One month, you’re raiding your cupboard for non-perishable food items to donate to bushfire relief efforts… the next you’re driving between empty supermarkets looking for even a single can of soup. Life comes at you fast in 2020.
If you’ve been following the coverage of the coronavirus pandemic, you’re probably aware that the current advice is to practice “social distancing”. The term essentially refers to various individual and community behaviours adopted to try and slow the spread of the virus, think: staying at home where possible, avoiding crowds and crowded public spaces, only visiting the grocery store when you need to.
Part of the struggle when we’re faced with events like COVID-19 can be staying calm and maintaining a sense of groundedness. Some people turn to meditation, I’m turning to the comforting internet presence of Bon Appétit.
Since pivoting to WFH content, it’s clear the BA video team have completely given up maintaining the illusion that the reason we watch is for any ~actual cooking~. Like, they did a personality/pub quiz of matching editors to their quarantine isolation watch-lists after all. And the editor-centric content is only getting better.
The incredible (if isolated) Test Kitchen team have just announced they’ll be putting on a Test Kitchen Variety show (LIVE!!!) as a fundraiser for the World Central Kitchen’s COVID-19 response efforts. They’re a nonprofit that provides meals in the wake of natural disasters. In light of the pandemic, the organization is providing fresh meals to those in need and front-line healthcare workers, while also endeavouring to get restaurants back to work.
The variety show is set to feature cooking demos, game show style segments, tonnes of cameos from adorable pets and can be streamed on YouTube on May 2nd at 8 am for us folks Downunder. While we wait for the #quarantinecontent In the meantime, keep reading for some practical tips for iso-cooking, courtesy of the Bean Queen herself, Carla Lalli Music.
In a recent IG story, which is now handily pinned saved as a highlight on the BA profile, Carla Lalli Music treasured BA food editor of back-to-back chef and bean cooking fame answered some q’s about the best ways to prepare for potential isolation in our homes.
Here are some of her key takeaways and some recipe ideas:
Stock up on non-perishables, but don’t go overboard.
Instead of panicking and stockpiling things you are absolutely not going to eat, she suggests a sensible approach—it’s only going to be waste of $ and food if you hoard things you don’t usually actually eat. Is everyone in Australia suddenly a master baker, btw? Where the fuck did the flour go?
Having a small supply of pasta, grains, seeds, tinned fish, frozen veg and cellar vegetables (like potatoes and onions) is probably wise, but think of these as your backups, not your entire diet for the foreseeable future.
What to cook? Here are 34 tinned fish recipes, if you have the capacity and desire to go beyond the perfectly acceptable tuna salad sandwich.
Don’t ignore fresh produce! Avoid scurvy!
“Everyone is ignoring the fresh food right now, don’t ignore the produce!” says Music. She suggests bananas, green veg and herbs as items that can be easily sourced and cooked now, as well as frozen for later.
Fresh food supply is still moving and at this stage, it’s still possible to make small, sensible trips for produce. If you are venturing out, try to shop small and local. Support a market or smaller fruit n veggie shop, it helps out our community and also means you don’t have to enter a giant supermarket with tonnes of foot-traffic and also shitheads fighting people for toilet paper.
What to cook? As well as making them more delicious, Music says if you braise greens with enough oil, they keep for weeks in the fridge.
Befriend a bean
As well as being a gr8 source of protein, having tonnes of fibre and being very adaptable, beans and legumes (like chickpeas) are usually super inexpensive (especially when you buy them dry from a bulk food store) and keep nearly indefinitely.
Who knew the crossover between slightly more sustainable package-free shopping and doomsday prepping would serve me so well this year.
What to cook? Whether you’re making beans from scratch, follow this guide from Patch Troffer and then chuck em in any number of things: chilis, curries (I’m into chana masala), soups or on toast. BA editor Sarah Jampel also has nine more excellent suggestions for turning a can of beans into an Actual Dinner.
Music also mentioned in a Twitter thread that if you can, try to support local restaurants: “they’re getting hit very hard. Professional cooks are excellent practitioners of food safety all the time, and they’re especially trustworthy now.”
If you’re staying at home, I suggest reading up on taking care of your mental health and setting up a running playlist of your favourite Claire videos for some soothing background noise during this pandemic. And if you need more, have a look at our round up of easy cooking tips for absolute beginners.