Macaw at the zoo by the Forward

Daily distraction: Cooking school, chamber music and a trip to the zoo

Welcome to your daily distraction, our recommendations for ways to stay engaged and entertained while we socially distance ourselves to combat the novel coronavirus outbreak. You can find our past recommendations here; many of the opportunities we’ve highlighted are ongoing.

It’s Saturday. Whether or not you ordinarily observe Shabbat, as our work and home lives become increasingly merged, it’s a good time to consider how to distinguish the weekend from the week. My plan: Keep my phone off for as much of the day as possible, focus on spending time with my family and maybe make a cake. And maybe partake in one of the excellent distractions below. Here are three ways to break up your weekend-at-home.

1) Take cooking classes

Whether you’re an experienced cook or a novice, as we’re all home chefs now, this is the time to hone your skills. The Kitchn has a great video series on kitchen skills, from basic knife skills to seasoning; give it a whirl.

2) Relax with some chamber music

One of the great benefits of being a student in London, when I was there in 2013, was the ability to get free tickets to concerts at Wigmore Hall. One of the world’s greatest venues for chamber music, the hall has opened up its library of live-streamed events, meaning you, too, can watch the extraordinary musicians who come through their doors for exactly no money. Start with the Beethoven string trios on this page, and go from there.

3) Take your kids — or just yourself — to the zoo

All praises be to the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, which is taking fans on 15-minute-long Facebook live tours of its exhibits every single day. If you or your kids are going stir crazy — and who among us is not? — tune in at 3 pm EST. And you can access all the past tours, too, so with a little ingenuity you can arrange a complete virtual field trip.

Isolation entertainment: Make pasta and go to the zoo


Talya Zax

Talya Zax

Talya Zax is the Forward’s deputy culture editor. Contact her at or on Twitter, @TalyaZax.

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Daily distraction: Cooking school, chamber music and a trip to the zoo

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