign up by Monday, April 6 to win a tour of the Munchies Test Kitchen in New York when they reopen.

This playlist by Transit Records, a Manila-based music collective, was compiled on 30 March during their online listening party via jqbx.fm. Catch their live stream DJ set this Saturday, 4 April from 21:00 GMT +8 via their website.

MOLD is a London-based magazine covering discussions on the future of food. All their issues are now free to download on their website.

It’s Nice That published a collection of isolation recipes from ten hungry creatives, ranging from photographers, illustrators, animators, and the like. 



Delicious Creativity is a creative newsletter on food by Edsa. You can support this newsletter by subscribing to our posts, following us on Instagram or writing to us your thoughts on how we can do better.