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By Sharon Hudgins • Photographs Courtesy Sharon Hudgins

By the time you read this, all of us in the United States will have experienced nearly three months of the global Covid-19 pandemic. For this issue of German Life, I had planned to write about cold fruit-and-berry soups for summer. But since we work several months ahead with magazines (it’s March as I write this), we couldn’t predict if, by this June/July issue, readers would easily be able to go shopping for fresh fruits and berries at their local grocery stores and farmers’ markets. So I decided to write this more timely article instead.

Recently, as the pandemic has spread and we’ve been asked to follow strict “stay-at-home” directives, I’ve been thinking about other times in my life when I’ve been isolated in a house or apartment building with other people, sometimes voluntarily, sometimes unwillingly but of necessity. And I remembered how cooking and sharing meals together was one of the best ways we kept “cabin fever” at bay (most of the time, anyway). Those long-ago experiences were good training for what all of us have been going through today.

My first experience of enforced isolation happened in my early 20s, when I was a graduate student traveling alone around the British Isles on my first trip to Europe. On the last day of that journey, I was staying at a bed-and-breakfast on a sheep farm in England when a horse-riding accident injured my back and legs so badly that I couldn’t travel for another month, until I was well enough to walk again.

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