COVID-19, Domestic Edition April 6, 2020 7:04 AM   Subscribe

Lately I've seen many a fine recipe, sewing pattern and/or general quarantine project idea gracing various COVID threads on the blue, green, and grey. I thought it would be nice to have someplace central to store and chat about that sort of thing. So, are you doing something amazing or hilarious or at least vaguely interesting with your home-bound time? Building something new, cooking or baking something awesome (or at least awesomely terrible?) Reading or watching something that makes you happy? Whatever you're doing with yourself to make your lockdown time a little less stressful, share it here.
posted by invincible summer to MetaFilter-Related at 7:04 AM (121 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite

Fall is coming where I'm bunkered, so I've planted some cool-weather vegetables in containers: short stubby carrots, Swiss chard, and potatoes.

The only soil that was available at the store is exactly the wrong kind for containers, but I didn't want to make the rounds of a lot of stores under the circumstances (and compost making is out of the question since I'm in a short-term rental).

Should I ever have some pics to share, they'll be on my Instagram, which is in my profile.
posted by Sheydem-tants at 7:11 AM on April 6, 2020 [3 favorites]

I've been hit with the furlough hammer, and I'm determined to be better at unemployment this time around than I was in 2008. So far my main lockdown activities involve baking and willing my apple watch exercise rings to close.

For the bread, I'm following this no-knead recipe, since it requires very little actual participation or knowledge on my part. I like a very salty bread, so I used a full tablespoon of salt, and the last time I made it, it came out delicious. Today I'm actually using a cast iron dutch oven for it (last time all I had was a random big pot with lid).

I've also got a bread machine, and will need to do some sandwich bread soon; we're about to run out of our Fiber One Classic White, and that's supper hard to find even in non-COVID times. So if anybody has any good recipes to replace it with, I'm ready and willing..
posted by invincible summer at 7:12 AM on April 6, 2020 [3 favorites]

Sheydem-tants, I've had a request to plant some things, too. Mostly things like red bell peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots - stuff we typically use in a stir-fry that doesn't seem too difficult to manage. But I am not really a gardener sooooooo. ::shrug-emoji:: We'll see how that goes...
posted by invincible summer at 7:35 AM on April 6, 2020 [1 favorite]

Gardening fever here too - I only have a balcony, but I've scouted a nearby outdoor plant stand where I can buy plants without hitting a big-box store (which have been such crowd magnets that in Poland they're now closed on weekends). I'm idly considering hitting a suburban outdoor garden centre too, maybe on Good Friday when everyone else will concentrate on food purchases.

I've made scones! Mary Berry recipe, last year's homemade strawberry jam, and while you can't get clotted cream here, turns out 18% sour cream left heaped in a plastic box in the fridge separates into whey and a good facsimile, spreadable like butter. Yum. I've also made bread in a pot, milk mantou, and currently plotting my very first attempt at challah. Easter is coming so probably cheesecake too...

I normally knit and crochet for calming purposes, but I've been yarn-free for weeks. Maybe because it's too mindless? Handsewing is more my style now, with more concentration needed, but I'm running out of my pile of mending. I've made three masks so far, too.
posted by I claim sanctuary at 8:12 AM on April 6, 2020 [4 favorites]

My pantry has always been full to bursting, through a combination of being a single diner whose roommates generally have plainer/simpler tastes and a habit of treating exotic ingredients like impulse purchases. So I have the remaining half a package of lamb chops from the stew I made last month in the freezer alongside the leftover chicken breast from the week before that, the Belgian pearl sugar fighting for space in my cupboard with the Chinese lump sugar, the three kinds of rice all crammed into the cabinet, the remnants of the pretty mixed lentils I saw last fall....I've been doing okay with limited grocery runs as a result, and being home actually gives me a chance to try the recipes that need someone lingering around the house all day to occasionally stir something.

That and the spring cleaning urge have sent me on a massive cook-all-the-things extravaganza. I did a vegetable inventory yesterday and found I had a big collection of root veg still hanging in from the winter CSA, and chopped them all up and roasted them with sage as a meal-prep thing. They can be heated up, served cold, tossed into a soup, whatever. I've also made 3 kinds of cake and two kinds of cookies and a bunch of curries. There's about 3/4 of a quiche in the fridge now leftover from last night that I'll be eating through over the week, and I'm making plans for a cassoulet this Sunday.

Have also suddenly got the urge to make over my bathroom. Fortunately I rent so that cuts back any REALLY ambitious plans; but I found that the company that makes those Command adhesive picture-hanging strips also makes stick-on shelving (best suited for smaller decorative things), so I'm going to get a few of those, re-organize the storage shelves and maybe get prettier containers, and hang a picture to cover over the weird spot on the wall where there's a pair of phone jacks just sitting there. (Yes, my bathroom has two phone jacks in it, right bang in the middle of the wall. I don't want to know why there's any phone jacks in there, much less two of them.) I'm also figuring out how to make a freestanding towel bar for my roommate; there's only one towel bar in the room, and I've tried several means over the years to create additional towel-hanging options; the wall isn't the most secure, though, so they keep falling down. I'm looking into ways to DIY something involving PVC pipe or something.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:27 AM on April 6, 2020 [2 favorites]

One drawback - I've been cooking so much that I actually have developed a blister on my right forefinger, right where my knife rests.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:28 AM on April 6, 2020 [5 favorites]

This is actually a great opportunity to tackle my fabric stash. I used to joke that I always had about 15 projects ready to go; in the last couple of years, it's been at least 45, if not 60. By the time this is over, I might be down to 15 again, might. I've already made a few masks (not part of the official stash, of course), and am currently making a nice plaid shirtdress and a duster thingy.
posted by Melismata at 8:39 AM on April 6, 2020 [3 favorites]

Video games and long walks. If I'm not working (and thankfully I'm lucky enough to work remote), I'm either playing video games or going for long walks. Diving headfirst into a really long ass game is so enjoyable, working through my backlog feels good. And going for long walks to clear my head and listen to a podcast. These are both keeping me sane.
posted by Fizz at 8:44 AM on April 6, 2020 [6 favorites]

I generally avoid cooking if I can, too many years of feeding a family. I made up a recipe last week though using just stuff on hand. Very easy.

Tuna patties:
Can of tuna, drained
Some boiled potatoes mashed, around a cup
Capers, a big spoonful
Seasoned breadcrumbs, salt & pepper.
Add anything else that seems reasonable.
Make into flattish patties, fry slowly in olive oil.

Without the breadcrumbs it's gluten free. Taste good hot, taste even better cold.

I've also been talking to people more on the phone instead of emailing or texting. Family and close friends.

I'm working remotely 5 mornings a week staffing online library reference desk chat. Pretty boring so far. Set up a desk by a window overlooking the street so have become the neighborhood old lady who sees all the coming and going. It's mostly people walking their dogs or their baby strollers, or both. An occasional delivery truck.

I go out and walk for an hour or so before logging in to work. I feel very very lucky to be in a quiet beautiful neighborhood where I can do that without running into many people at the crack of dawn.

Reading a lot of escapist trash, can't focus on anything serious except shortish articles. Tried making a post yesterday with an article by Arundhati Roy but it got deleted.
posted by mareli at 8:51 AM on April 6, 2020 [6 favorites]

I've been giving myself projects to distract myself. I was able to get to Home Depot before things got really bad and I've walled off half my basement. I want to separate the dirty, dusty shop from the rest of the basement so my wife and I can half part of the basement that is somewhat cleaner than the rest. So I framed and drywalled a wall and now my basement has two different rooms. I'm going to put a drop ceiling and new LED lighting on the clean side.

It's been a good distraction. It disrupted and shrunk my shop so I basically had to rearrange everything which took me a couple of weeks. The shop side is done so now I'm back to working on the clean side. I primed and painted yesterday and maybe this weekend I'll do the ceiling.

There are still some things I need to get at Home Depot so I may put on a mask and gloves and go at 6:00 AM one of these mornings.

Once done, I hope to start building models again. My kid and I began an HO train layout a couple of years ago but we had to abandon it because everything was always covered in dust. We dismantled it and I hope to start it up again on the clean side of the basement. A perfect hobby for social distancing.

And I'm still doing woodworking now that my shop is back in order.

Add to that yard work, working from home, and other projects and I'm keeping busy. I'm not keeping busy because I have ambition or want to be productive, it's just that if I don't then I'll sit and surf the web and read the news and I'll go absolutely batshit insane with everything.
posted by bondcliff at 8:51 AM on April 6, 2020 [8 favorites]

What are you playing, Fizz?

Right now my go-tos are:

Dragon Age (all three games - this will take quite a while)
Ori and the Will of the Wisp (super awesome)
and eventually finishing Witcher 3

But I'm always open to suggestions! We were hoping to get a Nintendo Switch and play Breath of the Wild, but apparently the Switch is sold out basically everywhere.
posted by invincible summer at 8:53 AM on April 6, 2020 [1 favorite]

I've improved my banjo playing skills more in the last three weeks than I have in the last three years. My husband achieves sainthood for being quarantined with a person learning to play the banjo.

I've baked 6 loaves of bread, but am going to cut back because we're still dealing with a flour and yeast shortage here. I'm going to keep my last two AP bags unopened for a real bread emergency. I've also been cleaning the house and I'm almost done piecing a small quilt made out of five pairs of jeans that were unwearable due to condition. I've made curtains for three rooms.

One bummer: I was turning my over-ripe mandarin oranges into marmalade and I accidentally dropped a jar into the hot water bath, splashing boiling water on my wrist. Then I panicked and hit the same wrist against the side of the kettle. I have a burn about 2 inches across on my right (dominant) wrist and it fucking hurts. It's been four days and I've finally said "ugh FINE" and logged into tele-medicine to see if I'm treating it properly. They have yet to get back to me so I'm hovering around the phone and computer. If these were Normal Times i would have gone to a minute clinic but I'd rather not join the respiratory issues sufferers for just a stupid burn.

I've got a TON of work to do in the yard and garden and am looking forward to digging into it. It's just barely spring here in MN so there's not a lot I can do yet. I received a grant from the state to turn my front yard into a pollinator paradise, so that'll be fun to plan and set up.
posted by Gray Duck at 8:56 AM on April 6, 2020 [8 favorites]

I put together a small facebook page for friends and acquaintances to post photos of what they're making for dinner (and hopefully recipes, but that's been a struggle), both as a place to show off, but also as a way to inspire each other, or help one another think of different things to try so we don't fall into a rut. If this was only going to be a one or two week thing, sure, no worries, but at some point, you end up going all the way through your playbook, and then what's next? I'm interested to see if we can end up getting enough people onboard that it becomes self-sustaining.

