Back to Normal

I know we’re not quite there yet, but what will normal look like?

For some, being able to get back on the links.

For others, feeling not quite so much on the brink.

For some, getting the kids back into school.

For others, going back to work in an office, or going back to work at all.

For some, attending something — anything — in person: a sporting event, a funeral, a concert.

For others, going out to eat in a real, live restaurant, with people they don’t live with.

For some, getting their second shot or giving someone a hug.

For others, losing the mask or finding their sense of humour.

For (so)me, at least this week, the feeling of post-COVID normal meant finding a bottle of oyster sauce (which is oyster-flavoured sauce, *not* oyster sauce, as a friend astutely pointed out, and that’s good I guess but then in thinking about it I don’t know which is worse: ground-up oysters in a jar or chemicals mimicking the taste of ground-up oysters), anyway, finding so-called oyster sauce in the grocery store again after at least six weeks (!) of unexplained absence. I’m not saying it was in-explicable, just that it was not-explicated.

I now have a jar of said sauce, the better to make the same dish as featured on the label, oddly and coincidentally enough. In fact, I have two jars. So, not quite back to normal. I never used to stock up on an occasional-use item. But my faith in the Great Global Supply Chain has been shaken this past year, and I may never take it entirely for granted again.

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10 Responses to Back to Normal

  1. Tom Watson says:

    I read an article this morning that said there will be a number of people who are really anxious about going back to “normal.” Will it be safe? What are the unknowns?
    Life is ever thus.
    Tom

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Tom – Hahaha. And yet imagine if they’d been asked in the Before Time how they’d feel about coming out of a great pandemic . . .

  2. Marilyn Smith says:

    I must say that being able to purchase a bottle of ‘oyster’ sauce has never found its way to my list of things to buy once we get “back to normal”. Indeed, I have never seen such an item on a grocery shelf, nor, I admit, have I even sought out this product for the purposes of fulfilling a recipe from my go-to cookbook (from Calgary, no less!), “The Best of Bridge”. I’m curious about the dish you will be making, Isabel. Oysters with broccoli tips? So, you open up a can of smoked oysters, submerge the oysters in oyster sauce, heat, chill, add fresh or par-boiled broccoli tips? Serve as an appetizer? Having grown up on the prairies, I never tasted a raw oyster until I was in my late twenties. I’m not sure it took, unlike that Winnipeg favourite — smoked oysters on Christie’s biscuits, or crackers, as we call them. As for the chemically-induced faux taste of oysters, perhaps it is comforting to note that the bottle says “preservative free”. Maybe that means they don’t charge extra for the chemicals? Marilyn

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Marilyn – LOL. Technically, the technicalist in me says that “not charging for chemicals” should be rendered as “preservatives free” but different languages handle plurals differently. As for the dish, it’s beef broccoli, that old Chinese restaurant standby.

  3. What?!! I thought oyster sauce was flavoured with the liquid found in the shells with the oysters. I use it in almost any stir-fry dish that does not contain rice or pork to strike a contrast with the more common soy sauce or sweet-and-sour combinations. This post deserves a closer look the next time I am in the Asian Aisle. It also conjures up a more interesting feast than the second round of spaghetti with meatballs I was counting on for supper. Dagnabit.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Laurna – Meatballs are good, too. 🙂 I didn’t actually check the ingredients list. I did always have a vague question about exactly *why* it was called oyster sauce, but never explored it.

  4. barbara carlson says:

    Re-entry anxiety — it’s now a Thing.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Barbara – LOL. IKR? Like we need more Things. I figure the only folks who are entitled are astronauts.

  5. John Whitman says:

    Isabel – who knew a shortage of **oyster-flavored** sauce could cause so much discussion. Glad I could help.

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