How I think of myself isn’t necessarily how other people think of me

We all have an image of ourselves in our heads that may or may not correspond with reality. Mine is that I’m a loner who doesn’t have any friends.

This pandemic is showing how wrong I am.

I’ve been catching up with friends online, and some of them have even been sending me care packages.

The Madeline you see in the top photo and the All Day Bread below was sent by an friend from my days as a music journalist more than a decade ago. They came with a bag of farm-fresh arugula and a bottle of cracked black pepper.

The bread and pastry are from Batangas-based My Sarbon Artisan Bakery while the arugula and black pepper are from Villa Fuscagna farm, also from the province. The products are distributed through @consciouscollectivemnl, which said friend is part of. The company sources “sustainable and socially responsible spices, natural products and unique gift sets.”

Getting this was a surprise, as I don’t think said friend and I have seen each other since our music days, and only catch up through social media. Needless to say, I am very touched to have been remembered.

And everything is so delicious! The arugula cam pre-washed and ready-to-eat. The Madelines came in a pack of four, and I’ve been eating one a day with my afternoon tea because I want to savour their taste. The specially-shaped bite-sized French butter cakes have a lovely lemon zing that is highlighted when paired with black tea.

All Day Bread

The All Day Bread is basically one big dinner roll. It’s soft and milky and is great with butter with a bit of salt sprinkled on top. Its name is apt too, as I’ve been eating it with every meal. When I can, I’m going to order the rye bread, which I’m told is a bestseller, and the lemon poundcake because lemons and pound cake!

It’s interesting when you see someone from a different part of your life wind up in the same place you’re currently in. In this case, from music to food and agriculture. It shows that there’s always something to be discovered about everyone, and that more people (this includes us) are realizing the importance of food security.

This doesn’t just mean access to food anytime and anywhere, but also that the way we get our food is fair, safe, and proper as well. It’s about knowing who grew your food, how it was grown, and how it got to you. It’s knowing that everyone along the chain, from farmer to seller has been adequately compensated for their efforts. It’s knowing that a seed doesn’t grow into a full vegetable overnight, and that farming is really hard, but also rewarding. It’s a tough lesson to impart, but it’s something that anyone who eats has to understand.

I’m thankful for friends whose kind thoughts and actions are helping me during the pandemic. I’m thankful that my image of myself as unloved is wrong. I may not be able to send anyone anything, but I hope I can somehow help my friends, too.


Yvette Natalie U. Tan is a multi-awarded author of horror fiction and the Agriculture section editor of Manila Bulletin.