I'm hoping I can make it to a home center/garden shop some day before all the plants I was hoping to pick up (mostly just all the jalapeno plants they have) are gone/too far out of season. Jalapeno plants have somehow become just about the only thing I seem to unable to kill, and I'd hate to miss out on a years worth of them.
posted by Ghidorah at 9:07 AM on April 6, 2020 [2 favorites]

I'm doing lots of knitting (socks, socks, and more socks!), and trying to fit as much outdoor-time in as possible. We're still allowed to go outside for exercise once a day at the moment, so when the weather's nice I go walking along one of the less-used riverside trails near my house. I also bought myself a fancy garden chair just before this all started, so thankfully on nice days I get to sit outside and knit in the sunshine, which is my favourite thing in the world right now.
posted by Mauve at 9:17 AM on April 6, 2020 [1 favorite]

I also ended up watching The Outsider (HBO series) recently, and found it to be Good. Which surprised me, as I'm used to the long-standing tradition of Stephen King adaptations being generally awful. Not that there aren't exceptions (The Shining (OG version), Haven) but by and large...

I'm trying now to get into Mr. Mercedes, since it has three seasons, but we're on episode 2 and it's kind of a slog.

My attention span is kind of crap right now, what with one thing and another. I keep trying to mentally do my job in my spare time, only I've been temporarily disinvited from doing my job, sooo... I've got some fan-writing projects that have been back-burnered for a while that I'd love to complete, but see above re: attention span.
posted by invincible summer at 9:22 AM on April 6, 2020

Forgot a couple of critical ingredients in recipe above: lemon zest and lemon juice.
posted by mareli at 9:23 AM on April 6, 2020

Thanks for the prompt!

I've been working a lot more in my community garden plot, which is right across the street from my apartment. I've pulled a bunch of weeds; sown radish seeds, which have produced cute little microgreens after a week; and started replacing the wire fencing with plastic (less rusty, less likely to snag my skin with sharp points). Yesterday, as I was working on the fencing, the nearby bee hive became a swarm. It was amazing to watch and hear (*so* much buzzing!), and I didn't get stung, which seems miraculous. I contacted the local beekeepers, who came very quickly and boxed up the new hive for relocation to another community garden a mile away. The tulips I planted last fall are coming up and make me very happy.

I've also been foraging for edible plants since there are so many here in springtime. Last week, I gathered purple deadnettle, dandelion greens, field garlic, cleavers, and garlic mustard, then made mineral rich vinegar and garlic mustard pesto. I also gathered violets and made tisane (it's a beautiful bright blue) and flower ice cubes.

I also put a bunch of mandarin orange peels in white vinegar for eventually refilling my household cleaning spray, and made lactofermented cucumbers.

Tonight I'm participating in a t4t letter writing effort to people who are incarcerated, and have signed up for lots of the Camp Beotis virtual events put on by a bunch of awesome writers. On the weekends, I've been participating in Choir! Choir! Choir!'s virtual sing-a-longs (if you're interested, check their social media for times).

I've also continued my daily meditation with Ten Percent Happier, which offers a free coronavirus sanity guide, and is also offering free access to healthcare workers.

May we all be happy. May we all be safe. May we all be healthy. May we all live with ease.
posted by wicked_sassy at 9:28 AM on April 6, 2020 [9 favorites]

When I was a kid I used to bake a lot of bread. For whatever reason decent sandwich bread is scarce in my neck of the woods- both in person and online, and sometimes the fancy breads that the delivery people want to substitute are just chock full of milk powder like the ones at my local grocery. So I'm making a ton of bread. Got a nice big bowl of no-knead bubbling away on my counter right now- won't be time to bake it til later. (I cannot thank Tavella enough for the yeast- Flour I can occasionally get, but it's like all yeast has vanished into the yeast dimension.) I'm cooking a lot in generally, making pickles, roasting peppers, making bread and tortillas... Everything I make is one less thing we have to buy, one less trip outside, so I've been going crazy cooking when I'm not playing AC or gardening.

And as you can imagine- I'm doing a fuckton of gardening. Dad's boredom translated into him fixing my busted up string trimmer- so I finally got around to whacking those weeds. Of course in the process I managed to break apart a big blue cracked pot but hey- gotta break a few eggs? I finally discovered the source of the fungus gnat issue plaguing my houseplants and dusted enough diatomaceous earth on my starfish sansevieria that it looked like a coke fiend. Then I actually did the things to treat the problem. I separated and planted one of my Aloe's pups. Since then I took another of my aloe's babies out, but I'm less confident of the second pup's viability. And thanks to my wonderful boss delivering a couple can's of ladybugs when this all started- they had to turn the fridge off at work- I had a ladybug release party. And I've clearly done something right because the little ladies are sticking around. The biggest and most backbreaking work was finally putting together the new raised metal bed, which for a few reasons including a rain delay took three days. Of course at this point all those early tomatoes I had bought like a fool in February are getting kinda big. In retrospect buying them when I did was most likely a smart move- but still. I had to pot my largest specimen as I was unsure if it would continue living in a mere gallon pot. Before this weekend's rain it was just pretty and sunny in my neck of the woods, and the bugs came out to play. I managed to take a great picture of a dragonfly, they've been buzzing around when it's sunny. I did actually start tomatoes from seed like a normal person this year, in the before times of January. It was time to put the survivors in larger 4 inch pots. I had big plans this year for these guys but I'm not sure what's gonna happen now. In anticipation of being home a while, I'm starting quite a bit from seed this month that I would otherwise buy. Of course that means quite a bit I'd start now is a ways off- I just want to put in my first squashes! Then- a miracle- my coworker who's still at work texts me that the veggie starts are in. SF says that garden centers that focus on edibles are essential- which is ironic since that's my area of expertise but I can't work because of my parent's risk. And so- my beloved Squash Angel comes to the rescue- and I get 4 baby squash plants for April planting. I also finally get the sun herb bed fixed, just in time for the deluge. Which is a problem for the tomato- but I have a whole host of large umbrella based solutions for that! (it's one solution that involves putting an umbrella over the tomato cage and I apologize for nothing.)

I'm trying to read more too but It's really hard to focus- turns out I got most of my reading done on my commute. Frimble fixed the book search function on fanfare so maybe I'll spool up the non-fiction club again to spur me to read more. Please everyone stay safe out there.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 9:30 AM on April 6, 2020 [6 favorites]

The first week of our quarantine here in OR was gorgeous - blue skies, highs in the 60s - and the DingoWife and I spent as much time out in our yard as possible (including a lovely St. Patrick's Day with green wine). We're in a new-to-us home with raised gardening areas that clearly have been neglected for quite some time, and I had grand designs for weeding and tilling and just getting everything nice and ready to plant. Unfortunately I didn't do so that first week and these past two weeks have been wet and chilly, so other than mowing the lawn I've not done anything with the yard. Just took a look at the weather for the week, though, and it looks like warmer, drier times might return so I'm excited about that!

In the meantime, work is slowly ramping back up (I work in public schools and the expectation is that distance learning will start next Monday); I had a few conference calls last week and IEP meetings are being scheduled as normal, albeit remotely. When not working or staring wistfully through rain-streaked windows at my garden, I've been playing Zelda BOTW and Skyrim and absolutely LOVING having long stretches of time to play without worrying about staying up too late and being tired at work the next day.

Oh, also our dog is delighted to have both her moms home all the time and has adapted to our new schedule quite readily. She is quarantining like a champ!
posted by DingoMutt at 10:07 AM on April 6, 2020 [4 favorites]

Some things going on in this household:

Lots of cooking. Every day brings new dishes depending on what is in the pantry. Today featured a Spanish tortilla that we ate cold throughout the day. Tomorrow maybe an empanada gallega, to keep the Spanish theme going.

I practice my jazz piano and find I am concentrating a lot more now with fewer distractions (e.g. friends asking me to go out for a drink)

I have an online Dutch class. We meet twice a week for 1.5 hours each session. Its me and a few other people. Lots of Dutch homework too to keep me busy all week.

I've always been into opera and try to catch a performance now that there is so much stuff online. We really don't watch much TV or Film. We do play boardgames. Right now we do love to play Paperback which is both a word game and a card game. Cryptic crosswords are also a favorite here and we both are heavy Libby users, borrowing books from US libraries where family members have loaned us their library cards...

We have a workout schedule too - every morning starts with an indoor pre-breakfast run. And we are lucky to have a sunny deck here in Amsterdam where we've just installed a hammock. Many of our neighbors are good musicians - a pianist, an opera singer, several guitarists - and so there is usually a serenade too for all of us on our back decks. And there's time for Art, doodling, writing, working on some personal projects and of course work itself - we both work from home.
posted by vacapinta at 10:13 AM on April 6, 2020 [3 favorites]

I am 3d printing eggdog models, making chiptune rigs and finally building those retrocomputers (PDP-8 and 1802; not emulated, either) I've had in bits for years.
posted by scruss at 10:31 AM on April 6, 2020 [3 favorites]

I'm drawing and painting postcards with watercolor pencils and ink and sending them to any of my friends who ask. If you are interested in one, just send me your address. When you'll get it and what it will be of, I don't know, but I expect I'll have time to do it--
posted by Countess Elena at 10:38 AM on April 6, 2020 [4 favorites]

Oh, and I made up a yeast starter. It goes through phases of smelling so bad that I have to air out the kitchen and smelling perfectly lovely, but we'll see.

My baking is hampered by a lack of counterspace for kneading and rolling. I have been using a foil-covered pan and a plastic-wrap-covered can in the meantime, but considering the length of this thing, I may have to see about one of those sink covers they make for this situation. And an actual rolling pin, or at least a big coffee can. I have been making my own crackers, and they are really nice if they're thin enough, but if they're too thick you just can't chew them.
posted by Countess Elena at 10:43 AM on April 6, 2020 [1 favorite]

I've been doing a lot of coloring. I need to take a break because I'm getting tendinitis in my thumb. Right now, there's a loaf of apple oat bread baking in the oven. The house smells wonderful. Last week, we went through the freezer and took out all the sketchy looking stuff to cook then freeze. I made two different pots of stew last week plus a pot of chicken noodle soup. I'm planning on baking cinnamon rolls from scratch later this week, but I did a pretty good job of improvising a batch with frozen bread dough, brown sugar, chai spice and golden raisins. I cleaned my room top to bottom and I really need to tackle my closet. After my bread comes out of the oven, I'm going to start on one of the embroidery kits I bought a few weeks ago.

