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Since COVID-19 turned all of our lives upside down, most of us have been spending more time in the kitchen. People are working from home and whipping up lunch from the fridge instead of ducking to the cafe next door. A latte and banana bread picked up on the way to work is no longer the easiest breakfast option.
It is a big adjustment for us all, but many people are also using cooking as a new hobby, a tool to pass the time stuck indoors, and a way to spread a bit of community love by dropping off surprises on neighborhood or family doorsteps. How many of you have the best quality cookware that money can buy still sitting pristine in your kitchen cupboard? Now is the time to get those pans sizzling. To help you get started, we have put together a guide to stocking your pantry for lockdown.
Make a List of Family Favorites
If you are more of a spontaneous cook who ducks into the supermarket several times a week and has never made a meal plan in your life, then doing the groceries once a week might be a tough transition. Rather than trying to plan every mouthful of food you’ll be eating, why not make a list of your family’s favorite dishes? This way, you can go in with at least a basic plan.
Get to Know the Substitutes
You might be having trouble sourcing some of the items that you are used to having on hand, like rice and pasta. Now is the time to start researching substitutes so you can still enjoy your favorite dishes. Cauliflower is a versatile example, as you can turn it into mash, make cauliflower rice, or use it to create a pizza base. If you have never tried making zoodles (zucchini noodles), then now might be the perfect time to experiment.
Include the Extra Meals You’ll Be Having at Home
You wouldn’t believe the amount of bread we are going through at the moment with all the extra sandwiches being made at lunchtime. Have a brainstorming session to work out the extra lunch and snack ingredients you need to add to the pantry.
Don’t Shop Like it’s the Apocalypse
We have all heard the stories (and probably seen the mad rush at the grocery store). You do not need 74 months’ worth of toilet paper and canned goods. If you have done some planning beforehand, then you should have an idea of how many meals you need for the week and what basics you require. Don’t get stuck with ten cartons of long-life milk you will never drink.
Plan Some Treats
Social isolation, a global pandemic, and daily death tolls are extraordinarily challenging on our mental health. Throw in homeschooling, anxious children, and attempting to work from home, and I think we would all agree that 2020 is proving to be a tough one. In these challenging times, we must find some small pleasures each week. You might implement a family pizza-making night, or start doing breakfast for dinner one night a week. You could make an elaborate cake or let the kids choose a special snack that they aren’t usually allowed. Maybe invest a little extra in that fancy artisan coffee you have always wanted to try.
It looks as though you will have a fair amount of time to practice your quarantine cooking, so be sure to make it as enjoyable and sustainable as you can!