My Quarantine Kitchen

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Sheesh. I didn't foresee a global pandemic becoming part of my blog content, but here we are. My brain is still trying to catch up to the realities of social distancing, canceled freelance contracts, and homeschooling a Kindergartner who can't sit still. My heart is heavy for every single person faced with the uncertainty of unemployment and closed businesses; for every nurse and doctor risking their own health for ours. This is horrific, and it doesn't help that our country is being gaslit by morally bankrupt, incompetent leaders. What's helping me these days is to focus on small things I can control. This happens to be a very short list that includes tasks like refreshing my Netflix queue, stocking my pantry, and deep-cleaning the fridge. The kitchen is my sanctuary, but I treat it like my workplace in that I'm pretty much prepared for anything. We're all going to be spending more time in our kitchens, probably more than ever before. (If you've instead committed to surviving quarantine on a diet of takeout and canned soup, more power to you. This won't be the blog for you though.)  With that said, my advice to you today is simple. Take a deep breath, turn on some music, and spend some time in your kitchen. Not to cook - there will be plenty of time for that. Take inventory of your pantry, clean out the freezer, organize your spices, or whatever it is that will help you to feel calm and in control. Yes, it's busywork, but these are also things that will prepare your kitchen for heavy-duty use.

The recipes are coming, so don't even worry about that part. In the meantime, you can check out this thread of #quarantinerecipe ideas. My new website is finally in the works, so please be patient with the slow-loading times I'm currently stuck with. (It's Google's problem, and on the list of things I can't control.) If there's one thing you can count on me to do in a crisis, it's cook through it. There will be quick and inexpensive pantry meals, breakfast, and fun snacks. There will be beans. There will be recipes you can do with the kids. There will be therapeutic baking and meditative slow cooking - you have the time now, no excuses. We will make things from scratch. We will play with our Instant Pots, immersion blenders, sous vide machines and all the other gadgets I've coaxed you to buy over the years. We will cook, and laugh, and cope with whatever lies ahead. I hope that you'll join me.

To get you started, I've condensed my massively long pantry list down to the staples you can expect to see in my blog recipes most often. Outside of this list, I like to grab fun specialty products but I try not to write recipes for ingredients that are harder to source.  Download this graphic to your phone for an easy reference!

Next up, here is my list of the fresh and frozen produce available year-round that I typically include on my shopping lists. It's not an exhaustive list, nor do I expect to be splurging on pricier ingredients as this pandemic goes on. But for now, I'll work through my freezer, shop when I'm able to, and make the most of things. 

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  1. Good advice. I did a similar inventory 2 weeks before our state ordered the shutdown when I saw where things were headed. Being from the south, I'm familiar with the grocery panic runs.