I was so sick with Covid I couldn't read or watch television, but cooking got me through - Alexander Brown

Getting into something everybody else is already familiar with much later is considerably better when it’s Covid.

Suffering from Covid is not fun. Phot: Clerkenwell/Getty Images/Vetta
Suffering from Covid is not fun. Phot: Clerkenwell/Getty Images/Vetta

Sure you’re embarrassed to have somehow managed to get it two years after it first went big, but on the plus side fears are generally reduced to your social life rather than being alive.

I was struck down with it a fortnight ago, for the first time, and have never been more thankful to be triple vaccinated.

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The past two weeks have seen me suffer coughing fits, exhaustion, and headaches so bad I struggled to stand.

It is not a unique or new experience to find Covid is terrible, but I was astonished at just how hard it hit me.

Even now, weeks on, I find myself desperate to sleep in the day, and out of breath from just walking up stairs.

At its peak I struggled to look at screens, couldn’t think straight, and with my flatmate perhaps fortunately being away, I had nobody to fetch me food and medicine.

It also had great potential to be lonely, with my friends enjoying a rare week of sun while I had nothing but a PlayStation and self-pity for company.

I have occasionally wondered, on my worst days, if anyone would ever contact me if I didn’t message them first, or left parties thinking nobody would realise I was even here.

At large social events I feel like Jeremy Corbyn at a wreath laying, I am present but not involved.

But tweeting about my illness in a transparent bid for attention, I was blown away by the outpouring of love and offering of support.

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Friends I have not spoken to for years, peers who live on the other side of the city all got in touch offering to drop off items and ask if I needed anything.

Amy, who lives near me, would drop off not just the items I asked for, but little treats just because she could.

Sure paracetamol is exciting but have you ever got a surprise posh almond croissant from a bakery when you can’t leave the house?

To paraphrase Blanche, I’ve always relied on the kindness of neighbours, and these food drops, these deliveries of essentials and treats offered me solace and possibility.

What’s more, they gave me a task to do, with cooking and eating at the table an event so I had something, anything to show for my days stuck inside.

With a brain fog so severe I could not read or focus on anything beyond how long it was until I got better, cooking was a comfort.

I was unable to watch television, but lighting a candle, weighing out my pecorino after deep frying courgette to make a dish I’d seen Stanley Tucci eat once was an experience that transcended everything else.

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Fortunate enough to retain my taste, I could sit at my dinner table eating a pasta dish I’d never had before, with no knowledge of a better version of it.

I discovered fresh flavours and new meals to cook for friends when I was finally back out in the world.

I’m still poorly, but thanks to Amy, Stanley, and BBC Food, I got through it and am on the mend.



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