I binge watched Interrogation. Now I'm working on Madam Secretary.
posted by kathrynm at 11:15 AM on April 6, 2020 [1 favorite]

I put on Sweatin' to the Oldies II to show my kid as a joke, and we ended up doing the workout together. It was so good. Richard Simmons is so positive, there are many different types of bodies and possibly genders, and the exercise was as good as any other thing along those lines. He is the Bob Ross of low-impact aerobics. Highly recommended (except that I've had "come on, come on, do the Locomotion with me" in my head since yesterday).
posted by The corpse in the library at 11:25 AM on April 6, 2020 [15 favorites]

I've been extraordinarily fortunate with how the quarantine has gone for me. I'm a typical young tech worker renting a townhouse with three other housemates. Our usual routine before the shelter-in-place was to go to work, get meals there, and veg out in our rooms. Now our routine is to work in our rooms, make dinner together, and play board games or watch something together. I've developed a closer friendship with my housemates in the past weeks than I have with almost anyone else in the few years I've been here. I believe that we'll still be friends 30 or 40 years from now, because we got through the quarantine together, and nothing can take that away from us.
posted by J.K. Seazer at 11:35 AM on April 6, 2020 [17 favorites]

I was already fully remote and not terribly social, so the New Normal is Old Normal, But Make Groceries Scarce And Errands Take 3x As Long And Also Have Crushing Anxiety All The Time Instead Of Just Sometimes.

It's gardening season in Los Angeles, in theory. We appear to be having a rebroadcast of winter, complete with shitting-down rain and mud everywhere and unpleasantly damp and cold out. I have been trying to get the garden going but was late starting and now that means I'm running guiltily/carefully to hardware and garden stores every weekend and then having to decontaminate myself when I get home and by that point I'm too exhausted to accomplish much. I'm determined to over-grow this year, though, just in case.

I'm carefully tending my sourdough starter. We don't eat bread, but I guess for the moment we do. Next week we will, anyway.
posted by Lyn Never at 12:07 PM on April 6, 2020 [3 favorites]

I've been doing a lot of knitting, reading, teaching myself the ukulele (I have mastered "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life"!), and working on a music collaboration with a fellow musician friend to record re-interpreted covers in hopes of creating a mini-album of what we're calling coronamusic. It's been a lot of fun having this creative outlet and getting some social interaction (with proper social distancing) with a good friend and since both of us are out of work and also not going to get any gigs anytime soon we thought we'd try to make something concrete as a reminder of this particular crazy time in our lives. I posted one of the tracks on Mefi Music and will post more as we go.

Also, lots of long walks with the dog. I miss the gym. :/
posted by nayantara at 12:46 PM on April 6, 2020 [3 favorites]

Okay - if Pinterest will let me share this, y'all can see some of the ideas I've been pondering for the bathroom. Curious to hear thoughts.

The existing bathroom is big for New York, but still not huge - it's smack bang in the middle of a brownstone floorthrough, so there's no window in it. There's a ventilation fan that helps. It's blue and white; the tub is at the far wall opposite the door, and there are doors so I don't need a curtain. The doors have swans etched into them that are a tiny bit tacky but I've not been bothered. The sink, toilet, and a small floor-to-ceiling cabinet are along one wall, with an ENORMOUS mirror running the whole length of that wall. I can't hang anything directly over the toilet because there's mirror there, but it's great to have that much mirror space. And the cabinet is more than enough room for storage of towels and toilet paper and such. There's no door on it, though, so all I was thinking of doing was getting some slightly more attractive boxes or baskets for storage on and within the shelves. The other wall...has nothing, save for a single towel bar and two phone jacks. There are currently two Command hooks that I put up so my roommate can hang his own towel and robe.

It's functional, but....boring. I found a freestanding towel rack I'll be getting for hanging towels, but other than that most of what I want to do is more decorative. Definitely one picture to hang up and cover over those phone jacks...but maybe I should get two? There's room on the wall for it, and I can't put anything else on that wall or else it'd run into the path of the door. There are sticky shelves I can mount higher up for some lightweight storage and decorative objects to give things some personality (that's why you may see so many fake plants). I'm also thinking of picking up a wire basket and then raiding the pile of holey jeans I have in the rag bin to maybe make some kind of a woven fabric storage thing.

...I've also started eyeing my kitchen when that's over. Right now I've just come up with a way to give the walls around the stove a really good clean (borax can do that! Who knew?), but I also have spotted some fun art prints about herbs that may be fun....

Thank goodness I rent, otherwise I'd be coming up with grand plans to rip up carpeting and lay down tile and invest way more money than I should.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:57 PM on April 6, 2020 [1 favorite]

Grumpybearbride has done an amazing stencil job on a set of cinderblocks that we are using for a raised planter bed in our backyard patio. The existing cinderblock wall, previously a gloomy grey, is now a nice terra cotta orange. The planter looks, by all accounts, fantastic.

I, on the other hand, have been hammering away at an app to make Zoom trivia easy by creating a [redacted until launch date for IP reasons.]
posted by grumpybear69 at 2:29 PM on April 6, 2020 [2 favorites]

My goal, as yet unrealized (and barely conceived, to be honest), is to install Linux on an old laptop. I haven’t gotten past the research of the verbiage (distro, ISO) that is presumably straightforward for anyone with an iota of computer savvy but has been challenging for me. I’m weighing the respective merits of Ubuntu and Linux Mint like I know what the hell I’m talking about. It’s kind of fun and hopefully it’ll be easy enough once I screw up the courage to figure out the download and installation process.

We gardened for hours yesterday and the yard looks very nice.
posted by cheapskatebay at 2:56 PM on April 6, 2020 [1 favorite]

As part of my mystery project, I set up a git server on a VPS I rented and boy howdy is it super useful to be able to push code from home to my VPS by literally just doing a git push. Who needs GitHub? These are the instructions I followed.
posted by grumpybear69 at 2:58 PM on April 6, 2020

I did a lot of reading last weekend, but my ongoing project is to rip & upload the several dozen jazz & classical cds I inherited from my dad when he died a few years ago.
posted by suelac at 3:08 PM on April 6, 2020 [1 favorite]

Working from home and staying socially distant has been pretty easy for me, thankfully. I still play Overwatch (or TF2 again!) or Jackbox with my friends at night, or do happy hour with work friends/my ceramics class. I have been trying to go outside and get fresh air - just an hour stroll along the local trail is enough to get by. Been using the Seek app from iNaturalist to "catch" plants and insects on the way, which scratches my collecting itch while it teaches me stuff too! In addition to sewing masks for myself and friends (after trying out a few different patterns), I have mostly been reading a lot, and writing a "Life in the time of Corona" diary on my long defunct blog.

What has been awesome has been sorting through old photos! I have like five years of phone pictures strewn into various folders on my desktop. There are SO MANY and so many duplicates, and it had been weighing on me a lot. Using DupeGuru, I've finally been able to winnow it down to folders by year, deleting thousands of doubles and bad versions of the same shot. This time has been so useful. Not quite done yet, but getting there! Such a sense of accomplishment; it's great.
posted by gemmy at 4:28 PM on April 6, 2020 [1 favorite]

i'm currently being department chair from home--thanks to an emergency, the timeframe for taking over went from "next September" to "well, actually, June" to "right before spring break"--which requires spending a lot of time in the immediate vicinity of my computer. Like a lot of people, I've been kind of stunned and out of it for a bit, and I'm starting to get back into the (overdue) article I need to write.

Oh, yes. Um. Fun? I've just got a bag of brown sugar in the mail, so I intend to do a fair amount of baking tomorrow (brownies and chocolate chip cookies, I think). Having fortunately figured out how to get NetHack to run on a Mac, I periodically drift off to cast spells and whack monsters with my stick. And I managed to get all my dollhouse-making bits and bobs out of storage, so I think I'll finally settle down to tackle a kit I've had for a couple of years.

Also books, but I'd be doing that anyway. Currently making my way through The Mirror and the Light, like a lot of other people.
posted by thomas j wise at 4:48 PM on April 6, 2020 [1 favorite]

I am part of a circle of friends who all follow the same football team (the Sydney Swans). In lieu of an actual football season, I'm running a tipping comp for us for the 2005 season, date to equivalent date, where the first rule is no cheating and looking up the results. It's incredibly silly and just what we need of a sport-free weekend.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 5:21 PM on April 6, 2020 [2 favorites]

I went kinda apeshit with the baking for a week and a half. Then my attempted sourdough starter died and I decided not to try again until I work down the collected sourdough discard in the fridge, because there's a lot of it now. I figure before the end of the week I'll be baking again. In the meanwhile, since giving food to neighbors might backfire, we'll be working our way through the bread and waffles and English muffins in the freezer.
posted by ardgedee at 5:36 PM on April 6, 2020 [1 favorite]

Update: It turns out it’s very easy to install Linux and it’s, like, 4 times faster than trying to run the old laptop with Windows. Neat!
posted by cheapskatebay at 5:44 PM on April 6, 2020 [4 favorites]

Linux Rulez, Windoze Drools! Welcome to the darkside cheapskatebay.

I used the free month of CBS All Access to binge watch the Star Trek series' Picard and Discovery. And have been collecting a few PDFs here and there from the ACM because I don't already have enough PDFs of overly technical papers clogging up my disk space.

Suffering through allergies which makes everything horrible on its own. Doing a bit of spring cleaning. Being a long-time hermit type, otherwise it's life as normal without the occasional crave for a certain hamburger satisfaction ability.

It's sorta nice that now even through the daytime hours it's as calm and quiet as it is during the 2-5 a.m. hours.
posted by zengargoyle at 6:10 PM on April 6, 2020 [2 favorites]

zengargoyle - we're also going through Picard now! Ep 4. I love it so far. :D. We finished Discovery a while back, too.

My allergies are driving me nuts right now. I'm trying to commit myself to walking the dog more, now that I'm on enforced vacation, but I go out, my nose starts to run, my throat feels scratchy, and my brain turns to thoughts of COVID. Plus, there are other people out there, and they are clearly disease-ridden (even the skinny, smiley ones running super fast). This whole pandemic situation is like my social anxiety and my health anxiety hooked up and had a terrible, terrible baby.

