I have been FaceTime-ing and Zooming my arse off recently, and I have found it helps to have an activity, a theme or some point of focus to orient the calls around. Other than simply a shared low-key—but still crushing!—feeling of existential dread, anyway. Virtual happy hours are fine and good, but not everyone drinks, and not everyone wants to drink as frequently as these calls occur. If all of this sounds familiar to you, shifting the focus from drink to food—by way of a virtual recipe club—may be the right move.
The premise for a virtual recipe club is simple: You all pick a recipe, you make it together over Zoom (or your video chat service of choice) and then you eat it while enjoying one another’s company and comparing notes. If someone had trouble with the dish, other members of the club can help them figure out where they went wrong. If someone has tips, tricks or particularly successful modifications, they can share them with the class. You can even cook different versions of the same recipe—consider a classic coq a vin—and discuss what worked and what didn’t.
In addition to the social element, a recipe club can provide the little bit of extra motivation you might need to make yourself a nice meal, which can be a challenge if you response to stress is to eat bowls of cereal in bed. If you the joy of eating doesn’t entice you, perhaps the promise of meaningful social interaction will.