Don't know about you, but I suspect that every time I see a loaf of banana bread in the future, it will transport me right back to the fateful spring of 2020 and the coronavirus pandemic.
Given that everyone decided to try their hand at making banana bread while in lockdown, it will probably always be synonymous with this time. But then, several everyday items have taken on a whole new significance since the start of the year.
If you want to remember the story of the pandemic in years to come (and who knows, there's a slim chance that you might), look no further than the things that will transport you right back in time.
1 Toilet paper
For one fateful week in March, the Irish decided to err on the side of caution, follow the lead of their UK brethren and stockpile the essentials, and it meant that loo roll was in scant supply.
Social media was positively littered with photos of empty supermarket aisles where the toilet paper usually lived, which begat even more of a buying frenzy. At one point, Ireland's leading manufacturer of toilet paper, Aldar tissue in Finglas, said it was struggling to meet unprecedented demand, despite producing 50,000 rolls an hour. The panic buying last mere weeks and it wasn't long before we were taking the humble roll of quilted 3-Ply for granted again.
2 Sourdough starter
Much like its none-too-distant relative, the banana bread loaf, the sourdough starter became an item of aspiration with certain people in lockdown. Itching for something productive to do and with more time in their hands than they knew what to do with (in theory), Irish people started baking as though they were being paid to do it. If you want a single symbol of the smug folks who were Doing The Pandemic Right, this is it.
3 Hand sanitiser
When hand sanitiser started to sell at hugely inflated prices, we knew that this pandemic, and those attempting to curb it, were serious. Along with washing our hands to the tune of 'Happy Birthday' (twice), hand sanitiser soon became part of every day life. Soon, tiny bottles of the stuff were being hawked on eBay for four-figure sums, and the Irish distilleries even stepped in to produce alcohol-based sanitiser (and in some cases, surface cleaner) to keep up with growing demand. Mere weeks later, when our hands started to resemble wizened claws, hand lotion became the next must-have.
Along with flour, noodles and canned goods, pasta became the next Covid must-buy. In the UK, Tesco had to roll out a rationing system for dry good products and in Ireland, a noticeable surge in the sale of pasta was reported in May. And, as we all had shelves heaving with the stuff at home, what followed was weeks of being 'creative' with our pasta haul.
5 The Zoom screen-grab
The video messaging platform Zoom was virtually unheard of at the top end of the year; now, it's entered the lexicon to such an extent that it's become a verb (ie, Zooming with friends). At the beginning of the pandemic, we revelled in the novelty of having meetings on Zoom, drinks on Zoom and even faux-weddings on Zoom, and screen-grabs were so commonplace that you'd think it was mandatory to take them. Anyway, the shine soon wore off, and telling your colleagues that you were 'going on a Zoom' simply became code for 'I'm off away to have a nap'.
6 The kitchen table
It's seen a lot of action in the last few months, hasn't it? It's become the home office, it's the place where kids have had their homeschooling lessons, and it is probably the place where many Irish families have had every single one of their meals in previous weeks. We'll never look at it the same way again.
7 The takeaway
After the closure of restaurants and bars, most people rejoiced when certain eateries started offering their fare on a takeaway basis. It meant a break from the ceaseless grind of cooking three meals a day, and that was enough cause for celebration for many people. In April, Michelin-starred restaurant Liath in Blackrock, Dublin, offered a two-course takeaway for €19 per person, while Ranelagh's Butcher Grill offered a call and collect Food To Go menu.
8 The quiz book
We soon got bored with Netflix binges, gin on FaceTime and baking aspirational breads. We're not quite sure how or why the humble pub quiz became the definitive leisure pursuit of the season, but it did. Soon, we were locked into a cheerfully competitive tango with our family and friends, and the only thing worse than getting beaten by your cousins was the realisation that you had to host the quiz the following week. Which meant a week of brushing up on Powerpoint and Googling pop singles from the '80s.
9 The bingo card
Some people sidestepped the quiz and decided that bingo was a much better spend of their downtime instead. By late March, a video of balcony bingo players in Ringsend went viral, and it didn't take long for the rest of the country to get in on the 'one little duck' fun. In Cork, residents on one street went one better than their Dublin counterparts and decided to throw a massive bingo party on the road.
10 The home hair-dye kit
If the women (and indeed, men) of the country wanted to look vaguely presentable, they were left to their own devices. Unwilling to embrace three months' of root re-growth, several people picked up a home colouring kit for the first time since their teens. A slew of YouTube tutorials popped up, as did videos on how to rescue your Shellac manicure, hair extensions and eyelashes.
11 Joe Wicks PE classes
The coronavirus was globally devastating, but several people came to the rescue of quarantined families and pretty much became the hero of the hour. After taking it upon himself to offer online PE lessons to everyone, Wicks reportedly landed a €1.2 million children's book deal and, according to some estimates, looks set to make around €12 million on the back of the success of his classes.
12 The social distance instructions
Admit it: you'll never wonder how long 2 metres, or 6.5 feet is ever again, right? Whether on the footpaths outside supermarkets, the local parks or public transport, those yellow public information signs will forever be seared on our collective memory.
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