GUYANA: How will you shop and eat in 2022? – By Cynthia Nelson

STABROEK NEWS – By January 1, 2022

For almost 2 years now, because of the pandemic, how we shop for food, cook, and eat have changed. We have all had to adjust in a variety of ways such as lining up to shop, having others select our fresh produce and meats, learning how to cook and at times overeating.

Over the past year, some things have adjusted, in some cases relaxed, as populations continue to be vaccinated but they have not returned to the pre-Covid period, and I do not think they ever will. Times have changed and we must move on too. And so I ask, given the changes, how will you shop, cook, and eat in 2022? But before you answer, let’s take a quick look at some of the occurrences in our shopping, cooking, and eating as a result of the pandemic.

Shop markets for fresh produce (Photo by Cynthia Nelson)

Shop markets for fresh produce (Photo by Cynthia Nelson)

Homemade Plantain Chips with homemade Salsa (Photo by Cynthia Nelson)

• Online shopping for home delivery and drive-in pick-ups are now the norm. Supermarkets, grocers, and vendors have learned and equipped themselves with technology, mobile devices, and payment systems to offer these services. They are becoming more efficient as time goes by. These services have necessitated the investment in additional personnel and ground transportation.

• Worldwide, disrupted supply chains have had a huge impact on how certain items are sold and how we purchase. Some supermarkets have signs stating the quantity allowed per customer.

• Due to the unavailability of items, we found ourselves buying more than usual amounts to stock up.

• The buying of extra stuff also has to do with the unpredictability of the virus and its variants affecting more people, which could force governments to impose harsh(er) restrictions and lockdowns. It is about being prepared, just in case.

• The limited supply and related issues have seen the price of food rise, resulting in many people having very little.

• In supermarkets and large grocers, there are signs and frequent intercom announcements advising you to select with your eyes rather than touching multiple items before adding them to your basket or trolley. In the markets, things are pre-parceled and pre-bagged for purchasing to limit contact.

• Many vendors have lost their livelihoods too. Because their age, or comorbidities make them vulnerable to the virus, in order to be safe, they have stopped selling, whether at the markets or on the streets.

• Kitchen gardening made a huge comeback with people growing their own produce.


• Many people have been making their own bread and baked treats at home, finding joy and realizing how easy it is to make many of the things they like.

• There has been much more cooking at home and not simply the act of cooking but the frequency with which it is done, in many cases, 3 times a day.

•  The frequency of cooking has not been all fun as there’s an unspoken expectation that X person will prepare the meals. And then there is the guilt of feeling an obligation to do so that robs you of the joy and love you found in cooking. This led to cooking becoming a dreaded chore.

•  On the other hand, there are those who have a newfound appreciation for the ones who have always prepared their meals, as they have been seeing firsthand all that is involved from shopping to getting the food on the table.

•  Many have learnt how to cook and realize that it is something they can do and like doing. And then there are reluctant cooks (these are people who have had to venture into the kitchen because they had no choice), that have found peace in the kitchen. They have also found a space (in a sometimes crowded house), where they can have some alone time, be quiet, and create.


• One would think that eating would be the easy part, but let me tell you, this is the part that is fraught with complications. Eating, for many people, is and was a sublimation for all sorts of things they do/did not want to acknowledge, do/did not want to deal with.

•  Gathering around the table to have at least one meal as a family is/was a cherished moment given our otherwise busy lives. It’s a renewal of sorts, communion.

•  Many people have been overeating (quantity, frequency), resulting in weight gain and often it was a result of boredom as there seemed to be not much else to do and there is a lack of the physical movement that would occur in otherwise ‘normal’ times.

•  On the other hand, there are those who have lost their appetite for food.

•  People ate to be healthier to boost their immune systems. And there are those, frustrated with all that is happening to them and around them, who have decided they are going to eat whatever, whenever; the thought behind this being: we’re gonna die anyway, let me treat myself.

•  On the business side of eating, people were glad for the reopening of eateries and fast-food places, simply because they craved a different taste and were tired of eating their own food. Many home-based food businesses have come into being with many people applying their cooking and baking skills to supplement their income and often to replace their income as a result of job-loss; pick-up and drop-off being obvious types of delivery service.

As you read and reflect, how many of the things mentioned have you identified with? How will you shop, cook, and eat in 2022? As for me, I am going to take all opportunities to go to the market for fresh produce and meat. I will continue to cultivate my relationships with local, small-scale farmers and vendors as I seek to reduce my food carbon footprint.

Happy New Year Everyone!


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  • Uncle Francis  On 01/13/2022 at 10:56 pm

    New Year’s Greetings from Uncle Francis.

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