Don’t Forget to Eat

Indrani Sen
Published in
2 min readNov 2, 2020

Grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup.
Photo: Fancy/Veer/Corbis/Getty Images

Do you know what’s for dinner Wednesday night? My colleague Cari Nazeer asked that question in a Forge Daily Tip this past Saturday, on the last weekend before Election Day. A “low-stakes action plan,” Cari wrote, is “a way to claim agency over some small sliver of life, even if everything else is scary.”

It was just the prompt I needed. I tend to cook my feelings, so I spent much of this anxious weekend stirring bubbling vats of green tomato chutney and vacuum-sealing pouches of salsa. I’ll be slow-braising lamb riblets with cumin and Szechuan peppercorns on the day after the election, and my family will dig in either to celebrate, to comfort ourselves, or to soothe our anxiety.

As Ashley Abramson wrote for Forge last week, planning for the small mundanities of life can do wonders to quell your spiraling panic—especially if things don’t turn out as you hope on Election Day: It “gives your thinking brain something to grab onto in a worst-case scenario so your amygdala, the part of the brain that deals with emotions, doesn’t totally take over,” she wrote.

You don’t have to be into cooking to do yourself this simple kindness: Plan what you’ll order as a takeout meal from a favorite restaurant, or stock your pantry with the basics for a childhood comfort food. Sam Sifton of the New York Times suggests grilled cheese and tomato soup.

But once your voting is out of the way, why not go big with a cooking project? A timpano, feijoada, or Bûche de Noël might be just the distraction you need.

Indrani Sen
Writer for

Editorial director at Medium, mom, gardener, cook. Formerly at Quartz.