Asking for help: My search for yeast during Covid-19

I like making pizza. It’s an easy thing to make. The ingredients are fairly simple and making the dough only requires water, flour, salt and yeast. 4 simple ingredients. But as of three weeks ago, those ingredients are no longer easy to find.

So a couple of weeks ago, I was celebrating another beautiful day of self-quarantine when I had this desire to make pizza. I pulled out the flour, warmed up some water to 104 degrees (If you know why you’re a real one), grabbed some salt and then I discovered I was out of yeast. 

Yeast is a fungus; it helps the dough rise. Without it, your pizza is going to be sad. Trust me, I tried making this no yeast dough and it was underwhelming, to say the least. So I got in my car and headed to the store, where I found the baking aisle completely ransacked. I went to the next store. The same thing. And after about 7 stores I said, “Screw it, I’ll come back tomorrow.”

10 days went by. Every day I would drive to the store looking for yeast and would come home empty-handed. I was getting pretty desperate, and after an hour of YouTube videos on “How to make homemade yeast”, I pulled out my laptop, logged onto Facebook and decided to ask for help. 

I reached out to a Monrovia locals group asking if anyone knows where I could buy some form of yeast. I got responses like, 

“I went to Sprouts last week and found some, try there!”

Did that already.

“Make your own! It’s easy and really fun.” 

Nope.

“I can’t find any either : ( “

*sigh*

But then I got a DM from this woman named Michele. It read, “Hey I have some extra packets if you want them. Not looking for any money, I know it’s tough to find stuff right now.” 

I messaged her back right away, we met at Starbucks, and when I got there Michelle had not only brought me yeast – she also had baking powder, baking soda and a whole cookbook on how to make bread from the masters at Tartine in San Francisco.

I was at a loss for words not only because finding yeast was a victory in itself, but this specific cookbook also happened to be on a wishlist in my Amazon account. Michele didn’t want anything in return, and we parted ways. As I was driving home, I started to think about why it took me so long to reach out. 

For me, asking for help is one of the hardest things to do. My ego usually gets in the way, and I like to think I can do everything myself. But the truth is, I can’t. 

I spent 10 days looking for yeast… 10 DAYS!!! Think of how much time, effort and gas I wasted as I went from store to store. Do you know how long it took me to hear from Michele? 

10 MINUTES! 

That is the definition of irony. 

The funny thing about asking for help is you usually receive what you need and then some. I can go off on a sermon with this one, but let me leave you with this: If you don’t ask… you’ll never receive it. 

Reach out; others are willing to help. The only way we’re all going to get through this is by coming together, doing our part and helping those in need, no matter how big or how small those needs are.

Cheers, 

Emilio 

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