Whether you’re wondering what to do with the random assortment of groceries you were able to scrounge together from the depleted stores, or you’re the one hoarding all the non-perishables in the first place, we all are going to need an extra dose of inspiration to cook and eat well during the Coronavirus quarantine (self-imposed or otherwise).
First things first…
Stop hoarding food. Go ahead and stock up, but don’t clean out the shelves. The severity of the situation does not call for 5-alarm panic and hoarding. Instead, just make sure you have enough for you and your family and a little extra for special circumstances. Note: A little extra means enough to keep you and your family going for 1 to 2 weeks. Otherwise, some people will get left with nothing while you’re hanging on to 8 months worth of non-essentials.
P.S. Your sinks are working just fine. The plumbing is working and society’s infrastructure is operating as normal. You do not need to be hoarding bottles and jugs of water. This hoarding behavior just causes more problems with supply and demand. Deep breaths, people.
6 tips for eating well while in quarantine
1. Only buy foods you actually enjoy and eat fairly regularly
Does this seem obvious? You’d think, but from what we’ve all likely been witnessing, people are buying literally everything with reckless abandon. Just because canned corn will last awhile doesn’t mean you should be buying it if you hate it. If you buy “whatever you can get your hands on” out of sheer desperation, your time at home will be spent eating meals you hate. And if that’s not Hell on earth…I’m sure April will have a new crisis to show us what is.
2. Don’t completely overlook fresh produce
You don’t need to avoid some fresh tomato or your beloved avocado toast just because you’ll be barricaded indoors for two weeks or more. At least allow yourself to indulge in fresh produce for the first handful of days of your quarantine and opt for ultra underripe produce so it can last as long as possible.
3. Frozen foods are your friend
So you’ve bought only foods you like and have your underripe produce waiting to be enjoyed – but after a couple of weeks if you’re still stuck inside you’re going to need a secondary source of fruit and vegetables. Don’t let your health slip. Frozen vegetables and fruit are great to have regardless of the world’s crisis du jour. I for one always have frozen edamame and mixed berries on hand year round, but recently I’ve also included frozen spinach, corn, and broccoli for good measure.
Note: This doesn’t mean line your freezer with pizzas and Lean Cuisines. Go ahead and buy a couple of frozen meals, but these will just be temptation to eat garbage Day 1 of quarantine. These should be backups.
4. Make meals in bulk to freeze for later
Further put off having to eat lackluster frozen and canned foods by making a fresh batch of a soup or chili that you love that you can freeze for later. You can have a home-cooked meal made with fresh food and not have to worry about it spoiling. Try out this vegan carrot soup if you need an idea.
5. Take stock of seasonings and sauces
After you have all of your basics stocked up in your pantry and freezer, it’s important not to lose your grip and start eating like a starving vagrant. You likely have a working stove and oven, pots and pans, a stocked spice rack, and a will to live well (don’t you?). Just because you feel like the world is in crisis does not mean your meals need to be plain rice with half a can of beans on top. Make sure you’ve got all of your seasonings, spices, and sauces at the ready to make real, flavorful meals that you’ll actually enjoy. Maybe use the extra time at home to experiment and get creative with new recipes. When there’s nothing to do, all that you really need is good food, good wine, good company. And on that note…
6. Don’t forget the wine!
Seriously. There’s no reason to not have a good time during all of this mayhem. Cheers to some quality time with those uninfected friends and family members at home over some fine wine and good food – food that you pulled together because you didn’t lose your mind and only buy 84 rolls of toilet paper and a lifetime supply of veggie dogs.