What's eatin', you? April 14, 2020 6:35 PM   Subscribe

You know what's weird right now? Besides, like, everything? Food. Lots of routines are disrupted, lots of supply lines and food-sourcing habits have gotten all sideways. So: what's going on with your fooding? How's the whole eating thing? Any happy discoveries or rediscoveries? Any weird surprises? Any big shortage headaches? Any horrible cooking failures? Snacking surprises? Foodly frustrations? Can you buy literally any yeast? Get it out, let's talk all kinds of food stuff, let's do a whole roundup of where everybody's at.
posted by cortex (staff) to MetaFilter-Related at 6:35 PM (212 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

I'm eating fewer vegetables and fruits. I like those to be fresh, so normally I swing by the store a couple of times a week just to pick up a few things (along with dairy, also something better fresh). Shopping more rarely has scrambled up all of my fruit and vegetable shopping and cooking habits and I haven't figured it out yet. Otherwise I am cooking about the same as always, though somewhat more starchy than my preference.

Well, and the not eating out, that is a major difference. I miss that a lot. I obviously miss the food, but what I really miss most of all is the social part -- going out with a friend, or chatting and joking with the waitstaff whom I have gotten to know.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:51 PM on April 14, 2020 [9 favorites]

We were just talking about how we need to get back to an eating routine, lest these days at home blend together. We just built a little greenhouse to extend our growing season, so I'm looking forward to the hope-of-eating's-future, but there's been some walking out to pick kale and throw it into a frozen fruit smoothie -- yum. Thinking to make at least one day per week be a backyard meal, most-likely in our scrappy little wood-fired pizza oven.

For food surprises, we were given a large bag of parsnips recently and I think I'm their newest fan. Diced with olive oil and roasted, dipped in hummus.
posted by klausman at 7:05 PM on April 14, 2020 [6 favorites]

My soft pretzels from scratch were a hit with my family, who said they tasted better than the ones at the county fair. High praise.
posted by MonkeyToes at 7:23 PM on April 14, 2020 [8 favorites]

I cook like an old lady who grew up during the Depression, so this is my time to shine!, with my weird cuts of meat that nobody else buys (trotters!) and my dried beans and brown rice and lentils and my low-yeast, long-rise bread recipes and tons of cabbage and kale and 47 billion potato recipes! And with no after-school activities or appointments to be driving people to, I have plenty of time to do my frugal old-lady things like cutting up the broccoli florets to serve with dinner, and then standing there with my Y-peeler and peeling the broccoli stem into my salad mix for the week. We had a ham for Easter, and then leftovers, and today a ham stirfry, tomorrow ham sandwiches (with the leftover rolls), and then I'll make a ham soup with the meat that's left on the bone (which I will thicken with leftover mashed potatoes), which is a lot of mileage out of a $13 ham.

Local stores are pretty decently stocked, after the initial panic-buying onslaught subsided. You have to be a little flexible on produce (there are always greens, but maybe not always romaine lettuce), and the freezer section is very hit-and-miss (which is annoying as I have a very small fridge and freezer for five people so I need to restock the freezer a LOT), but it's not too bad. My husband is doing the grocery shopping, so we have to sit down and have a lengthy strategy conference before he goes in case things I want aren't there. He went the Thursday before Easter and we think we can get through two weeks based on that stock-up (because we have a farm box subscription that keeps us in produce). The ham was like one entire week of meals for it. Next week will involve a lot of frozen chicken and beans and rice.

The kids are "helping" in the kitchen a lot because they're HERE all the time, and while I do have them help me on CERTAIN meals so they can learn skills, tripping over all three of them every two minutes because they're bored and looking for something to do is a LITTLE crazy-making.
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 7:25 PM on April 14, 2020 [26 favorites]

When my beloved wife went to the grocery store at the very start of the hoarding phase, our usual pre-jarred pizza sauce was not available. She got this other one that I never remember having seen before and, reader, it was a revelation. SO MUCH BETTER than the previous item. And it remains unpopular in our local region, so we have been able to stock up. I hate to say it, but this is a story not of deprivation but of triumph forced on us by circumstances beyond our control. I have made many pizzas since, because apparently people do not hoard mozzarella. The sauce brand is Paesana New York's classic.
posted by jjray at 7:42 PM on April 14, 2020 [23 favorites]

Cheap pâté on toast used to be a special treat, now it's a regular thing for me. Turns out Croatian pâté from a can is super cheap, like "breakfast cost $1.50" cheap. And since I'm not worrying about my weight (how can I when food and exercise options are so limited?) I get to just enjoy whatever I'm eating without worrying that it's too decadent. Despite the price it still feels nice and decadent.
posted by Tehhund at 7:50 PM on April 14, 2020 [9 favorites]

The beginning of this whole thing ramping up a few weeks ago made me decide, in an uncharacteristic bout of idealism, that that was the right time to start getting serious about earthquake prep (I live in the PNW). Right after the first major wave of panic buying, as it turned out...hoist by my own optimistic petard*. My original plan of buying a few tubs of pre-prepped freeze dried meals online came to naught; most of them were sold out and the price of the rest went through the roof - and they weren't cheap to begin with. The big chain grocery store's shelves looked like a war zone in some key areas next time I went shopping; fortunately I found a smaller store that hadn't been utterly ravaged, and was able to pick up a couple items each of a few staples (the last thing I wanted to do was be a jerk and clean them out). Frozen veggies are also still in short supply; I'd begun to rely on them a lot in the past year or two for the sake of convenience, but fresh produce has continued to be available so far. I'm saving what frozen veg I already had on hand for dire need in case things change.

Beyond that I haven't felt too much of a pinch food-wise. Flour and yeast continue to be unable to be had; but I'm not much of a baker, so ehh, no biggie, the store's deli section still has good local bread for sale. It's not always easy to find whole chickens, unless you're ready to pay for the super-upscale organic ones that are as much or more per pound than trays of cut up pieces. Yet beef and pork have been deeply discounted recently, for economic reasons unfathomable to me; I was able to buy a whole brisket for about half the usual price so I smoked that and froze the majority. Also a few pre-smoked frozen pigs feet to throw in soups and stews for flavor.

I'm beginning to wish I'd had the foresight to buy a chest freezer of some sort (not that I have a good place to keep one in my little apartment); my fridge/freezer space is limited. I'm having to continue doing my normal weekly shopping run - now masked, of course - and limit myself to not much more than what I can consume within the following week. But I've also started stocking, bit by bit, a couple of hastily-thrown-together shelves that currently crowd my dining area with shelf-stable bulk foods. One positive personal side-effect of the current madness is that it's really crystallized for me the kind of durable pantry ingredients I'll want on hand when/if The Big One does come and really disrupt supply chains - things like salt, fat (duck fat, ghee...), seasonings/flavorings/herbs/spices, lots of carbs like dry rice and beans and pasta, protein sources like sardines, vitamins and minerals in the form of dehydrated/freeze dried veg, umami sources like mushroom powder/soy sauce/canned tomatoes/tomato paste, vinegar, lemon powder, booze, chocolate (natch!)... The list continues to grow. Also of course lots of gallons of water in big BPA-free containers, which I'd already started to build up but is another thing that is - oddly - often out of stock lately. The pipes and water pumps still work, folks; do you not trust the supply to be virus-free??

But all that aside - I was already cooking many of my own meals, kid long grown and out on their own (and doing okay, thank goodness), I live alone, and I already had a highly-structured WFH job that keeps me busy. So my routine hasn't been disrupted nearly to the extent that it has for most people. I'm almost envious of all the free time some folks suddenly have; but I'm also grateful that I can continue to get a steady paycheck, so I guess I'm okay with that tradeoff.

* Incidentally, "optimistic petard" is a good user name
posted by Greg_Ace at 7:52 PM on April 14, 2020 [3 favorites]

Oh man, speaking of durable pantry ingredients, I might have to live without my beloved cheese in a major disaster! Even blocks of Parmesan last only so long without refrigeration. Hmmm.
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:06 PM on April 14, 2020 [2 favorites]

Well, I have a whole pound of yeast courtesy of tavella! I'm parceling it out to people who are doing more stress baking than I am and planning for bread this weekend.

My favorite new thing is ordering cocktails for delivery or pickup. I have been trying to support a handful of favorite restaurants by ordering out a couple of times a week, and one of my fave bars is doing really good cocktails for delivery, and I've been ordering from there about once a week as well. I'm definitely drinking more and weirdly eating less.

I have a standing Wednesday evening that some friends started with me after rtha died, and we've moved that to a virtual dinner, which isn't quite the same but nice to see them. I've ended up with 4 or 5 standing social zoom calls now. My whole life is like a zoom call of a sunny day.

Greg_Ace's comment reminds me that I've been wondering if I should fire up the smoker. rtha was inspired by Greg's smoker to purchase one, and I still have it, but it hasn't been used since she got sick. It was always very much her thing so I don't know much about how to operate it, although I certainly enjoyed its products. I may hit up Greg or mrzarquon or any other smoker-having mefites who want to give me advice on using it. The smoker can't be used on Spare the Air days but the air is so clear now that's not a problem at all anymore.

Greg -- one can purchase freeze dried cheese! Not the same, but close-ish.
posted by gingerbeer at 8:08 PM on April 14, 2020 [22 favorites]

Shopping is really stressful now, I hate it. Everything about it, trying to anticipate everything I need, queuing up around the outside store to get in, futilely trying to maintain distance inside, not finding what I’m looking for, queuing up around the inside, security guards.

I made a disappointing stew in a stab at disaster cuisine. Didn’t get all the right ingredients and wasn’t going to make a second trip to the store so just carried on. Tastes more of celery than anything else, which is ok I guess but not what I look for in a beef stew.
posted by rodlymight at 8:11 PM on April 14, 2020 [10 favorites]

Shopping is really stressful now, I hate it. Everything about it, trying to anticipate everything I need, queuing up around the outside store to get in, futilely trying to maintain distance inside, not finding what I’m looking for, queuing up around the inside, security guards.

I hear you. I need to mentally prepare to do the weekly run.

Haven't seen yeast in my weekly run for provisions, but fortunately I've got a fair amount of all-purpose flour and baking soda on hand.

So it's been a soda bread party all up in here when the hankering for fresh, hot bread strikes.

Cheap pâté on toast

I know what's going on my next shopping list. I've always liked cheap canned pâté. Since my grocery runs involve only me, a backpack, and what my two hands can carry, I need to keep the load compact and calorically-dense. This fits the bill perfectly.

We're lucky in that I normally have a substantial amount of dried beans and lentils on hand. And in a series of happy coincidences, I bought a 16-lb bag of jasmine rice back in December because it was on sale for a stupidly cheap price, and about two weeks before the lockdown, I was picking up a few groceries and saw 10-lb bags of basmati rice on sale for a similarly stupidly cheap price and thought "Why not? This will last a while." With only two people in the house, this is going to go a long way.

But that was just dumb luck.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 8:22 PM on April 14, 2020 [3 favorites]

I've been shopping once a week, which is working out to 4 days of fresh food and 3 days of frozen veggies and beans. Breakfast I've just been doing oatmeal or cereal, and skipping lunch. So my diet's generally improved, except that I started cooking desserts on weekends (something I usually don't do) and with no one to share it with, well, oh well. Counteracts a week of healthy eating.

Shopping is really stressful now

I was seriously getting psychosomatic symptoms the first two or three trips I went to the store. Rationally I think with everything we're doing in my area and the low absolute rates going out is actually fairly safe--more so than a lot of MeFites--but apparently the rational part of my brain doesn't get to decide how stressed I get.
posted by mark k at 8:22 PM on April 14, 2020 [11 favorites]

I was seriously getting psychosomatic symptoms the first two or three trips I went to the store.

The stress reaction I'm having to doing the grocery run results in me waking up with zero appetite, which has a weird side benefit. Because my stomach is a bit queasy, I'm not making any horrendous craving-based junk food choices while shopping. So glass half-full, I guess!