Today, though, on the way home, I stopped and took a picture of this lovely lavender slipper of some tiny, unknown Cinderella.

So that was kind of awesome.
posted by invincible summer at 6:21 PM on April 6, 2020 [5 favorites]

I'm fixing up the basement, mainly so it can be used by my teenage boys as a quiet place to go when they need to do video calls for school. Online learning starts next week, after our spring break is over. Since I'm not leaving the house, I'm painting it using odds and ends of paint left over from various old projects. It turns out I really like a metatalk-gray type shade. I have like four cans of that from different manufacturers.
posted by selfmedicating at 6:25 PM on April 6, 2020 [5 favorites]

I've been doing my usual knitting and spinning and weaving, just an awful lot more of it. Especially as I'm furloughed this week, it's been a good way to keep off of the rabbit-hole of going from social media to social media. Tomorrow is mask-making, I think.
I'm doing a weekly bread bake which seems to be doing me well, and started a sourdough along with half the world. His name is Oswald. (He is of the male gender.) This morning I made pancakes with some of Oswald's discard and they were extraordinary; I have enough batter for easily the rest of the week. (Currently it lives in my fridge and I'm hoping that if I take it out when I get up in the morning, it'll wake up enough for pancakes for lunch!) I've already had an ongoing kombucha, so that's still humming along nicely, and with the cats and the houseplants and me, my apartment feels very full of life.
(I also had great fun showing my scoby off to friends over the weekend, and it occurs to me that I should maybe name her. Ideas are welcomed; Oswald was named by an old friend.)
I am glad I'm able to read again, and make things. The world is waking up a bit here in Seattle, with spring finally showing up, and I'm glad I can be sweet and slow and take time for whatever emotions I need to have.
posted by kalimac at 6:26 PM on April 6, 2020 [3 favorites]

emerging from our apartments, horse shoes were pitched, when to till the garden discussed and I stated a small bonfire. Hit golfballs off my deck, cleaned and oiled the drones. started to read ' The worst hard time' by Timothy Eagan. yeah. when the library closed, watched all movies I was stuck with except 'Contagion' and 'Stan and Ollie'. saving the latter as I don't have cable. The complete series 'West Wing' is justing staring at the DVD player.
posted by clavdivs at 6:47 PM on April 6, 2020

I haven't been tremendously ambitious in isolation, but I got a new refurbed laptop to replace my 12-year old desktop and I've started working my way through a web development 'bootcamp' course on Udemy. And this weekend I baked some really good brownies that I don't have to share.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 7:15 PM on April 6, 2020 [2 favorites]

i have finally allowed my hideous flesh prison to fall into its natural sleep-wake cycle of living on an alien planet with 30h days and i am THRIVING

only flaw is that it has been monday for 3 days due to 2 naps taken in nighttime darkness 14h apart
posted by poffin boffin at 9:16 PM on April 6, 2020 [13 favorites]

OH it is tuesday what a good

anyway time to make the ratatouille from ratatouille except without a live rodent's assistance
posted by poffin boffin at 9:16 PM on April 6, 2020 [4 favorites]

Learning some challenging (for me) ragtime tunes on the guitar. I’m not even particularly fond of listening to ragtime but working on these pieces scratches some kind of anxiety-related itch. I find it hard right now to be inspired in a way that allows for the arranging or singing or improvising I usually do but just buckling down and working on technique is possible and passes the time. I just hope it would stop raining so I could play outside again.
posted by The Toad at 10:03 PM on April 6, 2020

I got fed up with my growing-out bleached hair and dyed the whole thing a lovely shade of lavender. The odds of me having to look professional in front of any official or legislative body before it grows or fades out are vanishingly small at this point. The state legislature is pushing their recess later and later, and then only dealing with budget stuff, and so who knows when I'll need to be dealing with them again. So lavender it is! I may yet figure out how to get my hands on some clippers and trim up the back of my head.

I spend my days alternatively on zoom and conference calls, or procrastinating on other work stuff, or reading news and social media. I'm not very productive anymore. I spend my evenings talking to the cats and drinking, or on zoom connections with various groups of friends. My latest TV binge is The Repair Shop, which suits all of my British competence porn TV needs. I'm grieving and missing rtha in new and different ways, which I didn't really think was possible, but grief is endlessly surprising. My sister has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer and is in chemo now, which is just a hell of a fucking time to be needing to access health care services. Plus for her and me both all the echoes of rtha's cancer process.

I'm taking online pilates classes to keep moving and going for the occasional careful walk. There's enough room in my backyard to hang out with my friends downstairs and maintain an appropriate distance (one is home from her health care work with a suspected case of covid19) and it's good to have that amount of connection with friends. I've got a mask from one mefite, and yeast from another. I've shared out my N95 masks, purchased for wildfire smoke, to various people in need. I have not yet been hit with the baking thing, but I will be soon. I've been alternating cooking at home with ordering out from various restaurants to keep them in business. One of my sources of enjoyment is a Sunday online tea dance, benefiting the local queer nightlife support fund. . I am definitely enjoying the ability to order cocktails for delivery and am hoping that survives the return to live post-covid. Whenever that is.
posted by gingerbeer at 10:49 PM on April 6, 2020 [9 favorites]

I have been stress-baking and cooking up a storm (both are hobbies for me even when there's not a pandemic) but I'm apprehensive about going through our flour too quickly so I'll probably slow down on the desserts.

Our oven isn't working so tonight I scaled down a banana cake recipe by two-thirds so I could bake it in 6-inch cake layers in our toaster oven. I'm excited to ice it tomorrow!

I've also made quick pickled apples, a blackberry shrub/drinking vinegar, candied jalapeños, chipotle pickled garlic, and some other odds and ends lately. Canning and pickling doesn't use up my baking supplies!

One of my strategies for dealing with running out of certain ingredients when we can't necessarily get more is to have a more DIY option on hand as a backup (something that won't go to waste). For example - if we run out of tortillas, I have masa to make more. The 00 flour I use in pizza crust can be used for pasta if we run out of that. Pasta can be served with pretty basic seasonings and such if we run out of tomato sauce. I can make oat milk, mustard, crackers.. I'm really counting on our freezer to keep us stocked with proteins and produce though!
posted by cp311 at 11:33 PM on April 6, 2020 [3 favorites]

Definitely gardening. Turns out you can buy seedlings online for delivery, so I ordered about $200 worth. The front garden got most of them (shrubs and groundcover to fill out existing beds I started planting a few months back). I've sown seeds into the leftover seedling pots - spinach, chives, bok choy, silverbeet, and some flowers - in the hope that by the time they are ready for the ground the pumpkin which has currently monstered the vege patch will have died back. I've never had good luck with seeds, but I think that's because I usually neglect them too much. Now I walk past them multiple times per day and will pat them and tell them they are beautiful. Maybe even water them too.
posted by lollusc at 11:48 PM on April 6, 2020 [1 favorite]

I've also made quick pickled apples,

What do you do with pickled apples, cp311?
posted by lollusc at 11:49 PM on April 6, 2020

Oh, I made those brownies too, sevenyearlurk. But my husband ate the entire pan full in a single evening, except for two small pieces which I ate. (Usually it's the other way around). And then he lay awake groaning all night saying his stomach hurt, and now he thinks he's allergic to brownies, rather than just suffering from extreme greediness.
posted by lollusc at 11:52 PM on April 6, 2020 [9 favorites]

lollusc; that means all future brownies are yours; with no sharing necessary!
posted by mightshould at 4:07 AM on April 7, 2020 [2 favorites]

My garden is now weed-free, which is a major accomplishment since weeds grow year-round hereabouts. My yard is almost back in order from the aftermath of hurricane Florence; the plants that needed relocating are seeming satisfied with their new locations. Fencing is still down because felled trees are still awaiting someone with a chainsaw to do the work. I'm lucky because people still have blue tarp roofs left from hurricanes Florence and Michael.

My wee Japanese Maple has gorgeous red leves sprouting and the bargain pomegranate shrub I divided into two plants have both put on a good crop of Spring leaves.

Being outside is the only thing that keeps me alive and I don't know how folks living in apartment blocks in larger cities survive. I'm proud of y'all finding a way to create a new world within your surrounds.
posted by mightshould at 4:22 AM on April 7, 2020 [2 favorites]

We have had a development in my apartment that could have a major impact upon the apartment Corona Coping -

My roommate revealed to me last night that he owns copies of both of Anthony Bourdain's cookbooks.

There is a recipe for a pasta sauce involving wild boar and there are recipes for bluefish (Tony cut his chef's teeth in Cape Cod and became a big fan of bluefish, and long argued that it should be the fish that's the Next Big Thing but admitted that it was too fiddly to handle properly in a restaurant situation). I saw wild boar at Wegman's last time I was there 3 weeks ago, and I have bluefish filets in my freezer now (I grew up visiting Cape Cod a lot and always went fishing for bluefish and eating them that same day and love it, and a friend fishes off his kayak and he has a standing order to share extras with me).

Anthony Bourdain is now our apartment's official Patron Saint Of Protection Against Coronavirus Cabin Fever, amen.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:33 AM on April 7, 2020 [2 favorites]

I'm making my lockdown time **more** stressful by trying to learn how to do automated object tracking on a linux machine with an external GPU. I've already managed to get a black screen, been unable to login, lost the gui, aaargh. Right now the system is sort of stable, but I'm terrified to even look at it sidewise.
posted by dhruva at 6:22 AM on April 7, 2020 [2 favorites]

I haven't had any time at all to do lockdown-related domestic things, which I'm kind of bummed about. As a crafty introvert, I feel like this is really my time to shine, and I resent the fact that life has conspired to keep me from fulfilling my destiny. But things seem to be calming down a little (knock wood), so I'm thinking about trying to sew some masks. I'm thinking that I might try to do an online order from my local knitting/ fabric store, because I'm looking for ways to support them anyway.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 6:27 AM on April 7, 2020 [6 favorites]

lollusc: So far I've just snacked on them but I think they would be really tasty in a salad, or with cheese. I used this recipe, which includes some other suggestions both in the recipe notes and in the comments. I also tried someone's suggestion from the comments to mix the brine with gin - very tasty indeed!
posted by cp311 at 6:41 AM on April 7, 2020 [2 favorites]

lollusc, thank you for that recipe—and concept (it's new to me). That would be amazing on pulled-pork tacos.
posted by heyho at 7:04 AM on April 7, 2020 [1 favorite]

Apart from cooking a lot (the latest: a Spanish tortilla with chorizo, potato and onion) and doing some shopping for my parents, a big project I finished recently was to install a new home security system—at least interior anyway. Outdoor lights and cameras are next.

