Being quarantined has impacted all areas of our life. Work. Schooling. Exercise. It’s also done some interesting things with our relationship with food. On the one hand, food can be a source of comfort. Cooking, for me and a lot of others, is usually a wonderfully nurturing experience. But on the other hand:
- Many of us are limiting our trips to the grocery store, and even then they are not well-stocked at the moment. This means we have to get creative with our pantry since we can’t pop in for that missing ingredient or two.
- Pandemic stressors lead to distraction, which doesn’t exactly bode well for things like timers, details in recipes, and other minutiae in the food prep world.
- Being home for all three meals every day means approximately 1,302 dishes to clean up, and who wants that?
- Stress-eating exists, and has there ever been a bigger stressor the whole world is grappling with simultaneously?
The result? Some interesting food pairings and recipe choices. Welcome to dining during quarantine! Let’s review a few of my favorites.
I’ve made Alison Roman’s incredible chickpea stew many times. But on my first grocery store trip in quarantine, I discovered that all the canned full-fat coconut milk—a key ingredient in this stew—was sold out. However, I found coconut cream and figured this was a fine substitution. I failed to ignore the product image that included a pina colada, I ended up with a stew so sweet, it could have been spooned over ice cream as a very satisfactory topping. I hoped the naan would balance it out. It did not. I ate it anyway.
All the Dots pretzels in the Houston area
The shortage is all me. (Also, have you had these yet?!)
Boxed macaroni and cheese … straight from the saucepan
Someone took a picture of me sitting on the couch, saucepan in lap, spoon halfway to my mouth. I will not share it with you for less than $100.
An entire Costco pizza in one sitting
A pancake “taco” filled with bacon
10/10 would recommend. Add peanut butter to up the yum factor.
Oreo thins crushed into a bowl of Frosted Flakes and eaten like cereal
This was actually my (normally-health-conscious) fiance’s creation and I was amazed at his ingenuity in these trying times. Dining during quarantine has us all thinking out of the box. Literally!
A packet of Emergen-C dumped into a glass of Rosé wine
I know this is technically a drink, but please don’t correct me as I’M FEELING VERY FRAGILE. Anyway, this was delicious. I cannot vouch for the effectiveness of Emergen-C when mixed with alcohol, but it made me feel invincible.
A bowl full of chopped cherry tomatoes
What can I say, necessity is the mother of invention.
Very, very burned homemade crescent dogs
Someone turned the timer off. I ate it anyway. Are you noticing a pattern here?
My On the Floor Cake
On the Floor is my general term for maximum-level disappointment, since it usually involves me crying on the floor. Now I have a cake for it. Here’s the recipe if you’re interested. You can even eat it on the floor (but not off the floor). You’re welcome in advance.
- 1 box extra moist yellow cake
- Small box instant chocolate pudding
- Small box instant vanilla pudding
- 4 eggs
- Half a bag of mini chocolate chips
- ½ cup oil
- 1 ½ cups water
- Frosting (I make Sally’s cream cheese frosting but if frosting seems hard, you can just eat the cake plain)
Preheat oven to 350. Combine dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients (except for eggs) and mix well. Add in eggs one at a time. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour into a Bundt pan and bake for 1 hour. Let cool, then flip out of pan and frost. Then flip out emotionally.
Have you been eating weird stuff, too? Don’t worry. I’m no expert, but I think it may be healthier to laugh about it than beat ourselves up about it right now. Be kind to yourself. Pay attention to how you feel, and let that guide you to certain foods, whether you dine on dessert stew, roasted vegetables with a fried egg on top (my favorite dinner), or Oreo thins crushed up in a bowl of Frosted Flakes.
How are you coping? Is there anything bizarre you’ve eaten while dining during quarantine? Come and share in the WeAreTeachers HELPLINE group on Facebook.