I did pick up some Doritos last week, though, because YOLO.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 8:28 PM on April 14, 2020 [10 favorites]

I've started sprouting broccoli seeds (Rhonda Partick swears by them and I trust her a lot) and it's a lot of fun, takes about a week from first overnight soaking to the point where the oversize mason jar is full to overflowing with sprouts. I like them (or sortof like them, it's not like eating dirt) (that I know of, anyways) and I know that they are going to be the only fresh greens in my diet for who knows how long. I just took one huge mason jar out from underneath the grow light, two more jars I just started yesterday, won't be under the light for five days, give or take. I've been "going to" start sprouting things for at least a decade, now it's game on.

Protein shakes. Really good-guy organic protein and also some collegen, shake it up, pour it into my head, it's not a meal but it's maybe half a meal, cuts into any hunger I get going on through the day. I buy the stuff from Amazon, it's shipped to my door. I was drinking them anyways but it's been stepped up since being penned up in here, not wishing to risk grocery shopping any more than I have to.

Eggs. But oh man, are they hard to find -- the groceries are cleared out of them. There is a local farm that has hens that actually live a good life, out in the sun eating a bug or whatever it is they want to do, I've got to get their contact information. It could end up that this is a good thing, if it gets me to supporting this local chicken (farm?) (ranch?) (outfit?) So anyways, this is a work in progress.

Plenty of brown rice, beans, and lentils. But that's not news -- I always have plenty of beans and lentils and brown rice. Peasant food but I like it, I feel good when eating brown rice and black beans, or brown rice and pinto beans, or brown rice and these orange lentils which I really like.

Sardines, packed in water. From Amazon, food to my doorstep. Sardines surely don't taste as nice as salmon but I can't get salmon shipped to my door, nor can I afford to eat some every day. Sardines I can. Mixed with some (canned) crushed no-salt tomatoes, some avocado oil, some pasta, some sprouts, it's not soup but it's not bad.

Sweet onions cut in wherever I can.

Vitamins. A big honkin' multivitamin, a big honkin' B complex, twice a day big honkin' vitamin C, twice a day vitamin D. As always I take my half an aspirin, keep my blood slippery, a bit of an edge against The Next Heart Attack, hopefully help to protect against it.

Bananas, which when kept in the fridge look totally grody but peel them and the meat is firm and ripe. Limes -- the local Big Grocery Outfit always sells them 5 for a buck, I use them every day in most every meal and in most every drink, I bought 40 last time I was in that store but ought to have bought 80, or 100, as I am now Out Of Stock on limes and missing them..........
posted by dancestoblue at 8:29 PM on April 14, 2020 [4 favorites]

We locked down early and both work from home. A good stock of shelf stable breakfast and lunch items plus Hello Fresh for dinners has meant we haven't left the house except for neighborhood walks in almost a month. I keep to a routine: plain oatmeal for breakfast, protein bar for lunch, Hello Fresh for dinner. Once a week we bake something as a treat. For April 26th (the day the dwarves visit Bilbo's house in The Hobbit) we're making a seed cake.
posted by jedicus at 8:34 PM on April 14, 2020 [6 favorites]

gingerbeer, thanks for the cheese tip! And absolutely feel free to ping me about using the smoker. It's actually not very hard to learn, and totally worth it.
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:35 PM on April 14, 2020 [2 favorites]

I think this pandemic broke me, maybe temporarily, maybe permanently, of my boredom shopping habit.

I have/had a horrible habit of, when bored? Going to the local grocery store, and just buying random stuff from the Clearance Aisle. Just whatever looked neat. Which, on the one hand? It's inexpensive. But now? I have a bunch of random things that I just never ate.

But now? Seattle's in lockdown, and I'm only going to the store when I absolutely need to. And because most of those shopping trips are to get fresh produce, I don't have any more room for other, more frivolous things. I'm going to the store with a list, and sticking to it - which I've never done before.

I have plenty of rice and beans and ghee and bullion, so other that the produce, I'm set. I also have been working on learning how to make ramen from scratch, so that's been giving me some delicious meals.
posted by spinifex23 at 8:36 PM on April 14, 2020 [4 favorites]

I’ve been growing a fairly wicked sourdough starter by using beer. Beer yeast is crippled and near death, so it takes a fair while but they do eventually recover and start to party hard.
posted by aramaic at 8:52 PM on April 14, 2020 [3 favorites]

chicken (farm?) (ranch?) (outfit?)

I think a chicken outfit is a different thing entirely.
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:05 PM on April 14, 2020 [4 favorites]

i'm finally spending the energy on learning how to not waste fond after cooking a protein, and make pan sauces through deglazing instead. it's kinda like magic and saves money too.
posted by lazaruslong at 9:07 PM on April 14, 2020 [6 favorites]

Honestly I haven't been hungry in a month. Whether it's stress, or just the weird foods available which are generally unappealing, or whether it's the fact that I NEVER FUCKING MOVE ANYMORE so what do I even need food for? I don't know.

I think that I want all of the good foods, and I miss all of the good foods, but a friend brought me some Nashville hot chicken over the weekend and I could barely get anything down. I turned down a biscuit. Unthinkable in other times. Said friend knows me to be in general a voracious eater and was very concerned and I didn't know what to say. It was objectively delicious and I wanted no part of it.

There are tacos in the kitchen right now but all I can handle emotionally is some dry cereal and maybe another cup of coffee, and yes I know it's 11pm.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 9:10 PM on April 14, 2020 [12 favorites]

I’d straight up murder everyone in this room for some decent Nashville Hot.
posted by aramaic at 9:18 PM on April 14, 2020 [10 favorites]

I have been overeating like crazy. My husband stress shops, I stress eat.

We just took in my sister-in-law whose housing plan fell through and job laid her off and she had been living in her car half a country away for a month.

I had a baby in January.

So there are 4 adults, 2 kids and a tiny one in my 2.5 bedroom apartment. I’m laid off, my husband is working from home in our bedroom 11 hour days. So I’m splitting my time between helping my first grader learn, stopping the kids from bothering my husband, nursing, and thinking about how best to feed everyone. I did a big breakfast on Easter (candied bacon, mickey head waffles, strawberry compote, fresh whipped cream, fresh pineapple, and baked eggs with a fresh fruit smoothie) and our usual ham dinner with a bunch of sides. It was a lot of cooking but it was nice. I’ve come to the realization that I don’t mind cooking (though I’m bad at searing meat on the stovetop), but I really hate meal planning. The mental Tetris of what ingredients can be used in multiple meals, what all the adults will eat, what did we have four nights ago because we can’t repeat too soon, and on and on and on. It’s really stressful and exhausting and I’m realizing now that this is why it was so much easier to rely on eating out/takeout when we were working, because I could just wait until it was dinner time for my husband to decide what he wanted to eat.

I want to make bread soon, but am having trouble finding yeast. At the store the other day I asked someone working. She was happy to tell me she had it, and told me exactly where. It was nutritional yeast. So.

I made a lasagna last week and it turned out really well. I freaking love lasagna and so I was excited at what a success it was. I failed really badly at chicken enchiladas, but next time I go to the store I’ll be picking up two rotisserie chickens so we can try that again. And I can also make my homemade chicken noodle soup again, with roasted carrots and a stock so rich it was solid in my fridge.

I want to drink wine with more meals, but I’m afraid our stock of everyday Costco wine will run out and I don’t want to make the trip to the far away Costco where they have it if I don’t have to.
posted by Night_owl at 9:29 PM on April 14, 2020 [11 favorites]

I’d straight up murder everyone in this room for some decent Nashville Hot.

I wish I could have sent it to you! I can verify that it found a good home, however, and was eaten with waffles moreover (upon my suggestion -- because apparently I can still think up all the good food ideas, even if I cannot enjoy them).
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 9:30 PM on April 14, 2020 [1 favorite]

I just finished off two bowls of chicken broc alfredo takeout from work, and I got lots to say about the foods I'm eating, but I gotta work tomorrow so all I can say now is CHICKEN CURRY TOMORROW BABY!
posted by vrakatar at 9:48 PM on April 14, 2020 [2 favorites]

Definitely cooking more, despite the slightly surreal mix of anxiety and tedium involved in the accompanying grocery store trips. I'd not been doing a great job of cooking since moving a year and a half ago, and have been digging through my recipe list. Tonight was gulasch accompanied by spätzle, and that'll keep me fed for the next two days too. My current city's short on central European food, so it's been nice making some of that - but I am totally missing my occasional takeout from cuisines I am not good at cooking, like Ethiopian. I probably wouldn't kill for some doro wat on a delicious piece of berebere-soaked injera, but I might be willing to maim for it?

I have not been enjoying the resulting increase in handwashing dishes. But my biochemistry research is (rightly) not deemed essential, and working on paper-writing and bioinformatics from home means no glassware washing, so it probably balances out.

Also I spent a bit more money than I meant to on buying Fancy Chocolate from the recommendations in this thread.
posted by ASF Tod und Schwerkraft at 10:23 PM on April 14, 2020 [5 favorites]

We're not spending money on anything else, we're not buying lunch at work, we're not going out for dinner or breakfast, and we're buying all of our booze through our grocery shop (and under lockdown it turns it to be a lot of booze!), and yet I still can't quite believe our grocery bill has jumped by a factor of about 2.5.

We're not eating super differently than before but are definitely both getting cravings for more comfort food, more meals from when we were kids, spag bol, lasagne with frozen garlic bread, the 90s uk take on fajitas god help us.

The grocery situation is not terrible and i feel very lucky. After a few weeks of stress I'm now always reasonably confident of getting a collection slot from a local supermarket by logging on several times daily looking for cancelled slots. I'm just about to head there now for 7am, in my tiny car i always resented owning in the city but am now beyond grateful for. There have been heavy automated substitutions and heavier straight up "we don't have this, no suitable subs" every trip. I'm always curious how wide the scope for subs is - were there REALLY no canned tomatoes, or could i have got four single cans instead of a pack, or a really bougie import brand, or something? But so far we've chosen to deal with the shortage rather than risk going into the store itself, aside from one nervy trip inside for prescriptions.

Apparently restrictions are being relaxed but the shortages are still heavy and obvious. We made a raspberry and almond cake but have resisted the temptation to exacerbate the flour supply shitshow by making a terrible sourdough starter like everyone else on the planet.

We've talked often about the stunt cooking we might have tried did we not have the kiddo. Some friends hand pulled noodles for the first time just to fill the hours. I'm kind of jealous!
posted by ominous_paws at 10:31 PM on April 14, 2020 [4 favorites]

Also this is a great thread and I'm really excited to read the whole thing later.
posted by ominous_paws at 10:35 PM on April 14, 2020 [6 favorites]

I'm cooking less and relying more on ready meals, despite being on 100% WFH due to the pandemic - I guess I've swapped the exhaustion of being in the office for the exhaustion of pandemic-anxiety ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Also eating more chocolate, which I've never been particularly into before (more of a cakes person generally). I've become a big fan of Lindt Excellence dark chocolate blocks, especially the sea salt + caramel one. Maybe when this is all over, I'll become a dark chocolate connoisseur!
posted by Mauve at 11:01 PM on April 14, 2020 [2 favorites]

Quarantine Lifehack: We can't seem to get groceries delivered (never any open delivery slots) but apparenly we CAN still get meal kits delivered so we're signing up for a bunch of different subscriptions and that's how we're getting fresh food now.
posted by Jacqueline at 12:02 AM on April 15, 2020 [5 favorites]

I've been learning how to fingerpick on the guitar, so for about a year I'd been taking supplements to strengthen my pitiful fingernails – which remained weak and curling and splitty. So a couple of months ago, I started eating Sugar Free Jello, and damn, my fingernails got stronger. So just as I was beginning to see some solid results, the lockdown began. Being a high-risk elderly diabetic and asthmatic, I was unable to go out a buy sf jello. When my friend shopped for me every other week she got what she could, but there is a limit of 2 for anything so my supply has been iffy. Even so, I've managed to keep eating sugar free jello every day instead of other snacks, and as an unexpected result, I have lost 10 lbs!
posted by a humble nudibranch at 12:07 AM on April 15, 2020 [11 favorites]

I managed to get on the list for weekly veg box deliveries from our local grocer, and twice weekly milk deliveries from a dairy. The grocer is repackaging unused bulk flour from the local (closed) bakery, so I have bread flour and am not out of yeast yet.
I also have a LOT of portioned "cooking bacon" in my freezer, which is astonishingly cheap and not sliced entirely perfectly.