And judging from the sounds coming from the toilet down the hall, I'll probably be replacing a flapper valve in the next few days.
posted by emelenjr at 7:40 AM on April 7, 2020

I've been cooking more and eating less, not sure how that works. Roommate is unable to keep up with the dishes, that's how much cooking I've done. Nothing exciting, just more from scratch and less frozen meals. I wish we had a big freezer.

As usual for me I've started a bunch of creative projects and not gotten very far on any of them, my ADD is strong and healthy at least. I've started two necklaces, 3 writing projects, pulled out the quilt I started 15 years ago, completed six masks and cut fabric for a bunch more. Then I burned myself on the iron.

Like others I am considering getting some clippers and taking off all my hair, now that the baldness is too much to cover with a combover I'm curious how it will look to have just allover fuzziness. Feels safer to do it while I'm not going out in the world, though coworkers will see it in meetings. That's ok, the locals at least have seen my bald head already.
posted by buildmyworld at 8:16 AM on April 7, 2020 [3 favorites]

I've been baking (as one might figure from the baking FPP), with a few French-style loaves from previously acquired yeast and a couple dozen bagels down. My tiny sourdough starter isn't quite ready for baking yet, though, and now I'm out of bread flour.

Since I now have even more time at home than planned (for … reasons), and since there was a deal at Safeway, today I'm not baking anything but I am smoking a pork butt.
posted by fedward at 9:48 AM on April 7, 2020 [2 favorites]

Careful, fedward, smoking is bad for you.

(I'm going to be doing some smoking this weekend.)

Today is a video game day, I think. I'm hooked up to an IV right now with a nurse downstairs who has Been Places and Seen People, what with that being her job and all, so I'm trying to keep my stress down and not think about it. She's masked up, and went right back up to her car after the needle bits, and we'll wipe everything down after. But man, other people are a fraught thing right now.
posted by invincible summer at 12:09 PM on April 7, 2020 [3 favorites]

Welcome to the dark side poffin boffin. 28 hour days gets you a 6 day week instead of a 7 day week. Escape the oppression of the 24 hour day 7 day week 8 hour sleep 9-5 that the hegemony tries to impose. When hungry, eat. When tired sleep. Have you finished your meal? Wash your bowl.
posted by zengargoyle at 1:00 PM on April 7, 2020 [3 favorites]

smoking is bad for you

For the frequency with which I eat smoked meats (maybe five times a year), I’m just going to accept the cancer risk. Delicious, delicious cancer.
posted by fedward at 1:44 PM on April 7, 2020 [1 favorite]

I'm in the smoking club. I smoked some Italian sausage and andouille from the local butcher last weekend. It came out great! I probably won't need to order smoked andouille from Cajun Grocer anymore, which is both a plus and a minus, since I won't be able to impulse-buy Zapp's potato chips along with my meat order.

The most apocalyptic thing I've done so far is harvest chives from a vacant lot nearby. It was an unusual feeling to have an abundance of chives. I love them and I do have some patches of my own in my yard, but only enough for garnishing, normally. It was a satisfying experience to have enough to pack a blender and then more besides --- now I have something close to 750mL of chive oil in the fridge, hmmm.

I made Coq au Vin and it was quite good but maybe not worth the effort. Although really, what else am I doing with my time? I've got tons of cooking plans in the hopper, but garlic is my rate-limiter. Can't be had for love or money around here. I ordered some pre-minced and some very price-gougey bulbs online, but I don't hold out much hope that they will arrive.
posted by slenderloris at 1:56 PM on April 7, 2020 [3 favorites]

I am super happy we chose the apartment with the view when we moved last fall. I’ve got a view of grass, budding trees and a big creek with all kinds of waterfowl to enjoy from my office window. The herons are my favorite. Lately I’ve been noticing seagulls coming to fish in the creek, which I haven’t seen before. Normally they hang around in parking lots looking for fast food scraps, but the pickings must be slim right now. We went through Portillos’ drive-through yesterday for burgers, and I got an extra order of fries to throw to the gulls in the lot as we drove by. Seemed to make their day.

I finally managed to do a painting for the first time in forever a few days ago. I’ve had trouble getting inspired and also focusing, with no motivation to do anything the least bit challenging. I finally followed a tutorial for abstract flowers because the teacher stated that even paint “blobs” read as flowers if you add leaves, and I thought that sounded about my speed right now. Painting came out pretty ok, I was just super happy to have done something creative. Now I'm trying to work up the gumption to do another one.

I’ve been cooking simple meals, mostly, since we’ve been home. Now that there is a little more time in each day I find I don’t hate cooking quite so much. I did make a really delicious shrimp vegetable pasta dish last week that was a little more effort than I usually make, and that is one dish that needs to happen more often. I was going for something similar to the Shrimp Fra Diavolo that Olive Garden used to make, but mine was WAY better.

For tonight, I’ve got 15 Bean Soup in the crock pot and I made sour cream cucumbers to go with. In a few minutes I’m going to go make this beer bread which looks simple enough for even my limited baking skills. I hope it’s as good as the “Larry the Cable Guy” box mix I got at the Dollar Store that one time.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 3:16 PM on April 7, 2020 [2 favorites]

Reader, the pulled pork was delicious.
posted by fedward at 7:14 PM on April 7, 2020 [9 favorites]

I grew up in the country where it was normal to have a pantry with a lot of stuff in it. It was kind of a joke in our house that my mother had things in her cabinet that were older than we were. Now I have a country kitchen of sorts which has a decent amount of staples and herbs/spices, and I've been super fortunate that there are still places to shop and get local stuff. I'm not much of a foodie, I'll eat the same tuna sandwiches until I run out of tuna and most days' lunch is peanut butter on an english muffin, but I do enjoy cooking just as a thing to pass the time and heck I have to eat anyhow.

I spend some time on social media looking at other people's foods especially lately. So when I saw Lyn Never's tweet about some great soup I was like "Oh hey that sounds like ingredients I have...." (except an onion, which I traded an AV cable with a neighbor for) So tonight I absolutely trashed my kitchen making this sweet potato peanut stew (vegan and GF if that appeals) and it just pleased me that 1) it was delicious and 2) I could make the entire thing with things I already had in my house. This is after finally ditching those ancient bananas in my freezer making some "healthy" banana bread the day before.

I'm keeping an eye on my 96 year old landlady who isn't really leaving the house and not letting other people in for the most part. I leave bits of stuff in her mailbox, send her an email that lets her know its there. She's a very appreciative recipient and I like to think it's a small way I'm helping out.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 8:36 PM on April 7, 2020 [10 favorites]

Also because early on in this pandemic I was more concerned about ability to get some of the stuff I am used to, and I'm very routine-bound in my eating preferences, I splurged and bought a box of fritos, like those little bags. And somehow misjudged and wound up with... kinda way too many. And the little bags were everywhere. So I found an old pickle jar and opened up all the little bags and now I have a pickle jar full of fritos and it's pretty satisfying.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 8:39 PM on April 7, 2020 [6 favorites]

some Rob Gonsalves.
posted by clavdivs at 8:47 PM on April 7, 2020 [3 favorites]

My work is at least 50% lab work, which is tricky to do at home. So I'm interspersing my incredibly dull computer work with many home projects. I'm much happier when I keep my hands busy and my problem solving brain occupied.

I've finally cracked making decent sourdough bread in our terrible oven. I've had success in other people's ovens, but ours is so awful I just couldn't get decent oven spring. I've managed it twice now, so I'm calling it solved. (second rise in the fridge overnight, preheat cast iron pot on full for half an hour, cook in dutch oven for half an hour on baking paper adding about a shot of cold water under the paper to make steam, remove lid and cook for about 20 min). However, even with three housemates, we're having trouble getting through it all, so I should probably stop now. I also kneaded some melted butter through half a batch of the base recipe I'm using, and made soggy rolls, which I'm ridiculously proud of, though should stop eating them.

I made vodka (was going to make handsanitiser, but can't get peroxide), and am going to try distilling it again to make gin. Might still make a disinfecting solution, depending on how bad it tastes (there is no booze shortage here).

I'm growing sprouts in a jar, and trying to decide whether to resurrect my mushroom bag. I put it outside and I'm ignoring it, which last time lead to it resurrecting itself, might get lucky again.

I'm going to spend the weekend setting up my workspace to be better - my housemate braved bunnings for brackets, and there will be a new shelf. Also weeding, because the drought has broken, and now all the things are growing.

I am trying to pace myself, and not do too many things at once, but one of my housemates is also "doing all the things", and we're getting ideas off each other.
posted by kjs4 at 11:09 PM on April 7, 2020 [2 favorites]

And, I've been making excellent quiche ever week or so for a friend with two tinies and a sick husband.

Recipe for excellent quiche:

For a 24cm/9.5" pie dish

100g butter
200g plain flour

Pulse in food processor or rub together till combined. Add ~30 mL water till it combines into a dough. Put in a plastic container and refrigerate for ~30 min whilst prepping the rest.

1 onion chopped
200g bacon chopped

Saute until onions translucent and bacon starting to brown. Allow to cool.

4 eggs
1 1/3 cups cream*
1 cup milk*
pinch cayenne pepper, pinch nutmeg, lots of freshly ground pepper.

Whisk together.

Roll out pastry and line greased pie dish. Pinch around the top to look pretty, poke some holes in the bottom with a fork. Add bacon/onion mix. Add some grated cheese - a good handful, I never measure. Pour over the egg mix. Cook in Mod-high** oven until it's brown on top and doesn't wobble in the middle.

*I change the milk to cream ratio depending on how much cream I have, just keep the volume the same. I sometimes add some chopped spinach here, to pretend that it's healthy.

**As mentioned above, my oven is terrible. I check it when it smells good, and cook it till it looks right. 40mins maybe?
posted by kjs4 at 11:24 PM on April 7, 2020

Saute until onions translucent

I first read this as "Salute until onions translucent", which is an image that amused me to no end.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 2:57 AM on April 8, 2020 [5 favorites]

I've been sorting out books to put on eBay, which is reasonably productive I suppose. Have just had a letter from the council about the virus, which includes the advice to tidy my sock drawer. I think they may have tipped over into trying to micro-manage city residents.

