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Naomi Kritzer

Fiction and Excerpts [2]
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Fiction and Excerpts [2]

Didn’t I Write This Story Already? When Your Fictional Pandemic Becomes Reality

Sometimes, you’re haunted by your own stories. I wrote “So Much Cooking” in 2015: in it, a food blogger describes cooking in quarantine during a pandemic, feeding an ever-increasing number of children she’s sheltering at her house with an ever-decreasing supply of food. For over a year after I wrote the story, every time I saw powdered egg replacer at the store I’d be tempted to buy some. Just in case. One of the very first things my protagonist runs out of is eggs—I’ve cooked with commercial egg replacer before, it works very nicely for things like cookies, and it’s shelf-stable. I could have it just in case. But even shelf-stable goods have expiration dates; they also take up space. I resisted the temptation.

“I think we have hit the point where doing some minor nonperishable stockpiling is prudent rather than alarmist,” I wrote to my spouse on February 25th of this year, and listed some things I wanted to lay in: toilet paper, coffee. Like the protagonist of my story, I strongly prefer good coffee, but I bought a just-in-case vacuum-sealed canister. (Toilet paper: I mean, of course the stores were going to run out of toilet paper. What goes right before a blizzard? Milk, bread, eggs, TP.) I started looking for egg replacer.

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