I'm eating more vegetables now than I think I ever have, and cooking and baking properly at my leisure instead of chowing ready meals when I finally get in from work.

Veg box hits include Carrot, Coconut and Ginger soup, Lettuce Pesto (lettuce, capers, garlic salt, olive oil and strong cheddar), and Caramelised Onions, which have featured in Cheesy Onion Mash as well as an excellent sweet potato / bacon bits / onion goo combo.
posted by quacks like a duck at 1:00 AM on April 15, 2020 [3 favorites]

Not so much my food, but as a couple local Mefites can attest, I've been running an underground meat club* for the last couple of years after my restaurant closed. Enough former customers kept asking if they could still buy my homemade sausages and bacon. Unfortunately, the licensing requirements to do anything like producing cooked meat products to sell to home consumers make it nigh impossible to do above board. Because of that, for the last couple of years, I've been meeting with small groups of proper-bacon-starved folks in a small park in Tokyo, and handing out packets of frozen meat in return for, uh... gifts? Lets say gifts. This under the table side gig has kept us afloat for the last couple of years, allowing us to pay all the bills and such.

It's been a monthly thing, and Japan has been really, really slow to adopt stay at home stuff, and there I was with a fridge full of pork belly and pork shoulder, all of which has now been turned into bacon (cured with salt, brown sugar, white pepper, chipotle powder, hot hungarian paprika, and granulated garlic), and Sheboygan style bratwurst (marjoram, black pepper, ginger, nutmeg, caraway seed and mustard seed, with cream and egg whites for a binder). Last week, I ask my group what they thought about trying to do a set in April, and I had a white hot flash of goddamn-why-didn't-I-think-about-that when a good number of members mentioned that they either were on reduced pay or not receiving any income at all, which stupidly hadn't crossed my mind, in one of the more tone deaf oblivious moments of my life (there have been a lot).

So, Meat Club is on hiatus. One restaurant that I sell to has closed down. Another that was just about to start buying my bacon mailed to ask if they can hold off on it. I'd already started making their order, but I don't want to be the reason they have a shortfall and can't stay open. I don't know when, how, or even if it will be able to start up again this year. Sending things CoD makes a paper trail that I wouldn't really be able to explain. If people aren't getting paid now, it's likely to be a long, long while before they can put aside spare cash for a non-essential product (my bacon is good, but paying rent is more important). With trying to figure out a raft of online learning software and sort out this years classes in my day job (which started this week), it just wasn't something I really thought about a lot, and now it's gone, and that was a solid gut punch.

On the other hand, it means I have a freezer with approximately 13kg of sliced bacon, 12kg of Wisconsin style bratwurst, and another 5.5kg of bacon curing in the fridge. Luckily meat freezes well, and I know that, when things are safe again, those folks will be there, and we'll start up again.

*Yes, I am breaking the first and second rules of meat club, I know.
posted by Ghidorah at 1:13 AM on April 15, 2020 [30 favorites]

The other, non-meat thing Mrs. Ghidorah and I are doing is, along with a lot of other beer geeks in Japan, ordering beers from craft beer breweries. With most craft beer bars closing down voluntarily, most orders for kegged beer have dried up. Not many breweries here focus on bottling or canning, and a lot are struggling at the moment. Over the past couple of years working in the industry, then writing about it, I've met a lot of brewers, and become friends with several of them, and it pains me to see how worried they are about the future. So, along with a bunch of other folks, we're trying to order beers online to help out.*

A couple weeks ago when we started, we got bottles from Minoh (Osaka) and Johana (near Kanazawa). We picked up some Harvestmoon (whose brewery is part of the complex owned by Disney in Japan, and whose loosely affiliated tap room and main outlet for was closed to customers along with the theme parks back in early March), and ordered more beers from newer breweries TDM 1874 and Yggdrasil (Yggdrasil had the misfortune of getting their brewing license last July, and hasn't even been running a full year). Today, we got beer from nearby LocoBeer, run by a husband and wife, where the wife does nearly all the brewing, and we're thinking about who next to order from, but then...

(dramatic flashback to the classic Twilight Zone episode Time Enough at Last)

I started having a gout flareup. Stupid gout. I've got a fridge full of beer, absolutely nowhere to go, a balcony with a pleasant view of the sunset, the weather is getting warm, and my toe hurts if I even look at it. Gout is on my list of reasons that there is either no god, or if there is, certainly no benevolent god, because only a sadistic motherfucker would make beer, shrimp, and organ meats taste so good, but also make them this bad for you.
posted by Ghidorah at 1:32 AM on April 15, 2020 [8 favorites]

CW for disordered eating.

Something I'm finding massively frustrating is the fact that this whole situation seems to have triggered some disordered eating & compulsive exercise stuff for me that I'd considered myself de facto recovered from for *checks watch* oh, only eight fucking years.

At first I was surprised because I was expecting depression or anxiety far more than I was expecting this, then I felt dumb for being surprised because of course this is what's kicking off in a time when I have much less control over my situation than usual.

I hadn't fully realised the extent to which my workplace routine & the food they provide (we get free breakfast, lunch and fruit/yoghurt snacks catered every day when the office is open) was a core component of my "recovery". Not having to prepare the food myself and having the ambient social expectation that of course I would be eating communally with my coworkers twice a day made it trivially easy to keep eating, it took all the decision-making out of my hands. Now I get to have the big daily internal fight with myself about whether or not I'm allowed to have lunch (and the answer, fortunately, is usually yes, but I could so do with just having the lunch at the time when I'm first hungry, rather than several hours of hanger later while waiting for the big internal fight to wrap up).

I also lost a small amount of weight early on in the lockdown/WFH period and that plus the loss of control over how I live my life right now was enough to trigger a spiral, even though in normal times it's not a given that that experience would have been enough to trigger these thoughts & behaviour patterns (and, in fact, I've lost weight unintentionally a couple of times in the past few years and it wasn't enough to trigger this stuff as long as my normal workplace eating routines remained in place).

I think some of it's also been triggered by the perceived-but-not-actual (at least for me) food scarcity situation; I get anxious when my stockpile goes down (because I've eaten some of it), so it sometimes feels easier to delay eating to protect the stockpile, because somewhere in this fucked-up mental calculus it's "worth" being hungry now to maintain the sense of security of having the stockpile. But that's not how food actually works! It goes bad over time if you don't eat it!

It's comparatively mild as far as these episodes go (went! this was supposed to be in the past!) and I'm not worried for my physical health right now, but it's boring. It was boring eight years ago when I was ready to recover for good (and I thought I fucking had!). It's even more boring now.
posted by terretu at 1:33 AM on April 15, 2020 [17 favorites]

I was in recovery from an eating disorder before this began and I'm pleased to say that I've continued to be active in recovery, following my meal plan and even challenging myself. I was pretty panicky at the start about running out of "my" foods, but I'm slowly adapting. I'm cooking much more than before, which is good. And I had some absolutely delicious chocolate on Sunday
posted by daybeforetheday at 1:43 AM on April 15, 2020 [7 favorites]

Our eating habits have not changed much. We were cooking at home a lot and so we are still doing that.

The grocery shops are all fully stocked and fine here in Amsterdam. And we get great sourdough bread from our local baker who is also open. I used to make sourdough all the time and its a good skill to have but I'd rather support our local baker now. Funnily enough, when we do make bread at home it is quick flatbreads: Make a dough, roll it out, throw it on a frying pan. No yeast required and its fresh bread. Great for rolling stuff in, hummus, cheese, tomato, etc - burrito style.

There has been a surge here of delivery boxes from farmers that used to supply restaurants. Here's a photo of one box we got recently. All the good stuff that restaurants were keeping to themselves!
posted by vacapinta at 1:46 AM on April 15, 2020 [3 favorites]

I used to cook for myself a lot, but a few years ago a bunch of circumstances collided to make me just avoid the kitchen in my house, except on rare occasions. I had gotten into the boring and probably also unhealthy habit of just eating things that either can be microwaved or come in the plastic boxes from the prepared-foods section of the store.

Well, with the roommate/landlord out of the house most of the time now (he's a nurse who travels for work), it's just me and the kitties lately, and I started getting back in the kitchen a few weeks before all the dine-in places in Pittsburgh closed.

I still go to work, because my employer and my contract site have decided security guards are essential workers, which is a decision I'm thankful for, honestly. I don't relish going out into the vague in-between with all the unknownness, but I try to keep careful and sanitary, and the grocery store near me is still open (they put away the handbaskets, though, so now I have to use a full-size cart).

So bizarrely, staying home throughout my three-day weekend every week, instead of going out every Wednesday and Friday, has improved my food situation. I cook a lot more of late, and I try new things, and I can just put stuff in the crock pot if I don't want to cook every day. I made arroz con pollo last week, for the first time in ten years!

I don't know when I ate actually decently prepared brussels sprouts for the first time, but it was within the last decade, and I'll tell you, a little touch of the old browning-maillard reaction makes a world of difference. Just boiling and serving b-sprouts is practically a crime against food, versus taking the effort to brown the cooked veggies in a pan with a little sesame oil and maybe a splash of vinegar and/or soy sauce.

I try to limit my trips to the grocery store to once a week, and I still have most of my stockpile of spices, dried beans, rice, and so on from years ago, before I stopped using the kitchen, so I'm not running out of anything any time soon. In the unlikely event I do get down to just chickpeas, I will be able to flavor the hell out of them.

I realize I'm extremely lucky in all this, and I try always to remember that not everyone is so lucky. I watch people on youtube try to keep the world entertained from home, and every once in a while, something someone says reminds me of "So Much Cooking" and I worry that all of our entertainment, food and otherwise, could take that horrible stone-soup turn, or worse, if things don't improve.

But I never let worry turn into despair, because as some wise person said, despair is arrogant, because it presumes certain knowledge of the future. I prefer hope, anyway.

Also, I just bought a huge plastic jar of fennel seeds. Over Christmas, I kinda went fennel-crazy, and now I buy fennel seeds and just eat them by the spoonful. Crunch, crunch, crunch!
posted by Mister Moofoo at 2:08 AM on April 15, 2020 [3 favorites]

The first week of lockdown I ate a lot less and been slowly coming back up again. We're in a small, remote-ish southern NZ settlement with a Four-Square, a mini-supermarket - they always have a layout and parking lot just like the one in the 1975 plague-dystopia Survivors: series 1, episode 3 about 15mins in. I re-watch it occasionally but don't have an appetite for it at the moment... you can find it on the web but it's way too real now.

Our lockdown's is very tight as they're hoping to eliminate covid internally, so the less things people are doing, the less scope for accidents and needing rescuing, so no hill-walking, fishing, surfing etc. We're 100m from the fire station and under the hospital chopper path, normally we'd get a fire call-out twice a week and the chopper every couple of days; we've had one of each in 19 days.

Anyway the Four-Square is still selling a basic chilli-beef pie from Tucker Ridge, yum, that's Tucker with a T.
posted by unearthed at 2:39 AM on April 15, 2020 [1 favorite]

I'm gonna have to let my sourdough starter die because a) it's still not making bread rise and b) I can't afford to feed it any longer since finding flour in the shops is still very, very difficult. And I'm a crouton petter and I feel guilty about it.

There are no delivery slots still here, and I wouldn't get them anyway because I want to leave them for people who need them more, but we don't have a car so we have to carry our shopping the 15 minutes home which is rather limiting. We keep having to nip out mid week for more milk.