I would really like to be able to get eggs, partly so I can make these, but there are still a lot of shortages in my local co-op. I have been able to get what I actually need, though.
posted by paduasoy at 3:41 AM on April 8, 2020

I made a pretty thing! Even more significant - I successfully pulled off a craft project without it looking like ass!

I have some glass jars that are the flip-top metal-latch storage kind of things; I just cut out circles of pretty paper the same size as the lids and broke out the Mod Podge and pasted them to the top. It actually worked out - there weren't any wrinkles or weird glue blobs or anything (like there usually are when I do stuff like this) and they're pretty!
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:22 AM on April 8, 2020 [3 favorites]

I have started getting a produce box delivery. It's a new company in my area that provides fresh produce to people who have a food scarcity due to covid. It's funded by folks like me purchasing boxes for themselves.

Like every CSA, I end up with a ton of items I'm not sure how to use, especially within the week before I get a new box. I've been making syrups and pickles, and then walking around the neighborhood and gifting them to neighbors (not strangers, but friends who live in my neighborhood). I have a basket with antibacterial wipes in it. I carry my pickles and my wipes and excess produce I don't want (I really dislike romaine for some reason) from house to house like I'm freaking Emma Woodhouse. I stop at each house and leave a gift on their doorstep and wipe it down. When I get back home I text them and let them know any care and feeding instructions for their new treats.

I worry that this will get out of control. At some point, we will have too many pickles.

My partner and one of those neighbors have gotten very into baking, so now this has turned into an exchange. I'll show up to drop off a mint syrup and find a tupperware of cupcakes left out for me.

Once this is over, this is one of the things I don't want to lose. Of course, it's only possible because I don't have a long life-draining bus commute.
posted by tofu_crouton at 6:12 AM on April 8, 2020 [7 favorites]

I'm am not at all creative (despite a mother who was an artist), or much of a cook or baker either, particularly with our oven half broken at the moment. I've also had to do a fair bit of work to procure the bits and pieces of life, including cloth masks, while also trying not to go out that much, since I'm over 60 and have some immune system issues. About the only thing I've made recently is Tarragon Chicken, which is not very healthy for you, but very tasty and ridiculously easy to make - just calls for chicken thighs, quantities of butter, dried tarragon, and garlic and then you bake it.

Also, Mr. gudrun is full time work from home, and it has been a bit of a bumpy ride to get everything working properly, from Microsoft Teams, to Zoom, to other bits and pieces. I am somehow tech support on the various devices we have, so that has sucked up a fair bit of my time, and I have also somehow turned into his part time office assistant, but so it goes in Covid land.

The main thing I wanted to share is what creative staff of Arlington County (Virginia) did, the first Quaranzine (put together by the Arlington Library). It is meant to be an ongoing "collection of creative works from our community that document how we responded to this strange time we find ourselves in."
posted by gudrun at 8:33 AM on April 8, 2020 [9 favorites]

I made matzo for the first time!
posted by ferret branca at 4:10 PM on April 8, 2020 [6 favorites]

I've been reading a lot of articles (and tweets, and posts, and whatnot) about not pressuring ourselves to be productive while we're going through a time of crisis. And I totally agree we should not do that. We're already under so much pressure, it seems silly to add more on purpose.

I however seem to be self-medicating with productivity. I'm furloughed from my job, with all hope but no real expectation that it will still be there when this is over. That job is in health care admin, and the thought that Things are Happening without my assistance or supervision at work is maddening. Job hunting when you a) are under quarantine and b) are in a recession and c) may actually still have a job someday seems pointless. And sitting around all day doing nothing makes me feel like I'm sinking into the dark tarn. I can kind of feel my brain and body shifting into neutral when I don't give myself something specific to think about or do, and I'm worried about how easy it is for me to slide from neutral into reverse. (I am, by all blood-kin evidence, genetically programmed for sloth and torpor.)

All that said, the hill I have apparently chosen to not-die on is closure of my apple watch Activity rings. I mentioned it before, but I did not know at that time that this is where I have planted my Quarantine Productivity Flag. I'm so into it, I even closed the green ring (30 min of exercise at the can't-easily-talk-during-it level) yesterday and today, much of which I spent on an IV*.

I've got a six-day streak going now, and by Sunday I'll get a Perfect Week badge. I'm also super sore basically all the time. But weirdly, the arthritis in my right foot, which has always limited my workouts before, seems to be getting much better...?

IV is nothing serious, please don't worry.
posted by invincible summer at 5:25 PM on April 8, 2020 [1 favorite]

I also created a Plex Collection for movies based on Jane Austen novels. My other big plan is to reread all my favorites, and then watch all the movies. Though I got it a bit out of order by watching the latest version of Emma today. It was... interesting. Some of the choices made were a bit baffling. But the outfits were amazing.
posted by invincible summer at 5:37 PM on April 8, 2020 [1 favorite]

I want to apologize and confess, I have but skimmed this thread so I am not aware of all the wonderful things you are all doing (but like 80% of it seems, on a skim, to be fucking delicious) and I promise I will. I also want to say I'm grateful this thread is here because posting my little updates in the fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck thread, well, this is a way better place for my notes.

Here on mv we are holding steady at 12 confirmed cases. New supermarket regulations at the town level (Tisbury) go into effect tomorrow. A lot more people masking up, and I've started wearing an old restaurant napkin (I've accidentally stolen several dozen from several dozen jobs over the years) over my nose and mouth. Morale is good.

We were closed Sunday and Monday and got CRUSHED yesterday. 100 orders in 4 hours, each one of them passing through my hands. I had trouble keeping up but got it done, but part of that problem was we've started selling beer, wine, soft drinks, juice, condiments... anything we can bring out from the dry storage with a nice long shelf life.

Tonight was much more steady and we brought Chef Shivi in for the day to make her papadum, samosas, and chicken curry and I just ate my curry and I swear, it is pure courage on a fork.

Also the local museum is doing a "tell your stories about this" project and I'm sending them the links to my comments in this thread.

We fed to police again tonight and my boss offered free food- including the chicken curry- to all laid off staff. I had one older fellow come pick up takeout and promise me that when this was all over, he'd be a customer for life. I told him I couldn't wait to buy him a beer, at the bar proper, very soon.
posted by vrakatar at 8:19 PM on April 8, 2020 [9 favorites]

Quarantining in Egypt, airports closed, stay at home orders and curfew in place (pretty happy with how people are all dealing with this and how serious the reactions have been here, overall a much faster, stronger and more serious broad response than either Canada or USA [the places I might otherwise be]); decided to stay and do my online classes from home here, because transit through multiple airports not what I thought wise to do back when airports closed down, especially going back to folks in at risk categories. Still, missing family back home and regretting that it’s now likely to be months before I get to see them again. Been learning to expand my repertoire in the kitchen. Learned to make pizza and dough from scratch. Tried making a fried tofu with tempura, coconut and black seed coating on a bed of freekeh and side maple syrup squash with spring onions (grilled the seeds for snack), with grilled sweet potatoes and beets. Also recently made cabbage schnitzel. (It was reallllly good)
posted by infinite intimation at 1:06 AM on April 9, 2020 [5 favorites]

Today in frivolous quarantine dilemmas: about a month ago I'd intended to dye my hair purple (for my hair a pretty big undertaking with high powered bleach, professional grade dyes etc) and all the supplies have been sitting there since, unused with all the COVID-related stress. Debating whether to do it now (pro: if I fuck it up no one will know but me; con: if it looks awesome no one will know but me) or later once we have a better idea of when people will be able to be out and about again. These days if I'm outside in public I'm wearing my bike helmet 90% of the time, anyways. Further complicating matters is the fact that my boss announced her intention to dye her hair pink this weekend, so if I do it later it'll look like I'm copying her, ugh! It's like I'm in high school again!
posted by btfreek at 2:04 AM on April 9, 2020 [2 favorites]

This isn’t really, like, a bragworthy craft or anything productive, it’s just an observation on the nice bits of being confined with my family. Mr. eirias has shifted his telework hours to the early morning so that he can take shifts with Little e during the day. A side effect is that he gets first dibs at the coffee. Lately when he comes down for his first cup, he’s been getting out my mug for me and setting it upside down on the table with some little surprise underneath. Today it was an origami box made from junk mail. What did I ever do to deserve this guy? Ima do it again.
posted by eirias at 4:56 AM on April 9, 2020 [13 favorites]

Just saw this in CNN - there is now some scientific support for the theory that baking can be therapeutic.

Plus, it's a therapy where you get an instantaneous reward.

…..I'm reminded of something I said in Junior High, when I seemed excited by the prospect of a pot-luck in our class. "Oh, do you like to cook?" she asked. "What about it do you like?"

I just said, "I like to cook because you get to eat afterwards."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:52 AM on April 9, 2020 [2 favorites]

Regular Covid-19 check-in thread here.
posted by cooker girl at 7:59 AM on April 9, 2020

Speaking as someone who continues to re-dye their bangs blue, I say go for it, btfreak! If nothing else you'll have the fun of seeing your cool purple hair in any mirror you pass by, and every little bit of fun helps right now. Plus purple hair is awesome!

posted by DingoMutt at 8:55 AM on April 9, 2020 [2 favorites]

btfreak, I agree with DingoMutt - do it! I say this from the perspective a woman who is now bald and loving it. I did it just to please myself, because there is literally no one else to please right now. There's no better time to experiment and find something you like. Who's going to know?!
posted by invincible summer at 9:00 AM on April 9, 2020 [2 favorites]

Thanks, DingoMutt and invincible summer! To be clear: I am 100% going to do it and have done before, just debating whether to do it now vs later because I’m laaazy and don’t want to de-purple the bathroom twice for no good reason (but then again, it’s not like I’m going to have guests over anytime soon, so maybe the bathroom is OK to be a little purple..) Mostly I just find ruminating over these inconsequential decisions a soothing break from everything else going on outside :)
posted by btfreek at 9:38 AM on April 9, 2020 [2 favorites]

I do miss having blue hair but I do not miss the actual process of making it blue, plus being half bald would be even weirder if it was half-bald and half-blue. I went ahead and ordered a hair clipper from target but just got an email that it's back-ordered. So maybe that's a sign not to cut off all my hair.

