The corona makes us cook, in our house. The other night, courtesy of the adult son in our bubble, it was a dish of cauliflower puree, because the shop had them at a reasonable price, made with stock from roasted chicken bones. Mmm.
On top were slices of chicken breast, from the same bird, also roasted, and a pile of spiced chickpeas, walnuts foraged down the road and toasted in their shells on the woodburner, broccoli florets, green peas and little pieces of apple from a relative's nearby tree. And fresh bread, which our chef de jour also made.
Food can make you feel like royalty, and for some reason it's always the simple, never the sophisticated. The brilliant, carefully created simple.
As it happens, he thought the walnuts were too much; I thought the broccoli. These are good disagreements to be having.
Honestly, though, when lunch is only apples, some nuts and cheese, it's very fine too. We have a lot of apples.
As you may gather, food's important in our house: it's a shared value. I know parents are doing it hard now, and I keep thinking back to what our kids were like when they were little.
This one was intensely observant and analytical: he worked out, as a very small person, that the sweetest strawberries were the ones with a gap at the top when you sliced off the hull. With any mechanism or machine, he could sort of look at it and see how it worked. He still can.
But he could never be bothered remembering anything. Didn't know his own birthday, couldn't tell you the day of the week. Probably still can't.
His brother was a bit different. Courtesy of an illustrated shower curtain, he knew the name of every capital in every country. Accra and Asuncion, Monrovia and Minsk, they held no fears for us at bathtime. Named, filed, conquered.
Simon Wilson's pandemic diary: Jacinda's right, stay the course
At dinnertime, we had a rotation rule: one after the other, day after day, each of us got to choose the music. It was like those favourite books you read over and over at bedtime: thanks to one of those two boys, I am still extremely familiar with Vivaldi's Four Seasons. And fond of it, truth be told.
You remember the good stuff and the other stuff. One son was so good at hiding in the house, we really couldn't find him. One could write a play in his head, and speak it out. One slept through the night, almost from the start. One memorised the whole of The Night Before Christmas, with not a creature stirring not even a mouse, the works.
Now they both cook. I like to think that when they argue, it's over who can make the better curry.
What's it like, for parents locked up with little kids? I can scarcely imagine. You all get to know each other intensely well, I guess. If you have one who can hide so completely they apparently disappear, I can see that would be difficult.
We had no broadband, streaming, reliable search engines or Wikipedia. No personal devices, not much access to video games. We had Lego, with me always saying please let's build it the way it says on the box, just once, and then you can do what you like. We had car mats, spread all over the floor, with a hundred little metal cars to push around on them, a game that could go for hours, or days.
I'm sure the online games and programme options all help now, but they don't remove the core challenge. The kids are stir crazy and you're always on. Parents are essential workers.
But I do like that social media, in its goodness, has stepped up to tickle the creative funnybone: songs, dances, hilarity and stupendousness of all kinds dreamed up, performed and pushed into the world for everyone to enjoy. Tik Tok and House Party and everything. And so many people responding. You did that, now watch this!
Kids and adults, you can find people to share with in your street, and people from all over who are like you and not like anyone else, because "community" doesn't mean just the people near you. You can find the best entertainment everywhere in the world.
And it's not merely entertaining. There's inspiration in that great creative outpouring. Who knows what will come of it? Being locked up at home has already given us new artists, and there'll be more among everyone watching, I bet, and new art forms too.
What splendour. Still, I remember a time of chairs pulled up to the bench and flour all over the kitchen. I daresay that's happening now too.
Let it happen, is what I think. All of it. School starts online next week, sure, but don't stop looking for the fun. Suzy Cato will quite possibly say the same. Because one day, a day that will come before you know it, the room will fill with the aroma of chicken-infused cauliflower puree and it will make you swoon.