Also I'm still treating this as "travelling food" - eat what you want, whenever, because routine is gone and all is chaos. But I've been home for at least... 5 weeks now and I should probably stop having just pain au chocolate and tea for breakfast.
posted by stillnocturnal at 3:38 AM on April 15, 2020 [8 favorites]

Shopping has become something of an ordeal. I have not experienced waiting in line to get into my local grocery so far, which is good as I find grocery shopping to be physically exhausting under the best of circumstances, never mind having to stand in line on my poor ouchy diabetic feet for who knows how long beforehand. Most people have masked up and seem to at least be making a stab at social distancing, but each trip there have been at least a few unmasked assholes buzzing up and down the aisles, reaching past me “real quick” to grab something off the shelf, or passing too closely (one guy actually bumped into me) or closing in on me in the checkout line. I find this all very alarming, and have more than once wished for a six-foot cattle prod to shock the bejesus out of some oblivious asshat who has barged or wandered into my personal bubble. I mean, I am masked and gloved to the hilt, eyes darting about wildly, giving everyone a wide berth. “Do I look approachable to you, motherfucker???” *ZAP*

I was all about doing grocery pick up at Walmart for a couple of weeks, except I was never able to get hamburger, chicken or tuna. I was convinced that those things were sold out in all the land, except one evening after picking up I decided to do a quick stop at my regular Jewel where lo and behold, they were fully stocked up on all of the above. Not sure what the hell is going on at Walmart. I really did like the convenience of picking up but now I don’t trust that they are not lying to me about being out of stuff. Anyway, I haven’t been able to get a pickup slot the last couple of times I tried so I guess I’m just braving the Jewel for the foreseeable future.

As far as food, I’ve been doing more cooking than I have for years. We were big on getting restaurant delivery in the past, which was not doing any favors for either our budget or our waistlines. So we put a stop to that. I’ve been making a lot of comfort foods: bean soup in the crockpot, beef & noodles, pasta, creamed chipped beef on mashed potatoes; trying to work in some salads and fresh veggies; lots of sandwiches; fruit for dessert. Today I’m planning to make a seven-layer salad which is a thing I remember fondly from my childhood.

I’ve done a bit of baking but I’m trying not to go overboard. I’ve deliberately not purchased any sugary crap at the store since we went into quarantine, because I tend to stress-eat sweets. I know there is not enough sugar in the world to deal with the current levels of stress and anxiety, which would not stop me from trying; and I can easily see myself gaining 100 pounds and needing my feet cut off by the time this is all over, if I let that get started. I did make a reduced-sugar apple crisp over the weekend that was really good. I noticed a couple of weeks ago that I had started eating a lot of bread, which I haven’t done for years. I’ve been trying to cut down on that as I don’t need those kind of carbs either.

The dishes are driving me crazy… I don’t understand how two people can generate a dishwasher load and a half of dishes every single day. I feel like all I do is dishes but somehow the kitchen is never clean. Also I feel like I spend a lot of time fighting to get things into and out of my small, jam-packed fridge and freezer, which I know is a very privileged problem to have. I'd just like to be better at organizing my space and planning meals so that things were moving in and out in a smoother, less aggravating fashion.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 4:21 AM on April 15, 2020 [1 favorite]

I haven't been able to really afford to eat out for the past decade, so I was already cooking a lot. However, I could afford some occasional fancy pantry ingredients, many of them through occasional pilgrimages to a super-charged Asian market or a random purchase of a fancy flour or something. The beginning of the outbreak caught me with a good number of dried beans, pastas, noodles, and odds and ends of meat and some last CSA veg holdouts.

I also live about 10 minutes' walk from the Wegmans in Brooklyn, and have been able to venture there a couple times. And during one of my expeditions there I discovered that a) they have a game meat section, and b) it is much less popular than the other meats. So I've started checking it out if the scrum around the beef and chicken is too thick - I've been able to make a big batch of wild boar pasta sauce and used some merguez sausage to spark up the lentils I already had, so far.

I also had a sourdough starter going already, thanks to some starter given to me by someone from my CSA last summer; she had some excess and put it up for adoption. I've not really been able to manage actual bread with it yet - I think it's because I'm way too impatient with the kneading part - but I make myself pancakes with it every Sunday when I feed it. And I too found myself with some excess and gave it away to a friend this past Sunday; this friend is an avid kayaker and fisherman, and we already have a standing agreement that he will share with me if he catches any bluefish (I already have 3 bluefish filets in the freezer and am going to thaw one this weekend). So this is finally returning the favor.

My biggest obstacle to cooking in the past has been energy; I've usually had an hour-long commute to and from work each day. I now work a lot closer, and had 2 weeks when I was in house lockdown too, so I've had way more energy to cook. Sometime when I was in lockdown I was cooking so much I actually developed a blister where the knife was resting against my first finger on my right hand (that was probably from the roasted root veg, that took twelve cups of diced carrots, beets, squash, and parsnips).
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:30 AM on April 15, 2020 [2 favorites]

My amazing skill of putting things into the freezer and forgetting them is finally paying dividends!
posted by pompomtom at 4:43 AM on April 15, 2020 [27 favorites]

Living a block from a major intersection in the biggest city in Canada, I'm not used to cooking that much - takeout is honestly cheaper at a normal time when food waste is a thing. Food waste is not currently a thing, because any fresh vegetable is in mortal danger around me right now. I want to eat them all immediately as soon as I see them. For this reason and the whole legume/pulse situation, I admit there is a benefit to being stuck alone. Hah.

But it turns out I'm still a good cook, the instincts don't go away. I was smart enough right before everything got scary to grab some less ordinary condiments and such so even the rice and beans can taste different every time. And I haven't touched the emergency pasta or frozen pierogi or whatnot.

I want to support local restaurants and have done what I could so far but I have some anxiety going outside due to the still-busy state of my neighbourhood, so...maybe takeout this weekend.
posted by wellred at 5:21 AM on April 15, 2020 [1 favorite]

My husband's freelance work has dried up entirely and he's a very good cook who likes to keep busy, so as a result we are eating like Versailles royalty. Our last grocery bill was so insane that when it hit our account, I thought it might be an error in the store's payment system.

The ridiculousness acquired during that shopping trip included a fresh bottle of absinthe, so last night's at home happy hour featured The Root of All Evil (1 oz Absinthe Verte, 2 oz artisanal root beer). Instructions: Pour absinthe into a glass filled with ice, then top off with root beer. Gradually let louche, or stir gently until consistently cloudy. Not only was the cocktail delicious, but I also learned the absinthe-related definition of louche and went down an entertaining etymology rabbit hole for a bit.

So that was a nice distraction from, you know, everything.
posted by merriment at 5:34 AM on April 15, 2020 [8 favorites]

One new thing is that we are drinking significantly more alcohol. Which, being an increase from almost never drinking at home, is still not a lot. But now we have Bailey's in our coffee and I have a beer a couple of times a week with dinner, and a couple of Bloody Mary's during board games over the weekend. My nearly-non-drinker husband has taken to having a glass of wine a couple of times a week as well.

The nice thing about a homemade Bloody Mary is I can cram in as many olives as I want, and fish them out with celery sticks. When we are allowed to go out and about again, I want to find a place that does the crazy ones full of appetizers and snacks.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 5:35 AM on April 15, 2020 [2 favorites]

You'd think that a lot of people are eating more comfort foods to cope with coronavirus but I've gone the opposite way. I've cut out chips and cookies and I'm eating a ton of protein/vegetables. Also, I've cut way back on bread. The quarantine has made me want to eat a bit better and cut out some of the unhealthy habits I've had. It's a weird thing. We're lucky enough that the grocery stores in our area have been well stocked of the items we're wanting and needing for day to day living. All that being said, I miss cookies.
posted by Fizz at 5:56 AM on April 15, 2020 [2 favorites]

I struggle a bit with fooding at the best of times, and I would say that I'm struggling a bit more now. Mostly, I'm not eating very much. It's a stress reaction, and I'm sure it's normal, but at some point my clothes are going to stop fitting. I'm doing a little bit better with cooking (knock wood) than I was at the beginning of this mess, mostly because I'm allowing myself to lower my standards a little bit. I'm cooking for my mother, who is an excellent cook, and that kind of puts the pressure on. But her friends are bringing over food a couple of times a week, and some of them are really not excellent cooks, which is making me feel a little less self-conscious about my cooking. Honestly, the biggest problem is vegetables, and I think (knock wood) that I'm getting that sorted out. We're piggybacking onto a couple of people's regular PeaPod orders, and last time I went to the grocery store I stocked up on things like sweet potatoes and carrots that last a while. Next time, I'll see what the frozen vegetable situation is, but there weren't any frozen veggies in stock last time I went to the store, and we're getting by ok without them.

One good thing is that my mother, who has spent 75 years watching her weight, has decided to throw caution to the wind now that it clearly doesn't matter, so we're having dessert every night. I think I'm going to make brownies tonight and maybe an apple crisp tomorrow. (My father accidentally ordered six pounds of apples from PeaPod.) I am self-conscious about my cooking, but I'm a pretty confident baker.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 6:17 AM on April 15, 2020 [2 favorites]

To be fair, I should also offer the flip side of my comment above:

I'm in my first month at a job that's considered an essential business (a tech/manufacturing company). They have a super-stocked pantry with a huge variety of snacks - chips, candy, cookies, crackers - and they also catered lunch for us 3 days a week. They stopped the catering last week because all but 5% of us have been working from home, but they still have all the snacks.

So I slowly got into a habit of a "second breakfast" consisting of granola bars and Doritos that has become near-Pavlovian.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:25 AM on April 15, 2020 [6 favorites]

EmpressCallipygos: After mead and raisin wine the best "country wine" we made was parsnip. It's smooth, creamy and all gone.
Tehhund: That brings back the many tins of cheap (~15 cents/tin) pate we ate in late Tito era Dubrovnik. Where can I get some?
We have undertaken a couple of peculiar projects replacing unnecessary treats: lemon curd and chocolate syrup. More seriously yogurt supplies have been spotty so I ordered a culture and resumed making my own.
Other food projects are long term. I just transplanted tomatillo and poblano seedlings to bigger pots and potted the first few slips from grocery store sweet potatoes. My other seedlings are flower and dye plants but I have lots of other seeds waiting to be direct seeded when the soil warms.
posted by Botanizer at 7:05 AM on April 15, 2020 [2 favorites]

We have actually been eating really well despite (or perhaps because of) the stay-at-home advisory.

I am pregnant (second trimester) so have decided that grocery store visits for myself and family members are outside my personal risk tolerance, given that we live in an urban part of the Boston area and have a lot of cases around us. So we've been doing a lot of curbside pickups and delivery. These require a lot more mental energy to organize than our usual weekly grocery trips but it's also kind of interesting to explore sources outside of our usual ones.

So here's a list of the places where we've been getting our food:
1) Local fancy-schmancy store - they have been doing both curbside pickup and delivery and generally know exactly what they have in stock. It gets expensive to get all our food there so we don't, but they're a great option for whole milk (which we go through a lot of because toddler) and they're nearby so we can call in an order and go down to pick it up in half an hour or so which is great for those last-minute I didn't realize we're out of x or y situations. It takes a while for them to pick up the phone because they're getting bombarded with orders lately, but they always do eventually and are reliable.
2) Misfits produce - we did a couple boxes of these, but I'll probably discontinue going forward because despite the assurances that the defects were only cosmetic, I wasn't super happy with the quality of the produce. Also the varieties of produce we've been getting haven't been things we'd usually eat e.g. red delicious apples or very fibrous mangoes. Going forward I think we'll be relying more on 3.
3) Local CSA - not a ton of CSAs at this time of the year in the Boston area but this one is a spring pantry CSA which involves some storage crops, the first spring crops as well as other goods like bread. Haven't tried it yet, but have always been happy with the produce from this farm from farmers' markets and the like. We get our first delivery on Friday and I'm excited!
4) Whole Foods curbside pickup - this is hit-or-miss. Getting a slot is difficult in the area but you can usually get one if you keep refreshing. But we only did this once as shoppers in our area are striking and I don't want to cross any picket lines.
5) Baldor Foods - this is a restaurant stocking company that has recently opened up home deliveries to individual customers. Pros: very cheap per unit, and really good quality. Cons: Giant amounts and a $250 minimum. They have reduced the milk, eggs and some dairy products to manageable sizes, but other things are still pretty huge e.g. I have a giant amount of rosemary to use up now. My husband did get a 10 lb block of Cabot cheddar that has pretty much made his week though. He goes through that stuff at an amazing rate too so I have no doubts he'll eat it all up (he has some kind of insane metabolism).
6) Walden Local Meats - have been continuing with our monthly deliveries of this so our standalone freezer is well-stocked.
7) Local bakery that does socially distanced curbside pickup - we did one order from this place which I'd never tried before for hot cross buns for Easter and a few other goodies. I fell in love with their bread and croissants so I may need to make another order at some point.