Still considering whether to begin a sourdough starter, my roommate is laughing at me for bringing it up all the time. I tried it 20 years ago when a neighbor gave me a jar and it went very badly, but I have better executive function these days.
posted by buildmyworld at 12:33 PM on April 9, 2020

I have fallen for the music of Arvo Pärt, and I can't put it down. I came across this long performance, in Estonia with the Tallinn Orchestra it has a couple of my favorites, and wonderful choral, all in one performance, it goes on a long time, I was moving in and out of it, talking to a friend, when it came to an end, and at the time Arvo Pärt was still alive and came up onto the stage. What a treat!
posted by Oyéah at 5:31 PM on April 9, 2020 [4 favorites]

Yesterday I made this Papaya-Free Thai Green Papaya Salad, and I strongly recommend it. It served as a side to a hash of leftover lamb and potatoes, and the sharp crunchy salad was just what was needed to the gentle blandness of the hash. I was too lazy to fry an egg for the hash, but I should have done it, it would have made it a perfect meal.
I'm trying to use more different ingredients than I usually do, so I spend a lot of time writing ingredient lists into google to find new ideas. The idea of pickling fruit is very inspiring, cp311. I think I'll try and pickle a couple of pears I have.
Outside, there aren't really new wild greens except for daisies here. The winter has been very mild, so the dandelion leaves are still old ones that have survived, and the nettles and violets haven't come up yet. I should go to the beach to look for greens there, but I think I'll wait till after spring break. Lots of unreliable youngsters out there.
I finally started cutting down the rosa rugosa. This has been on my to-do list for years, but it's a horrible job. When I was through a third of them, I was shaking all over my body, I couldn't even hold a glass of water before I'd lied down a bit. There are a lot of them, and cutting alone won't keep them from spreading. I think I'll try and cover the ground with plastic or something. In the beginning, I didn't really want to cut them down, because I loved them as a child. The flowers were pretty and the rosehip jam was delicious. But in the last few years, they haven't flowered much, and they've just spread and spread. They must go.
posted by mumimor at 3:52 AM on April 10, 2020 [1 favorite]

hair update
posted by btfreek at 11:18 AM on April 10, 2020 [18 favorites]

I am SUPER jealous, btfreek - your hair looks awesome!
posted by DingoMutt at 4:09 PM on April 10, 2020 [5 favorites]

Thanks! I was feeling pretty cyberpunk today with my purple hair, face mask and backpack full of [unspecified for confidentiality reasons] electronics. Now, if only I could remember where I parked my hover scooter...
posted by btfreek at 5:28 PM on April 10, 2020 [6 favorites]

I baked this whole wheat bread. Suddenly, I felt a craving for sandwiches, but I am determined to eat healthily while locked down. I get too little exercise because work is harder from home and I spend more hours in front of the computer.
The bread is a bit tricky to make, but totally worth it. You don't spend a lot of time with it, it's just quite technical. Now is the time to conjure up a filling with some tuna and some pickles and something fresh, I think. And maybe cheese, too.
posted by mumimor at 1:59 AM on April 11, 2020 [5 favorites]

Lots of little stuff.

-made preserved lemons which are good with (too much) sugar in soda
-making sourdough though it's primarily been my bf's project
-made marmalade which came out pretty syrupy but is good in cocktails
-trying to get to the point where I can play the C Major prelude from the Well Tempered Prelude (probably the easiest piece in the rep but I'm a bad keyboardist) without hesitation on the harpsichord
-setting a couple of sacred harp songs onto the paper strips for a DIY music box, plus working on a sacred harp setting of a friend's comic folk song
-getting better at Everlasting Meal/Nimble Chef kind of cooking where you use things up and use what's available.

I wish I were doing more one big project, like learn a new thing, but I don't have anything in mind. I might try building model ships but am hesitant about the outlay.
posted by less of course at 7:29 AM on April 11, 2020 [1 favorite]

After a week of being grouchy about running out of bread flour and not being able to buy any because of all the new bread bakers buying it all up, just had the forehead-slapping realization that I can just MAKE my own bread flour out of AP flour (which is now starting to reappear in stores) and vital wheat gluten, which is scarce but not impossible to find at health food stores. Hooray!
posted by btfreek at 10:01 AM on April 11, 2020

btfreek, here bread flour is not a thing, and we still get to eat bread. The last decade or so, we've sometimes had "Manitoba flour" from Italy, but our normal flour has less protein. You can bake bread from anything. Much of Scandinavian bread tradition is rather sweet and cake-y, but look up German bread for delicious recipes.
No-knead bread is made with AP flour, too.
The normal thing here is to eat rye bread. I have not yet mastered how to bake it. But if you are a good baker, try this, it looks very good.
posted by mumimor at 10:30 AM on April 11, 2020 [1 favorite]

Thanks mumimor! Unfortunately I have been craving the crusty holey sproingy bread that benefits from higher gluten content, but that rye bread really does look good. I also wonder about how the wheat used in flour varies from country to country - I was happy baking with AP flour for years in Canada, but when I moved to the US I was frustrated with how everything came out slightly differently and found that other people were having the same problems (tl;dr from that forum thread: maybe it's the gluten, maybe it's the type of wheat, whooo knows)
posted by btfreek at 10:39 AM on April 11, 2020 [1 favorite]

that's interesting. When I baked the whole wheat bread I mentioned above, I checked, and it seems the local whole wheat I'm using has more protein than Bob's Red Mill, but less than King Arthur. (As I said, it's a tricky bread to make, so it was worth checking every detail). So maybe you can check the different brands?
Another thing that may be an issue in the US is the air condition. Have you noticed if your US lodgings are warmer or cooler than in Canada? You can't really rely on proofing times if they weren't suggested by your roomie, and over-proofing can be just as bad as under-proofing. I can get the crusty holey sproingy bread with normal Danish flour, which doesn't have a lot of protein, if I proof it right and do the stretch and fold thing. I'll admit that when it's available the Manitoba flour is the one I choose most days. I'm not a cake person, so I have no reason not to.
posted by mumimor at 10:54 AM on April 11, 2020

Oh, I should have read some of the comments on that link you provided, btfreek. You can't even get bleached flour here in Europe, or any flour with additives, and I now understand that US flour is often bleached. That may be the difference.
posted by mumimor at 11:06 AM on April 11, 2020

For the last half year, I’ve gotten into the rhythm of baking bread every weekend. It’s a simple white loaf, baked in a small ceramic pans, because we like the taste and smell and portion control in sandwich making.

I got bored and wondered if I could make a cake out of odds ‘n ends in the pantry. Found a packet of malt biscuits and dried espresso and marscapone that verging. So I made a faux tiramisu cake. Mr. lemon_icing suddenly wanted Cajun food so red beans and rice and panko fried chicken wings it was. Still working thru the red beans!

Thursday was dough day: bread / pizza / hot cross buns. There’s a lightbulb in there because ovens are electric here, no pilot light. And that’s my first sourdough starter — her name is Agnes; wish me luck!
posted by lemon_icing at 1:53 PM on April 11, 2020 [2 favorites]

Small victories: an envelope of yeast with a May 2019 expiration date is still perfectly good. Dough for focaccia is rising as I type this.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 3:37 PM on April 11, 2020 [3 favorites]

My yeast starter died. It was never quite the same after I put boiling water in it to get rid of the foul smell. Eventually it stopped bubbling and smelled like mildew, so as far as I can tell it was kaput. It's probably for the best; I would hate to have gotten food poisoning from whatever that bacterium was, plus I was running out of flour to feed it. Still, I should try again.

But on the other hand, my postcards are arriving and people really seem to like them, which makes me feel much better. I am getting interested in doing landscapes, which I never had been, but now concentrating on creating another space is really appealing.
posted by Countess Elena at 4:06 PM on April 11, 2020

It is my Friday night. Steady but not crazy takeout tonight. Sold 9 bottles of wine! Ran an beef and broccoli entree for 11.99 that sold well. And now we take two days off and get crushed on Tuesday. I'm trying tofigure out, how many of these people are just happy to support us, how many rely on us to feed themselves or households, how many just sick of cooking, how many sick of canned soup?

I wore my svengoolie hat today and urged some guests to tune into the movie, tonight was This Island Earth. I've been doing a shtick where I wear a different hat everyday. Which reminds me I needed a haircut a month ago and now my hair is longer than it has been in a long, long time. Maybe I'll do something wacky, maybe shave it all off when it get's a little warmer. And pretty soon we'll be able to activate the outdoor shower! I'm going to put a lawn chair in there and just do hydrotherapy.
posted by vrakatar at 8:34 PM on April 11, 2020 [5 favorites]

I ordered a bunch of new comfy T-shirts to be my new WFH wardrobe. I realized since I've basically stopped wearing a bra for the duration that I keep reaching for one of the four rather ratty ones I'd previously kept on hand for exercising in or "seriously lazy day" wear, since free-boobing looks weirder under more structured shirts. So now I've got a number of newer cuter T-shirts in attractive patterns and colors to wear with yoga pants as my everyday outfit. My husband has a tendency to not notice what I'm wearing ever, and I've had a line from a Paula Cole song kind of stuck in my head the last couple days: "I am wearing my new dress tonight, but you don't even notice..." Like I was expecting compliments on my spiffy new look. I mean, yesterday was doodled hearts; today was a fetching navy blue floral number! On the upside, his lack of visual scrutiny means he also does not notice things such as when I cut my bangs crooked, which may also be happening this weekend. So I have that going for me.

The beer bread I made last week was really tasty. I bought bananas a week ago specifically to rot them for banana bread this week, but the apples are also looking pretty tired so I think I am going to freeze the nanners and make apple crisp tomorrow for Easter instead.

Speaking of Easter, I hadn't especially planned to do anything churchy this past week but I somehow managed to attend a virtual service on each day of the Triduum. Maundy Thursday I tuned into the Vatican for their service which was lovely; Good Friday was a somber Zoom service with my own church, during which I learned a young woman in our congregation had been pretty sick with Covid-19 and is now recovering, but her parents are now nervously counting the days until they can be reasonably sure they have not been infected themselves.

