Art project #6,000,001 at the Goldfinger household.
Domestic Blitz is a series of dispatches from parent-artists around the country juggling domestic immersion with creative aspirations. People's Light hired these artists to submit haikus, recipes for sanity, short essays, songs, sketches, video cries for help, you name it – whatever gives a snapshot of their current experience in perpetual proximity to their loved ones.
JACQUELINE GOLDFINGER is a Philadelphia-based writer whose highly-acclaimed work has been developed and produced across the country and internationally. In her Domestic Blitz video, she lets us into a typically mayhem-filled day in quarantine life, featuring two endlessly creative youngsters and two very tired parents. Learn more about Jacqueline's projects that don't revolve around unicorns and glitter glue on her website.
like everyone else in quarantine, i’ve never cooked so much in my life, and it’s one of the few productive pleasures i’ve got right now.
when i’m cooking, it’s usually a time when my husband is working, so that’s the time when my baby (now 17 months) gets to watch her tv programs (cartoon nursery rhymes). the last thing i need is a toddler running full steam towards a hot oven or stove (she can almost reach the knobs on the stove) so have to keep her occupied. when the tv is on, she is stock still.
here’s a list of some things i’ve made during this quarantine:
every thanksgiving, this is the dish that my grandfather would make and bring to the family potluck. it’s remarkably easy to make, but it’s also remarkably easy to eat too much of. potatoes, onions, cheese, milk: it’s too rich to eat regularly!
more than anything, i have been craving good chinese food, namely good dim sum, which has proved impossible because (a) all the chinatowns are more than walking distance from me and (b) even if some restaurants in my neighborhood are open for takeout, basically all the chinese restaurants have closed during the pandemic (i believe) because rampant anti-chinese sentiments. so instead, i got ingredients delivered from ranch 99 (they ship to anywhere in the country) and attempted to make some quasi-dim sum items myself. the hong kong milk tea is like milk tea but much, much stronger. i’m a caffeine lightweight, so one cup kept me up all night. but it turned out well. the jian doi, which i made out of the glutinous rice flour and red bean paste i got from ranch 99, fared less well. it had all the technical elements of what a jian doi is, but without any of the deliciousness. it is also a reminder of what a miracle good dim sum actually is and the immense, intense work that goes into it.
okonomiyaki is great because you can throw whatever vegetables you want into them. one time, i didn’t have cabbage, but i had leftover brussel sprouts, sweet potato, and kale (that were pretty dried out) and they worked out fine in the recipe. the word “okonomiyaki” means “fry whatever you like” in japanese, and i didn’t have several items listed in the ingredients for more of the recipes i found online. strangely, my pantry is stocked with ideal okonomiyaki ingredients like the okonomiyaki sauce, bonito flakes, furikake seasoning, but you could probably put anything or nothing on them.
a friend tipped me off to piccinini brothers, which normally sells its meat wholesale to really fancy restaurants like gramercy tavern and boulud, but is selling retail for the first time. i ordered, among other things, hangar steak and because they’re completely overwhelmed with orders, it took about three weeks to get, but it was totally worth it. we cooked the steak as per david chang’s recipe. my baby, who basically eats everything we can now, enjoyed this one, too.
i didn’t make this, but this is a quarantine cocktail cooperative that is the brainchild of actor hansel tan. he comes up with a different and wonderfully inventive and tasty recipe every week, and you can sign up each week to get a bottle of it delivered. it’s been a highlight of my time in quarantine—in a way, it helps to mark the end of the work week for me and still preserve some illusion of a “weekend.” this week’s cocktail is called “mother’s milk” and contains raspberry-infused vodka, arrack van oosten (apparently the liquor in punch), reduced rose syrup, milk-clarified lime and grapefruit juice, assam tea, and mint.
these were for passover. my husband is culturally (not religiously) jewish, and so latkes were a big part of his childhood. the recipe was fairly straightforward and the latkes came out really well. added applesauce and greek yogurt (which has become my easy swap when recipes call for sour cream).
LAUREN YEE is a playwright, screenwriter, and TV writer currently based in New York City. Her play CAMBODIAN ROCK BAND was her most recent to take the theatre world by storm, receiving productions and accolades from coast to coast. Stay up-to-date with her new work on her website.
I began writing this song, "The Other Side," the night before my father died. Following a fall he’d had in early December at his home on Chincoteague Island, Virginia, I took him to the hospital, where doctors discovered Stage IV cancer throughout his abdomen. I brought him back to our home in Elkins Park to care for him while we sought treatment options nearby, but his symptoms increased rapidly, necessitating further hospitalization. It soon became apparent that his greatly weakened condition would not support chemotherapy, at which point we agreed that the goal ahead was for him to succeed in dying well rather than fail at living longer.
So I brought him home again, now under hospice care, where my wife Megan had papered the walls and ceiling around the hospital bed with photos from his beloved Island. He survived only two more nights. In the middle of the second, unable to sleep, I sat beside him and started scribbling. The refrain came first – the metaphor of a shared journey, and our inevitable separation at the end. Some weeks after he died, I picked up the song again, intending to play and sing it at his memorial in Chincoteague on April 11. For obvious reasons, that was postponed, and so was the song.
In the meantime, Megan’s father, who had been slowing markedly in recent months, suddenly took a steep decline, landing in a hospice facility himself. But now there was a global pandemic at hand. And so, unlike the intimate experience of dying we were able to have with my dad, Megan was prevented from sitting with hers, having to settle for seeing him fade away via daily FaceTime calls – a cruel, end-of-life separation that has become unfortunately commonplace lately.
So now we’re postponing a pair of memorials, until the world opens up again. In the meantime, I decided I needed to finish my song, and sing it to my father – not the one whose ashes sit in a box in the corner of our dining room, waiting to return to Chincoteague Island, but the one in my memory, and my heart.
MICHAEL HOLLINGER is a playwright and professor with a background in music. His plays have been produced Off-Broadway, all over the country, and right here in Malvern, receiving numerous awards. Visit his website to learn more about his work.