Reading the above you'd think all I've been doing is grocery shopping but this was a list of sources over the last month, as we tried out various options given our usual (Market Basket) seems like a risky option at the moment. We haven't done any takeout either so I've been cooking all our meals. Tonight is our 7 year anniversary so we've decided to do some takeout from a local favorite which I'm greatly looking forward to!
posted by peacheater at 7:07 AM on April 15, 2020 [3 favorites]

1. I kind of hate cooking. I do it a lot, and I think if I could get away with cooking five times a week, and eating five times a week, I'd be happy. I don't particularly care for the eating all the time thing, either. I 'started' not eating at least 12 hours in 24 last summer - and had the weird realization that that was how it was my whole childhood. You didn't eat all the time. Then some time in the last ten plus years, or maybe more, I started eating all the time. It seems. I also quit eating bread anf wheat stuff for a while, maybe six months and that was good too. And excess sugar. This all felt good. We have kids though and they need to eat all the time and my partner, too. So I go with the flow on this.

2. So, important revelations - they make really good gluten-free pasta. Like, it's really good and, importantly, it means I can make Mac-n-cheese and not feel horrible afterwards. The teen-agers like it as well. Last time I made it with some 'truffel-spice-type-spice' "Herbaria" is the brand I dunno what else to call it. It's yummy, and the earthy, truffelly taste goes well with mild cheddar, brings something to it. With that I make some spinach, lots of butter, a little garlic, not too much cooking (very important). And onions that have been cooked on low heat for a long time and kind of candied or glazed a bit. Mix those things together and ... things are ok.

3. Tuna salad is good with estragon. I don't know how it got into our spice drawer but there it was and I threw some in (along with the red pepper and red/sweet onion and mayo that make up the backbone of my version of Tuna salad) and damn but that is yummy. I eat it with these corn/rice cracker things and I have to make sure I don't eat too many.

4. I made a salsa (tomato, cilantro, garlic, green pepper, spicy pepper) yesterday because it's my turn to cook tonight and I thought (yesterday) that I'd make burritos taking the beans from this _Death by Burrito_ cookbook. It's a lovely cookbook. You can't get good salsa here (Berlin, Germany) in the market. The one I made needs some more this and that but it's a great start.

5. There's this store that sells just flour not far from here and I scored some yeast there as well. So I've got a new Biga going and it's pretty damn good. I have a cinnamon roll recipe from my mom that is quick and easy, once the starter is going - the starter uses milk. Which, I dunno, is them fightin' words?

Be safe, wash your hands. Eat well.
posted by From Bklyn at 7:12 AM on April 15, 2020 [2 favorites]

Eggs. But oh man, are they hard to find -- the groceries are cleared out of them.

That is interesting; around here eggs have been easy to get except during that first rush of panic buying when the shelves were emptied. It must come down to local supply chains and what individual stores are or are not able to keep in stock.

At least for grocery delivery, I've been finding frozen veggies almost totally unobtainable here -- they show initially as available but when the order goes in for delivery they disappear.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:16 AM on April 15, 2020 [3 favorites]

EmpressCallipygos: After mead and raisin wine the best "country wine" we made was parsnip. It's smooth, creamy and all gone.

(considers the parsnips she has left over still, takes out notepad and pen) Go on.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:36 AM on April 15, 2020 [2 favorites]

I've been doing a lot more cooking than usual, while still trying to support my favorite local places that haven't closed entirely. Most of them have closed, but in the past few weeks I've gotten an assortment of tasty baked goods, vegan Japanese rice bowls, curry squash and tofu, and frozen ready-to-cook pirogi dumplings.

My boyfriend and I have been cooking for each other on the weekends (we both live alone, and self-isolate, but lack the space to self-isolate together and work during the week, so we see each other on the weekends). I've gotten fresh pasta from a local place and improvised a fancy cheesy garlic olive oil sauce, and he finally taught me to make aloo gobi (which he promised when we started dating, but kept putting off). This culminated last night in him making tortellini and me making dal. Cultural exchange!

Passover was last week, and a good excuse to cook more than I usually do. In addition to charoset and roasted carrots, I made a giant mess of aloo gobi (it's unleavened!), a really good vegetarian matzoh ball soup, and clementine chocolate lava cake. I've been stocking up on more interesting ingredients when I go to the store, so in addition to things like cumin seeds, marjoram, ginger paste, and amchur, yesterday I got miso paste and rice noodles and I'm looking forward to making miso soup of some sort. I also found yeast (on my run to get things for Passover, so I haven't put it to use yet) - I think this weekend I'm going to try Samin Nosrat's foccacia recipe.
posted by ChuraChura at 7:40 AM on April 15, 2020 [4 favorites]

Empress Callipygos; I am digging out the book and notes and will try to memail you the information.
posted by Botanizer at 7:41 AM on April 15, 2020

We've been cooking a lot, and eating deliciously if not healthily. Overall, it's been possible to find most things in our area, though sometimes things are available only off and on. We've been leaning on the huge Asian supermarket pretty heavily, making ramen from scratch, thai noodles, eating lots of frozen dumplings. We steamed a bunch of clams yesterday-- stored them overnight in a plastic bag and I was sure that we'd killed them all but we got lucky and they survived.

Making a ton of no knead bread. I got a jar of yeast the week before the panic buying really started in earnest here, hoping I can nurse it until more is available. Also we're making a ton of pizza, and my partner has been making a lot of old fashioned donuts that are delicious.

I tried to order seeds this morning for my community garden plot but found out seeds are the new toilet paper. Think I can make do with what I have leftover from last year, hopefully everything comes up.

We're trying not to go to the store too often, but our dependance on half and half in our coffee has been the real weak link there. It keeps for a long time, but buying like a gallon and a half at one time makes me feel like a hoarder.
posted by geegollygosh at 7:49 AM on April 15, 2020 [1 favorite]

Actually, lemme share this roasted root veg recipe I made, because it actually keeps well in the fridge, can be used hot or cold, and is pretty adaptable to whatever random vegetables you happen to find in the grocery store during your expeditions. I've adapted it from the original recipe which suggested further tossing it with a vinaigrette and serving it over greens as a salad; I just got more flexible with it.

You need a total of 12 cups of diced root vegetables - any of the following would work, in any quantity and any combination:
* Parsnips
* Turnips
* Carrots
* Winter Squash
* Celery Root
* Sweet Potato
* Beets

Really, just dig in the cupboard and use what you've got. I dug through my own vegetable drawer and grabbed whatever looked like it needed using up, and ended up with a small squash, three big beets, a celery root, two parsnips and a small carrot. Peel and dice enough to make 12 cups total. Preheat the oven to about 425.

Then, dump everything in a couple sheet pans, drizzle with olive oil and some sage (fresh chopped if you have it, dried if that's what you have, work with what you got) and roast it, stirring occasionally, until it's....roasted and has some charred bits here and there.

Basically it's a catch-all roasted root vegetable hash that you can use in a lot of things. I've heated some up as the side dish for my lunch, and I bet some would be great with a fried egg on top for a breakfast. I also just had the idea that I could throw in some chopped potato and leftover meat to make a sort of red flannel hash kind of thing.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:52 AM on April 15, 2020 [2 favorites]

Working from home is great, in as much as when I get hungry, I have access to a whole kitchen. I am able now for the first time in a while to open a bookmark list of saved recipes, pick one out, and make it. The question becomes if I have the time and supplies to do it.

Pre-pandemic, my mother was doing most of the dinner cooking, but times have been hard in our family and she comes home and will make the most low-effort thing she can. Frequently this means it's not even a complete meal. I have tried to talk to her about this. She doesn't want to stop cooking dinner and she doesn't want to take turns with us. I work longer and later than she does, and my brother works evenings, so it only makes sense that she cook, she says. She buys vegetables and then simply does not use them. The freezer and refrigerator are full of stuff she does not care to look at. If asked what I would like for dinner, I will suggest something that I saw in the freezer, but that request will be ignored or rejected. ("I don't feel like making that", "the last time I made that it wasn't that good"). My brother and I have started stocking spinach, for example, with which to make a quick impromptu salad. It's hard to find space for everything, because my mother continues to buy things she does not get around to making. I have attempted to help by, say, cleaning out her spice drawer and removing things that were expired, and that just made her angry. Subsequently, when I cook, I always feel like I am cooking around her, even if she is not home at all (she works part-time from home in an essential industry). I don't like seeing food go bad, but I feel like there isn't much I can do.

I have been obsessed with making something called Pan Bagnat, but there are many ingredients and I can't seem to manage to get them all in the house at once. I will have the tuna, but not the anchovies. The bread went stale too soon. This week I thought we had red onion in the house, but it turns out we didn't. I look forward to trying this some day.

I don't know if other people experience this, but I will have options of things to make, but it's like I can't get excited or motivated enough to make any of them? It's not as though I am craving something specific, I just can't bring myself to make the thing.

Like others, I get a lot of mileage out of canned fish, especially mackerel and sardines. I make a killer Fisherman's Eggs with this recipe and sardines or mackerel in tomato sauce, for extra flavor. Sardines with egg and some soy sauce in rice are delicious.

My mother used to complain that shopping on the weekend was "like Russia" but now whole aisles are frequently cleaned out (esp. at Target) and there are lines just to enter the store. I get frustrated when I shop because people will not so much as wait five seconds for you to pass through an area to maintain social distancing. I have wanted to start shouting at others to stay away, but I abstain. I definitely also experience psychosomatic symptoms after returning home from shopping.

I wore a bandanna-and-hair-elastics mask shopping this past weekend and the elastics were so tight that it gave me a terrible splitting headache, which I then had to live with, because yes, I could have taken it off, but I could not then put it back on or feel good about entering more stores (we end up going to two or three stores for things; some things are cheaper in some places than others, some places are perpetually out of things, and no store has everything). Because shopping is the only time I leave the house now, I had to keep going, even though it meant not being able to concentrate on what I was doing. I'm still not sure what I should try for a mask that will not cause me pain next time.
posted by koucha at 7:57 AM on April 15, 2020 [2 favorites]

Hong Kong remains remarkably easy to eat, shop and cook in; despite many alcohol-only bars closing, cafés and restaurants are still open with some social-distancing measures in place, like separation between tables being wider than normal, and just about every establishment will sort you out a delivery or takeaway option. I've noticed somewhat reduced menus, though, at some places. We don't have queues to get into shops yet; it's hard to imagine us doing this given the insane densities we live with and the staffing it would require. Some cafes and restaurants are taking your temperature and asking you to wear a mask, sign a health declaration and pay with means other than cash.

A few crumbs from my culinary life these last few weeks:

- I had the foresight to order and pick-up a case of Another One, which I wheeled home from Young Master's brewery in Wong Chuk Hang in a carry-on suitcase. It fit perfectly!

- Met a small party of friends for a Sri Lankan brunch on Easter Monday at Hotal Colombo. Probably the most interesting meal I've had all year so far!

- I have come back to rice after a long hiatus/exhaustion period and am so glad I did. Hard to beat that aroma, and I've been using it to make a simple rice + vinegar + oil + garlic + salt + pepper fried rice morning dish I'm enjoying a lot. Considering pilafs and biryanis next.

- It has been funny going to stores frequented by big-money executives from places with crusty-bread traditions, like the supermarket near my office in the central business district, and seeing it denuded of any kind of milled grain whatsoever, while my working-class local shops and markets are overflowing with grains of many varieties. My local Indian grocer was stacked to the rafters with every conceivable flour!

- Relatedly, the supermarket I go to most puts the Italian-language label on the chopped tomatoes I like the most facing out for some reason, so people miss it - perhaps not knowing what polpo di pomodoro is. This has helped me make a lot of the Marcella Hazan sauce.

- I've made Priya Krishna's garlic-ginger chicken a few times and it's been a wonderful ray of zingy sunshine.

- I'm having more small meals through the day than three main meals. I've also taken to drinking a ton of water from a pitcher into which I've thrown a lemon and a lime, plus a bit of salt and sugar. It is vaguely shikanji-like!