Tonight was Easter Vigil. We all lit candles at home to represent the light of Christ coming into the world, and were encouraged to have a bowl of water nearby to cross ourselves with during the renewal of the baptism vows, which I thought were lovely touches. I stayed on through all the Old Testament readings, prayers and hymns all the way through the Alleluia, but had to drop off after that as it was time to make supper for the husband. When we first started attending church (almost 10 years ago), Easter Vigil lasted over three hours on a Saturday evening in a darkened church, with 9 sets of lengthy readings, hymns and prayers by offered by candlelight; after which the church lights are thrown on to reveal a flower-filled sanctuary and Christ's rising is celebrated with cries of Alleluia, glad music and ringing of bells. It then continues on with a full Eucharist service including a sermon. It is wonderful but takes a bit of fortitude to get through.

Afterwards there would be a celebratory midnight potluck dinner in the church basement with wine and a boozy coffee punch. I've come home from church happily tipsy at 2 a.m. on more than one occasion, which always felt a bit scandalous considering the fundamentalist "Grape juice only" churches I grew up in. Tonight my after-church celebration included clementines and jelly toast, while watching 22 Jump Street with the husband while he ate his leftover Hungarian noodles and salad. It has been a good week.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 12:07 AM on April 12, 2020 [3 favorites]

Day off today, and no complaints, but days off I start to go down the WHAT IF rabbit hole.

My true love has been in the house for seven days and craving greasy cheese pizza slices like in New York, so today we called out favorite pizza shop, after she also put a bra on for the first time in a while, with the plan to go get a pie and eat it in the car at state beach. She was psyched!

They were closed for Easter. Being extremely lapsed theists, we had not thought of that. So we called another place, same thing. She was fake pouting now. The third place came through and we had late pizza lunch in the car at the beach! Very groovy.

Day off tomorrow. I'll come up with some missions and errands to fill the day.
posted by vrakatar at 5:10 PM on April 12, 2020 [4 favorites]

Forget sourdough! How to make 10 of the world’s easiest breads
From The Guardian. There are more suggestions in the comments, though I haven't read through them all.

Because of the high wind blowing here (and it will continue for days, I just saw), I'm thinking about power outages. I have an open fireplace which is not very efficient for heating, but the nook it's in is small, so I can hunker down there with lots of blankets and keep warm. Cooking is worse. I've long been meaning to get a tripod for the fireplace, but I haven't done it yet (Mainly because my firewood is no good for cooking, so I'd have to make a special cooking stash of wood). Maybe I can rig up something with my hibachi grill. I should definitely stock up indoors with wood and coal already so I don't have to go out in a storm.

But I was also thinking of how much I depend on the internet for news and also for recipes. I have cookbooks and experience, so I'm not going to starve. (The contents of the fridge can go outside in a box, it's cold outside). But the news? I don't even have a radio, let alone a battery driven one. I guess I should get a powerbank ASAP, so at least the phone would be working.

Finally, it's made me think about the layout of the house. The house was redesigned by my grandparents in the 1960's, from a traditional farmhouse to a more modern layout, with an open plan. My gram opened it even more in the 00's. When I took over, I reconstructed the walls she had taken down, it really didn't work. (She did it to get more light, and it worked out exactly opposite for reasons that would take me too long to explain). Now, I'm thinking that the old-old plan, with more separate livingrooms and two fire-wood stoves in addition to the fireplace is maybe even better. I wouldn't go entirely back, because I like a contemporary kitchen, and I wouldn't use wood fire as the main source of heating, because CO2 and also I have very nice solar. But if the future brings more extreme weather, and more pandemics, maybe we all need to think our homes in new ways. (How this will work for city living is a whole different question, which I am actually working on for work).
posted by mumimor at 1:46 AM on April 13, 2020 [3 favorites]

My roommate has a black bean stew he makes as a go-to recipe; a ton of black beans simmered with onions, garlic, bacon and whatever smoked pork offal he happens to find most easily on a given day. He makes it in the quantity best described as "a fuckton". He decided to make it for the lunch hour yesterday.

Coincidentally, I had also decided to make a bean-heavy dish for dinner - a cassoulet, which used a pound of white beans, a pack of chicken thighs and a pound of sausage, more bacon, a scant bit of pork stew, and a duck breast fished out of the freezer. The recipe I had, even though it had been halved, also yielded in the quantity "a fuckton". I had to brown the meats first before I began stewing everything, and we saved that excess combination of chicken/pork/duck/bacon fat and it now lives in a small jar in the fridge labelled "the Cooking Fat Of The Gods", and the roommate actually used a bit for his black bean thing.

The good news is that neither of us will need to cook for a whole week and can just live off each other's leftovers. The only down side is that this meant we each had two completely separate bean dishes yesterday and let's just say it's probably a good thing I slept with my window open.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:44 AM on April 13, 2020 [4 favorites]

Cooking stuff for me has been less about being creative with excess time, since I'm still working my regular schedule, and more about trying to plan and cook without a trip to the grocery, bakery, or butcher nearly every day, as in Before Times. (and we don't have a car, so have to do small, infrequent hauls, plus some ordering from the online grocery which takes a month for delivery now)

Latest in the kitchen: I made some super easy coconut macaroons today, that have the benefit of requiring NO flour, NO butter, NO milk, all of which are things I'm trying to conserve a bit for other uses (esp since I won't give up my latte habit and the milk and/or milk substitute goes much faster than it should). I made the no-flour version from this NYT recipe, and I believe their recipes are not paywalled now for Covid solidarity reasons, but just in case, it's this simple: 1 egg white, whisked until frothy, 1 cup shredded coconut, 1/4 cup sugar (or if your coconut is sweetened, just add a couple tablespoons sugar), pinch of salt, flavoring; mix and let sit for 15 minutes; wet your hands and form into small balls, bake at 350F/175C for 13 minutes.

The recipe author said they made 10 small balls, my mixture turned out 8, but my egg was not very big, and I didn't pack the coconut. I added orange zest and chocolate chips to mine. Scrummy, quick, and simple, and it doesn't make too much for the two of us. Also, (nearly) instant gratification! This would be a good one to do with kids.

Also in recipe world, I made Chicken Biryani last night, and it was amazeballs. It's an Instant Pot recipe, but could be easily adapted to Just Plain Old Pot recipe, simply by simmering for 20-30 minutes at the end (I guesstimate) instead of pressure cooking for 8. It was not hard, but it did take me literally about 30 minutes rummaging through my gone-feral spice drawer to locate all the spices. I never found the cloves that I swear are in there, but did find some ancient ground cloves and used a bit of that. (Note: DO be sure the rice is entirely submerged, even if you have to add more liquid)
posted by taz (staff) at 12:07 PM on April 13, 2020 [4 favorites]

Heavy wind here as well. And it has made clear to me how I'm displacing the fear and anxiety.

We have two approx. 7 month old kittens, grendel greymalkin and yzzbrid. Because they are very very fresh I'm always aware of the state of our doors. We do not want them slipping out! They are destined to be indoor kitties.So we always take extra care entering and exiting, or when people come over for the first time.

Today these winds have been rattling the doors and I'm finding myself getting up from my chair and checking them, cuz we don't lock them and while unlikely the wind could blow them open? I don't think so. But I'm checking them, or sometimes just getting up and making sure the cats are in the house, even when I know they are in the house. I even snapped at my SO for opening the door and not moving swiftly through it yesterday.

The days I work I'm much less worried about the kitties getting out. I'm also in the house a bit less. It is an irrational response. I'm parking ALL the fear and worry about this on the kitty/door issue. I must be prepared for this next week. Tomorrow we'll be slammed and that will be wonderful. Then Wednesday we make the magical chicken curry. Keep cooking and baking and helping all you groovy humans, it helps.
posted by vrakatar at 4:27 PM on April 13, 2020 [3 favorites]

vrakatar, sometimes when it's very windy, I roll up rugs and put them in front of the doors. Maybe that could help?
posted by mumimor at 12:32 AM on April 14, 2020 [1 favorite]

I have the dough for sweet potato cinnamon rolls rising right now. I do confess, I'm using canned pumpkin instead of pureed sweet potatoes. I had it on the shelf.
posted by kathrynm at 10:42 AM on April 14, 2020 [1 favorite]

Tonight I had something with leftover rice and chicken that was inspired by taz' recipe but ended up being quite soupy, for many reasons. It was still delicious. And I had it with these pickled pears from Bon Appetit that were delicious. I think pickled fruit are my new thing, perfect isolation food.
posted by mumimor at 12:11 PM on April 15, 2020 [1 favorite]

Those pickled pears look really good, mumimor - I think I'll give them a try this afternoon with whatever fruit I've got (pretty sure I've got some apples). Thanks for posting!
posted by DingoMutt at 8:52 AM on April 16, 2020

I started a chatroom (or server on Discord) for "polite and rational" political discussion! I know it's not that domestic, but seeing people talk and hearing the bloops and bleeps of people is very nice and makes me feel not alone! I also finally recreated a childhood treat, Jello pudding pops, not sure why these went off the market many years ago, but I definitely know why they haven't been reintroduced to the market in, say, the last 5 years.
posted by BeatriceB at 10:28 AM on April 17, 2020

I am working on my long-shelved secret giant robot school visual novel, because I am determined to have fun instead of doomsurfing, god damnit.

I made the story as short as possible on purpose, knowing how easily I get overwhelmed, but the quantity of art I still need to make is so huge I could lose my job instead of just being on leave and barely notice the extra "free" time... Well, apart from the resulting financial hardship...
posted by the liquid oxygen at 12:53 PM on April 18, 2020 [2 favorites]

I'm a food snob and not in any way interested in industrial food, but I have a craving for the cheese croissants I used to get at a little bakery in the before times. I can't find the recipe anywhere, but I made these instead, and I have to admit, they are not bad: you need croissant dough, pilsbury style, cheap sliced ham and cheap sliced cheddar melting cheese.
Cut the dough into squares, slightly bigger than the cheese and ham squares. Put the ham and cheese on top, fold them into halves and close the edges with a fork. Cut slits into the top of the pastry to allow some air to pass through. Bake for 20 minutes, let rest for five minutes unless you want to burn your tongue.
posted by mumimor at 10:52 AM on April 21, 2020

Mother sent yeast. Next day, cinnamon rolls from sweet dough. Nice.

(We failed at getting sourdough running— once some creature ate the starter, all the other times it had a one-day bubble but no follow up. Maybe AZ is dry, maybe all yeast is mad at us for letting the creature eat our first attempt, I’m not sure— but now we have bread again. Yay).
posted by nat at 9:28 AM on April 22, 2020 [1 favorite]

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