- Grocery delivery is hard for me to justify as a single person who's pretty confident in the kitchen and can get everything I need within a two-minute walk. It's also annoying as I don't have a way for couriers to reach my front door because my walk-up building only has a keyed entrance gate and I'd have to go down to collect it. Delivery of a meal, though, is something I only really do if I'm ill since it's a hassle for multiple people instead of just me and since there are an increasing number of dark kitchens popping up and I don't trust the quality to be the same as the in-restaurant product anymore.

- Lots of slow-paced recipes, like ones that involved hydrating dried legumes or pickling things, are appealing to me nowadays. I pickled some red onion today and have some chickpeas soaking in the fridge.

- I've been going to a recently-renovated food market in that building from Transformers and it's been nice to be able to stop in the shops in the bit that's always on Instagram and reassure them that yes, I'm just here for the Indian grocer and no, I don't want to take any photos. (But if you do visit, check out this list of other Insta-friendly estates.)
posted by mdonley at 7:59 AM on April 15, 2020 [3 favorites]

Yes!!! Please support your local chicken farm ranch outfit!

The farm I work on is in the Hudson Valley, and I've been (wo)manning our farmers' market in Brooklyn. When All This hit, we were right at the start of planting, lambing, and calving season. So our busiest time of the year, other than haying. It's also the time of year when... we don't have that much to sell.

We also can't exactly backtrack on our forecasting and planning (type and quantity of seeds, etc.), and we absolutely won't walk back on our high level of animal care and the quality of our produce. (We're certified organic and animal welfare-certified.) So, we're having to run with what we got... while supplementing with some "emergency" fast-growing breeds.

Food supply is always an interesting thing to think about, and Covid has just thrown the whole challenge into high relief. We're lucky in that we're a small-to-midsize producer, and have never dealt in the commercial supply chains. Our "supply chain" is literally farm hand --> butcher/veggie packer --> me --> market. And our markets have been absolutely slammed—my line has been an hour long for weeks. But man, watching big farms' cold rooms-full of asparagus and barrels of milk being dumped when people need food really bums me out. What an awful mismatch. And I don't think I'm smart enough to even start to figure out what to do, other than what I'm already doing.

We're also lucky we're small-ish, because it's been relatively easy to pivot our processes (but stressful AF, for sure). I'm pretty good with systems and logistics planning, so I've basically taken over and reworked everything from scratch, basically overnight. (God help me.)

I built out a system for deliveries and pre-orders, in addition to re-engineering (literally, with like 5 trips to Lowe's) our market stall to be contactless—what was once an adorably merchandised farm stand is basically now an efficient, but kind of sad, Soviet breadline. I've been researching and buying quicker-to-market meat-bird breeds, and faster-laying hens to supplement our previous plans. And coordinating with neighboring farms to bring down their produce, as ours gets bought-out.

Y'all, it's been fucken' nuts. I hope all this doesn't sound like bragging. But I guess... I just want everyone to know that local farmers have your back, and we're working as hard and as fast as we can. <3
posted by functionequalsform at 7:59 AM on April 15, 2020 [27 favorites]

In general I've been remotely helping 2 of colleagues learn to cook; they send me pictures of food at various stages and I provide encouragement as relevant... but for us personally, 2020 was going to be the year of travel and eating out-we had finally built our savings back up enough after buying an apt 2 years ago... just in time for Corona to hit. We don't even know where the good restaurants in the new neighborhood are to support, and our old neighborhood is just a little too far away to get take out from.

So nothing really changed for us- although the only fights we've had have been around food- stress and anxiety is leading to different levels of "appropriate" stockpiles. I swear we've got sufficient food to make it for 4 weeks, while BF looks at the fridge and panics that it's not bursting and we need to get more ASAP. To be fair, It won't be the most amazing food by the end of the 4th week, but I think we can go a while before we'd be literally out of food.

Turns out a lot of it also comes down to what he can cook vs what I can make from pantry staples, and more importantly the mental inventory of food I have. I personally know I can make an amazing risotto out of the dried mushrooms, the sushi rice, a bullion cube and some water and fresh herbs from the planter, which would be a downright satisfying meal even under normal circumstances, but he looks at the same ingredients and doesn't see "food". So there's been a lot more explanation of how I would combine ingredients into a meal, and showing him how soaking the 2 cups of dried chickpeas in water makes 4+ cups cooked chickpeas (so no really we don't need a metric ton of chickpeas or beans), and talking about how instead of 2 pieces of roasted chicken over veg for meal per person, we'll make a stew and that same 4 pieces of meat will now last 3 meals instead of just 1.

So we're able to do one grocery run every 2-3 weeks(which mitigates my anxiety about going to stores frequently) and he feels better about the food we do have (which was his anxiety about not having enough).

We've still been going to the farmers market weekly, since it's a bit more spread out than usual, and the folks who go seem to take social distancing more seriously than at the supermarket, and with the conversations about food supplies, that's more than enough to ensure we have veggies and plenty of good food. (ITS RAMP SEASON BABY!!!)

In conclusion not much changed, except ramped (HAH!) up food security anxiety and more home cooking.
posted by larthegreat at 8:21 AM on April 15, 2020 [3 favorites]

Botanizer: this is my favorite: https://www.eurofooddeals.com/product/podravka-tea-time-pate-50g/

I also eat this for variety: https://www.eurofooddeals.com/product/argeta-chicken-pate-95g-argeta-kokosja-pasteta-95g/ though it's not that different.

I get them from the local chain grocery store - it's odd, but the closest grocery store always has them in stock and I've never found them anywhere else nearby, even other locations of the same chain. Looks like you might be able to get them from Amazon as well though I'm not sure about prices.
posted by Tehhund at 8:56 AM on April 15, 2020 [1 favorite]

I don't have the brainspace to run a fully-organized seed share/swap but I've got a small surplus of some things, perhaps we could do an offer/request MeTa about it?

Delivery and curbside pickup are a total shitshow here (Los Angeles), so I'm doing twice-weekly supply runs and decontamination since my spouse is slightly more vulnerable. The process is so hugely stressful that even with a list and the things I want in stock, I'm still forgetting things (hence the midweek run). But we're eating perfectly well, sorta avoiding the strongest urges to get super carby, and I really should use this opportunity to spelunk down to the bottom of my chest freezer and figure out what's taking up so much space in there.

I was already full-time WFH for years, and so was my team, so nothing has ostensibly changed at work really and jesus h, that is also entirely exhausting trying to continue on there as normal but with the additional overhead of stress and uncertainty and the knowledge that layoffs are a 'when', not an 'if', and trying to make sure I'm not in the bottom half of the pack at any given moment. I had a lot of PTO accrued so I've marked every Friday in April as off but am actually using those hours intermittently during the week and then just working in dark mode part of Friday (I'm a billable resource with targets I have to hit, the PTO reduces the number of hours I need to bill to hit my target), and that is helping, but this is all just a lot and it's hard and our projects are all in jeopardy because the customers are nervous as hell.

I always grow some backyard vegetables, but I am really ramping up this year. My seed-starting had been haphazard but fairly effective over the past 6 weeks, and I'm finding a place for everything that sprouted even if it was just intended as a backup. I hope that I spend the summer laughing at myself for panic-gardening, up to my eyeballs in tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants that I'm struggling to use up. I don't have any illusions about subsistence-level gardening in the LA suburbs, and I live a stone's throw from California farm country so it's not like access is a serious risk, but I see the stuff I grow as augmentation to processed, frozen, and shelf-stable foods in a time when we continue to have to limit trips out of the house. Nice to have a handful of fresh tomatoes on a Tuesday if you're only allowed to shop on Wednesdays.
posted by Lyn Never at 9:13 AM on April 15, 2020 [5 favorites]

Like Ghidorah's m*** club, some of the street vendors in the local area are either selling their stock, making prepared meals or helping the farm that supplies them get rid of meat. I have some flank in my freezer now from some lady I've never heard of. She had really nice nails though.

Waiting in long queues outside of supermarkets is boring and feels foreign, especially when they're out of something and you have to go into a neighbouring queue and hope that shop has some. I waited outside one for one hour, 20 minutes on Good Friday.

My acne and my eczema are out of control, so I've been looking for my favourite skincare product to help. It's an overseas product. People who ordered from that country have been waiting for deliveries for over six weeks.
posted by Ms. Moonlight at 9:35 AM on April 15, 2020 [1 favorite]

The biggest change to our shopping habits (besides masks and wipes) is that only one of us does the shop. I struggled a LOT with "should we go to the store (with all the precautions) or do delivery service", and a debate (likely here) made me realize that we are healthy, careful and able, so we will do a cautious shop and leave the delivery slots for people who are less of any of those things, who really NEED it.

I find myself oddly UN-stressed at the market - people here are largely kind, careful and friendly. Last week the shop was maybe low on bacon, this week maybe flour, and the former toilet tissue aisle wasteland was full today. The only aisle that has been consistently and persistently bare is the one where they stock antibacterial wipes, but we had plenty stocked up.

We have an honest-to-god milkman ("I hate you, Milkman Dan....") who brings our dairy every week, and they do set bags/boxes of fruit and veg if you want them, as well as a meat box, and a bunch of other local things like honey and jams.
posted by ersatzkat at 9:36 AM on April 15, 2020 [4 favorites]

Tehhund: thank you! It will bring back some great memories.
posted by Botanizer at 9:44 AM on April 15, 2020 [1 favorite]

one thing I am really enjoying in my local community is the increase in sharing. so I don't know if its just a bay area thing but everyone is baking! sourdough, pies etc., and there has been a really run on flour, yeast etc., so people are sharing! we traded some of our extra flour and some honey for sourdough starter from a friend (the bread came out great!) my facebook friends and neighbors are always offering stuff they have extra of. its just lovely. (also really loving the food porn on fb and insta. boredom can be very inspiring!)
posted by supermedusa at 9:45 AM on April 15, 2020

I stopped going to the grocery store. It's stressful to go. I have a good friend who does a once-a-week shop and she'll pick up a few things for me... half gallon of milk, can of tuna. I don't eat a lot when I eat at home so the food I was buying early for "just in case" is mostly still here. I am managing some food boredom so I've been looking at some recipe sites and making some weird (for me) stuff: chia pudding, peanut lentil soup.

We've got a lot of straight-to-people food producers here, so I got a pound of maple candy delivered (you can too), 20 lbs of potatoes straight from the ground, and a dozen eggs delivered to my steps because the egg lady's daughter is getting her license so they've been doing a lot of local deliveries for people.

I did pick up some Doritos last week, though, because YOLO.

Tuna sandwiches are my protein pill food and I LOVE them with a side of something crunchy so I bought... too many fritos when this all started and I'm not eating them quickly. Tuna's the only meat I've had in a month which has been just fine actually. Local farmers have been selling half-cows which is... too much cow.

Also that cheese contest I won? I got my last delivery right before this all started so my fridge is FULL OF CHEDDAR and I waver between wanting to give it all away (my usual tack when faced with abundance) or hanging on to it "just in case."

In short, it turns out being someone who is happy eating the same sandwich every day for a month will be okay as long as she doesn't run out of peanut butter or english muffins.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 10:12 AM on April 15, 2020 [9 favorites]

ctrl/f "garlic" gets a lot of hits in this thread.

Where I am right now, there is still no raw garlic available. On the upside, there hasn't been a single vampire sighting, let alone any attacks. So we remain cautiously optimistic.
posted by philip-random at 10:27 AM on April 15, 2020 [5 favorites]

I'm a good cook, but I'd become lazy after 2011, when I moved to my current neighbourhood which is (usually) full of amazing, affordable street food and takeout.

That's all gone now. But I'm rediscovering my cooking and baking skills. I'm still lucky enough to have a couple of small supermarkets and one fancy deli within walking distance (though I try not to visit any of them more than once a week). I feel a certain satisfaction when I'm able to improvise something delicious out of whatever's in the cupboard or whatever was available in the shop. I grow herbs on my terrace, and they've come into their own.

I'm isolated by myself, which is lonely but freeing. I can observe my own food preferences without having to account for anyone else's. Last week I was able to get a jar of anchovies, so yesterday I made a salty, fishy, garlicky putannesca sauce. No one's here to smell me!

But I do miss the food from my neighbourhood places. During the early days I tried to Fight Racism Deliciously by ordering from the awesome Chinese place as often as I could. But they saw the writing on the wall and shut down "for renovations" a couple weeks before lockdown. I hope they'll be all right, and that they'll be back when the world returns. They're consistently the best value on the street, and good friendly people.

The Indian place a couple doors down (also closed for now) did the loveliest tarka dal. It was golden yellow, and they'd fry garlic in ghee and pour that over it. Sag paneer and that dal were my usual takeout treat from them, and I think that may be my first stop when they reopen.

Those two places, plus an Italian that does great pizza, have been here since long before I moved to the neighbourhood. I miss them. Sure, I could probably do a not-bad job of making any of these foods myself-- but I can't make it as well as someone whose job it is, who's spent years doing it.
posted by Pallas Athena at 10:28 AM on April 15, 2020 [5 favorites]

It's amazing how much spaghetti a person can eat.
posted by pracowity at 10:40 AM on April 15, 2020 [4 favorites]

I had just gone off eggs and dairy when this hit, and had stocked up on oatmeal to supplement my usual two-egg breakfast. Irish oatmeal is some good shit, and so far I haven't tired of it. It's already spring in the Mid-Atlantic so the fruit situation is actually decent for now. And I'm foraging dandelion, sunchokes, wild garlic, and plantain, so we won't run out of greens.
posted by aspersioncast at 11:11 AM on April 15, 2020 [1 favorite]

Yesterday was my girlfriend's birthday. On my last shopping trip a week and a half ago, I picked up a Simple Mills chocolate bread/cake/cupcake mix, so yesterday I made her some cupcakes. Chopped up a Lily's milk chocolate bar and added it to the batter to add some chunks to the cupcakes. Then she asked if I could frost them. Reader, I hadn't even THOUGHT about frosting when I bought the mix. But, luckily, we had powdered sugar and butter and milk and vanilla extract and I hand-whipped up a batch of vanilla buttercream frosting. And, by 'hand-whipped', I mean "we don't own a hand or stand mixer" hand-whipped, just me, ingredients, a metal bowl and a wooden spoon.

It was exhausting but GLORIOUS. And now I have a new skill.
posted by hanov3r at 11:44 AM on April 15, 2020 [7 favorites]

I don't mind shopping, distancing is well organised, but something has changed and people are scared and edgy and more aggressive than they were. That I don't like, and thing about it is, people with jerkish tendencies seem to feel freer to let those rip. As I'm the opposite of physically intimidating sometimes lately when I'm out and about I've felt under pressure to maintain my space while maintaining my manners. Manners are a favour you do for yourself, I feel, but I'm sorry to have encountered people insecure enough to try and push others around.

To end on a better note I'm happy we found a way to make the Easter dinner work. As well as spouse and self there are 5 other adults who would normally have come round for a meal, and 3 little ones only one of whom likes a roast dinner. Lidl do a leg of lamb much cheaper than anywhere else, and it's quality. I had 2 of those and made honeyed lamb: you rub the joint all over with salt pepper garlic powder and ginger and leave it in the fridge overnight. next day smear it with a tablespoon or two of honey and roast it with ... half a small bottle of cider. Good cider, like Thatcher's. Stick it in the oven for half an hour on gas mark 7 (220C) and then for about one and a half hours on Gas mark 4 (177C) according to if you think it's cooked or not. Baste every half hour while you roast your potatoes and boil the cabbage. Add more cider if needed. Deglaze the pan for gravy, at this point you will know if you've been over enthusiastic with the salt and the honey, less is better than too much.

It's a simple enough meal, and I made cornbread muffins to Madhur Jaffrey's nice fusion recipe (Tex-Mex + Indian) they are good with the gravy. I managed to parcel out portions for everybody and hand them out frozen, had some VERY DISTANCED staggered visits in the garden, all on separate days, saw the tinies, and you know it's very hard not to be able to touch at all or explain to little ones why they can't come near, or why they can't come in the house. Still makes me sad. Had good feedback for the meal. Apart from that I really can't be bothered to cook AND YET waistbands seem tighter. So much for cheese sandwiches.
posted by glasseyes at 11:56 AM on April 15, 2020 [1 favorite]

We have my husband's birthday and Greek Easter coming up in the next few days, and in Greece, Easter is everything. People usually go to their home villages and have major feasting and socializing, and it's sad and weird that this won't happen. We've hosted "whoever is stuck in town" Easters for very many years since we're now way down south and my husband's family is way up north, and this will be the first time it's just us two. We did get lamb chops plus stuff to make our version of the Mageritsa soup for Easter eve with tons of greens and mushrooms and a turkey leg instead of offal, and are keeping Easter Sunday super simple with the chops and asparagus and new potatoes instead of all the various grilled meats and side dishes we usually make. We WILL be making the traditional red Easter eggs tomorrow, though. It will all be good!

We're very lucky and grateful. And we will be sending some Mageritsa upstairs to our neighbors, who we found out wouldn't be having any, so still a wee bit of community sharing.
posted by taz (staff) at 12:29 PM on April 15, 2020 [2 favorites]

I haven't been to a grocery since March 17 and have no intention of setting foot in a grocery any time soon. I've gotten delivery twice and that's stressful enough, all the disinfecting and trying to keep track of what I've touched to make sure I disinfect that afterward, etc. I don't even want to get delivery unless I have to.

Interestingly, I have an empty henhouse and raised beds so you can see that I was at one time a fairly homesteadingish person, but I'm just not feeling it now. All these people buying up the seeds and chicks must have a lot more energy than I do. I signed up for a CSA that starts at the end of May and I think I probably have enough frozen veg to last until then. And I still have quite a lot of frozen pork, beef, and fish.

I've been cooking like a madwoman but I'm also trying to lose weight, so a lot of it is going into the freezer.

I don't mind being quarantined at all. In fact I kind of love it. It's so quiet, and I get to spend a lot of time cooking and walking my dog. I wish normal life could be something like half-quarantine. Half as many grocery trips, half as much going to the office, half as much noise, twice as much dog walking, etc.
posted by HotToddy at 12:48 PM on April 15, 2020 [3 favorites]

Over the last 15+ years I tended to have lunch at work and quite often also breakfast. Between working long hrs and a long commute I then started to pick up dinner. So it turns out I’ve been cooking very little for many years now even though I generally enjoy planning and cooking meals. Well, I now prepare all the meals and am still surprised by the amount of dishes and running the dishwasher every day.

With cooking only intermittently the last few years I have tended to rely on store cupboard ingredients and frozen meat and veg so I could cook nice meals without food waste. That has served me well now. When the lockdown started here in Switzerland the supermarket was out of the usual suspects, it was bizarre, I had never seen empty shelves here before. But there weren’t any long lines either. Well, they managed to get a handle on stock levels and the only things they were still out of at the end of last week were yeast, specialty flours like spelt and rye as well as spelt bread.

Not withstanding the fact that I live alone and am bored out of my mind my diet is much better now that I cook everything. A lot more fruit and veg, less sugar and fat. I try to avoid buying junk food. If I feel the urge I’ll buy a single portion. The only thing I was really worried about running out of was coffee. I mean even if I do run out of other things I am an adult with preferences but few hard restrictions so whatever, I’ll just make a dent in the metric ton of tins of chickpeas I found in my cupboard. Something I have started to buy is rotisserie chicken. No need to cook on the day of purchase and I can make a load of quick meals out of the meat.

I have been watching cooking and baking videos like they are going out of fashion and have been trying a load of new recipes. That bit is fun. And given that the coop had one of its wine promotions on the week before the lockdown started I was also well stocked up on wine and prosecco so I am all set for all these remote drinks I’ve been enjoying with people.
posted by koahiatamadl at 1:05 PM on April 15, 2020 [1 favorite]

philip-random, I have also not seen fresh garlic for sale in more than a month. I think (hope?) it has more to do with supply chain hiccups than with people hoarding it as a home remedy? Either way, I ordered a huge jar of pre-minced garlic from Costco.com and it was terrible. I've never used pre-minced garlic before in my life and I don't know if this is just how it is or if there's something wrong with it. After that experience, I paid an absolutely insane price ($20 a pound, I think) for some fresh bulbs off Etsy, of all places. I wasn't too sure that I wasn't getting scammed, but it did eventually arrive, and it is good.

I love to cook, but for the first couple of weeks I was too stressed to have much of an appetite, so a bunch of stuff got made and then went right into the chest freezer. For better or worse, my anxiety has settled down a little, and now I'm both cooking and eating plenty. I actually enjoy the jigsaw puzzle of using stuff we already have instead of just going out to buy a missing ingredient --- it gets my creativity going in a way that just executing a recipe doesn't. Necessity is the mother of invention, I guess.

Not that there's over-much necessity, if we're honest. There are only two of us, and although I hadn't thought of myself as a food hoarder, I'm not sure there's any other word for it. We haven't been to the store in 3 weeks and I'm only now starting to run out of important things like onions, carrots, canned tomatoes. As long as the power stays on and the freezer doesn't break down, I think the two of us could live off the food in this house for literally a year, at least. We could probably go at least another two months without even significant compromises, now that there are fresh herbs available in the garden. I guess I'm not sorry that's the case, given the circumstances, but it's been a weird blind spot for me about my behavior and I think I need to work on unpacking it once things start getting back to normal. In the meantime, though, we're just making the best of it. Pan pizza, chicken tacos, Parmesan crackers, and way, way too much wine.

If any MeFites are in need of yeast, I have enough SAF Red Instant in the freezer to last me the next 10 years. (I recently used it to make the aforementioned pan pizza, so I know it's still good even though it's old.) I don't have any glassine, but I can probably fashion some kind of envelope out of parchment paper and send you a half-teaspoon in the mail. MeMail me if you want some.
posted by slenderloris at 1:10 PM on April 15, 2020 [2 favorites]

We weren't able to do our usual pre-Passover shopping, because that would require traveling out of state, and that would have caused a mandatory quarantine, which is not an option because we needed someone available to shop for my parents, who are themselves under a mandatory quarantine. So we are eating kitniyot this year because we have to work with what we have.

We've paused the past two weeks for Passover, but I had done a promotional trial for Hello Fresh at the end of February because the mister was travelling and it ensured Kid Ruki and I got fed. That was exceptional timing. Having four meals delivered each week keeps us shopping less and got us through the initial panic buying phase. I am so grateful for that.
posted by Ruki at 1:14 PM on April 15, 2020 [1 favorite]

I've actually lost 7 pounds since we started quarantining, which was something I'd been trying to do prior with much more modest success. No more fries or fried chicken sandwiches, way more veggies (we're lucky to have a local CSA as well as a butcher nearby that also sells groceries; both deliver) and way less wasted food. Also: far less drinking. Grumpybearbride scored a pound of instant red yeast online and we've got a 25lb bag of flour on the way, so lots of baking in our future. She made amazing scones the other day and now I'm itching to whip up some clotted cream. I mentioned in another thread that our sourdough starter, Alfonso, is amazing. Can't wait to make some bread with him!

We've become enamored of celeriac, collard rabe, mushrooms of all varieties, radishes and baby kale. Everything just tastes better these days, likely because the ingredients are so fresh. And apples straight from the orchard! This pattern of shopping will likely persist after the lockdown ends because the quality of food is so much higher and we don't spend time going to the grocery store.

So the improved culinary situation - with the notable absence of half n half - has been a bright spot which helps counter the isolation and lack of outdoor time.
posted by grumpybear69 at 1:19 PM on April 15, 2020 [2 favorites]

Both my partner and I work in kitchens. We usually only have a couple apples, bananas, eggs, cheese and tortillas on hand. And maybe like some pizza rolls and cookies. Because we never ever cook and eat at home. We eat at work, and bring home leftovers, and snack.

posted by Grandysaur at 1:19 PM on April 15, 2020 [20 favorites]

grumpybear69, my husband has also lost 7-10 pounds since the quarantine. I'm not a particularly healthy cook, but just eating homemade food instead of fast food or a restaurant meal for lunch every day has caused him to drop weight without even trying. (He's certainly not drinking less, and neither am I, unfortunately.) I'm envious of both of you!
posted by slenderloris at 1:32 PM on April 15, 2020 [2 favorites]

I’m isolating with my sister, who is a master homemaker, which means delicious homemade food nearly every day (so I eat more), but also a pantry stocked with... not my snacks (so I eat less snacky stuff). On balance, I’m probably still consuming more calories (see also: a family that can afford beer/wine with nearly every dinner!), but it’s hard to eat any less because the food is sooooooo tasty.

In two months I’ll be back on my own and working in a hospital, so I’m trying to not worry, and just enjoy it while I can.
posted by ocherdraco at 1:45 PM on April 15, 2020 [1 favorite]

A nice cup of tea and a biscuit.
posted by Wordshore at 1:46 PM on April 15, 2020 [5 favorites]

Arthur Dent would be envious.
posted by Greg_Ace at 1:57 PM on April 15, 2020 [1 favorite]

We stopped going into the grocery store, because people here are terrible about social distancing, so we've been doing Walmart's online ordering and pick up. The user interface is primitive but functional, and they seem to limit selection. Oh well. It's worth it.

I keep waiting for them to limit wine and bourbon, but so far, so good.

Last week, my partner was feeling rice-and-bean insecure. Understand, we last ate rice sometime back in 2019. But never mind, he gets to feel vulnerable, so I donned my mask and darted into the Jewel to find a whopping 10-lb bag of rice, plus a nice variety of dried beans. That made him happy, which made me happy.
posted by Short Attention Sp at 1:59 PM on April 15, 2020 [2 favorites]

as seen on my Facebook:

"So I guess 2019 will come to be known as Peak Foodie"
posted by philip-random at 2:13 PM on April 15, 2020

We kept cooking different meals and ended up with heaps of leftovers. I think we are finally down to only one type of leftovers in the fridge. I bought a pack of Tim Tams today, even though they were over $5 a pack. I miss chocolate biscuits so much. My can of Milo runs out tomorrow and the Canadian version is undrinkable, so I've had to resort to buying Ovaltine. I'm just hoping it doesn't also have a different, sweeter, recipe here.

I'm eating better than I was before quarantine, due to the lack of take out lunch everyday and not drinking Coke or Pepsi, although that may change since my work has me starting shift work next week and I may need caffeine.
posted by Kris10_b at 2:20 PM on April 15, 2020 [2 favorites]

This all makes me grateful for that period in 2002/2003 where I had a massive crisis of occupation, decided to quit Tech, and go to school to become a chef.

(Spoiler - that didn't happen, and I happily rejoined the Tech workforce in a position that was better for me)

With that first Unemployment check, I invested in a Wüsthof 8" Chef's Knife, along with a Wüsthof serrated knife and a Henkel paring knife. They live in a bright orange knife bag. I have been using the Chef's knife almost daily now, since I'm cooking a lot at home, and having a good knife? So worth it.
posted by spinifex23 at 2:24 PM on April 15, 2020 [3 favorites]

I feel like I'm doing quarantine cooking set at the extra hard difficulty level because of this gods damned gallbladder situation. I am a good cook, a pescetarian and I'm also sort of a food hoarder, and I had lots and lots of food stashed away, so all good, right? I'm too poor to eat out much and I usually enjoy cooking and baking. So I was set. Then I had the double whammy of my gallbladder going kaput and my large adult son moving home for the duration.

Well. I can keep the gallbladder from going nuts if I eat basically no fat and I do mean no fat, like, I am doing my utmost to keep it under 5 g a day. I have been okay up til now if it goes a bit over, like, maybe to 8, depending on what time it is - morning fats are easier than night fats, go figure - but yesterday it went berserk again. That was because on Monday my poor son, who is a restaurant cook and a good one (when there are restaurants) was like, please, please can we get takeout? And we decided that probably I would be able to eat a bowl of veggie and tofu ramen from the only place that was open. Reader, we were wrong. So wrong.

So now I'm recovering from a bad 24 hours where all I ate was two pieces of dry toast while he has made a few perfectly normal meals that I can't eat. There's nothing like smelling delicious food you absolutely cannot have. Now we will go back to the weird, modified mostly vegan diet that seems to be all I can digest. I feel bad for him; he says, what's for dinner? And I say, brightly, oil free chickpea and kale curry! And the look that passes briefly over his face is priceless. I feel bad for me because I miss french fries so badly and I want pizza, I just want to order a damn pizza but gods only know if I'll ever have pizza again. Sigh. And I'm just kind of hugely irritated at the whole thing, and the fact that since this isn't an emergency it will be several more months before the gallbladder goes, unless it bursts and becomes an emergency, in which case I might die, so in the meantime I will have a couple more pretzel crisps and a wasa. And a fat free Fig Newton, those are a huge delight.

in shopping news I already was trying only to shop once every two weeks for budgetary reasons, so this hasn't been much of a shift, except large adult son is, well, LARGE and he likes to eat. He also wants to eat meat and drink milk and crazy freak food like that. ;) Therefore we are buying way more stuff and running out of it more. I think I might have to go back to the grocery store this weekend - we are out of lemons. I need lemons. - and I'm miffed. The stores here are still out of rice and dried beans and yeast; only rarely have tofu and for some reason it's been impossible to find plain seltzer in cans, but I got way too much flour at Costco, which was a relief.
posted by mygothlaundry at 2:27 PM on April 15, 2020 [4 favorites]

I've got a large freezer in the basement and decent storage space in the kitchen so there's always something to eat and I don't get too annoyed if something is out of stock at the grocery store - I'll just pick it up the next week. Assuming it isn't yeast. But the friends who I groupchat with have become hoarders, like one of them texted last week that he'd just bought 100kg of Japanese rice because he was worried that exports might dry up, so whenever I see empty shelves at the grocery store I know its because of people like my friends and I can't get too annoyed with them. Just slightly exasperated.

We've been doing a lot of baking at home. I, like everyone else, am trying to make sourdough. My bread hasn't turned out any good yet but the pancakes and waffles made from the discard have been amazing. Might be turning a corner on the bread.

The one food-related thing that's surprised me is the amount of fruit peels and bits of vegetables that we generate. My compost bin is almost full and I had emptied it in the beginning of March. I'll probably post an Ask Me question about other ways to make use of stuff that would otherwise go into the compost. I was able to use the zest of one (1) grapefruit for some cookies, but the rest of the peel was still there and we've been going through 10 grapefruits a week of late.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 2:30 PM on April 15, 2020

I have gradually switched over to decaf coffee (sin!) just in case I become sick and end up with caffeine withdrawal on top of everything else. Not as tasty but I add in hot chocolate mix (dark cocoa powder, cream and sugar) so it's really jamoca!

I eat out for lunch only once per month so the cooking thing is similar but easier since there's more time.

Unfortunately there is always the call from the chocolate and cookie tins so I am fattening the curves.

This week I am also having one glass of wine per night (it's a treat that requires taking an antihistamine since I'm allergic to sulfites.)

I shop once a week, mainly to keep mom supplied. I have things that I can do something with just because of hurricane preparedness and having been couch-cushion-change poor in the past. I have a 3 week (rolling) supply stocked for mom in case I am sick.

But I keep checking the TP aisle and it's always bare; that's the only concern I have for her supplies. Since she has dementia, she doesn't understand that supplies are limited and isn't conserving and is unlikely to be able to adapt to alternatives. Lovely to be mostly unaware of chaos.

Seedlings are started: peas, beans, a few tomatoes, lettuce, herbs, radish and cucumbers. Winter squash will start soon and a watermelon for fun. My blueberry bush has wee berries starting and the fig has figlets. This year I will find a way to keep the racoons and squirrels and birds off them so I get some harvest. The blackberries will come on later and aren't as appetizing to wildlife. Since I'm only feeding a couple of folks it doesn't take many plants to augment supplies.

The main thing I'm conserving is cheese. It's one of my favorite foods.
posted by mightshould at 2:45 PM on April 15, 2020 [2 favorites]

Rice Krispies. I am now addicted to them. No sugar, just a bit of skim milk. Must get more...
posted by Splunge at 2:48 PM on April 15, 2020 [1 favorite]

Oh, grumpybear! If you're getting into celeriac, I think you'd like this soup I made recently - you just need a whole 1-pound celeriac root, 10 celery stalks, 3 leeks, and a couple quarts of chicken stock. Dice up all the veggies, throw them into a pan with the stock, bring to a gentle boil, and then turn down the heat and simmer for 25 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. That's it.

Discovered that in one of my cookbooks recently - it's a super-easy, super-comforting and light soup that somehow feels very spring-like.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:21 PM on April 15, 2020 [1 favorite]

Jessamyn, if you’re enjoying the crunchiness of Fritos as a side to your tuna sandwich, might I suggest putting them in the sandwich? Potato chips or corn chips in a sandwich gives a sandwich a wonderful crunch texture that, while not necessary, adds a little umph to each bite.
posted by Ghidorah at 3:50 PM on April 15, 2020 [5 favorites]

The house smells like rosemary and hot olive oil this evening. Since finding a few lbs of KA's whole grain whole wheat flour on the last shopping run I've been trying my hand at the sourdough starter trend. I had some flour in the pantry already but not much and part of why I was discouraged at first was realizing there's "discard." I read the starter recipe in full, and the supplementary tips, and learned there are a bunch of simple recipes for using the discard.

So today I made wheat thins. Yesterday it was crumpets, and the day before it was biscuits. So far crumpets are my favorite, so sweet and delicious and they don't require additional flour, just the discard. The crackers are still cooling but from nibbling the burned little corner pieces I can tell they're going to be excellent as well.

In The Before Times (Is ITBT a thing yet?) I had a wild craving for udon. My suburb is either a food desert or I haven't lived here long enough to discover the hidden gems, so prepared udon has been difficult to come by. Thankfully there's a gigantic Seafood Mart nearby and they had non-frozen, non-freeze-dried udon 3 packs for cheap! (It's not exactly fresh, per se, but better than frozen and waaaay better than freeze-dried, so...) I stocked up and am still running in good supply. Stir-fry has been the staple prep, and in the early stages of my satiation I switched from meat to tempeh. Local supermarket usually has a few bricks of it on hand, and it takes up the green onion flavor so well!

It's probably some sort of heresy, but chopped cabbage, broccoli, a few carrots browned in oil and set aside; little tempeh cubes fried up in oil, add onions, add some sesame seeds, toss until golden; microwave noodle packet for like 30s and dump on top of tempeh; douse with some sesame oil and fry it up some more; glub in some aji-mirin and some soy sauce and make sure to scrape the bottom of the pan; dump the veggies back in and toss until too hungry to wait any longer then top with more sesame seeds and some more soy sauce. I eat this like 5 times a week, it's amazing.

Substituted shallots for the onions twice cuz I had them on hand and it was good too. In the course of doing this realized I could sprout and plant the shallot ends. Cabbage ends too. They're in some re-used recycling on the back wall as you read this, growing little rooties and waiting for their spot in the ground.

My situation is incredibly fortunate, that I can afford these foods and have the means to prepare them. The guilt I feel makes the food taste better.
posted by carsonb at 4:40 PM on April 15, 2020 [1 favorite]

I made matzoh ball soup from almost-scratch today. Again, pleased to have most of the ingredients in my kitchen and to have found a way to happily while away several hours.

might I suggest putting them in the sandwich?

My boyfriend is forever PUT THEM IN THE SANDWICH but I like them on the side since it's easier to tell just how much crunch to adjust every bite with.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 5:31 PM on April 15, 2020 [3 favorites]

Overall, we’ve been lucky, with no real disruptions. I’ve had to readjust my attitude towards shopping and meal planning, though. I’ve worked at home for the past decade, with a somewhat flexible schedule, and in that time, I’ve come to treat shopping as a recreational activity, and a chance to get out of the house and interact with other people. Shopping for a week at a time for a family of three has been an adjustment. I’ve gotten over my trepidation of leaving uncooked meat in the fridge for more than a day or two, at the very least. I find myself approaching the “can I eat this” questions on AskMe quite differently these days, too. Our stores in central New Jersey have been reasonably well stocked (especially Wegmans), and I swear the quality of the produce has actually improved.
posted by mollweide at 5:35 PM on April 15, 2020

Okay, I watched that BA quarantine pasta video linked in the blue and made myself some sardine pasta. Big Flavor! Delicious.
posted by HotToddy at 5:50 PM on April 15, 2020 [1 favorite]

I live with people oozing with foresight, who started stocking us up back in January, a little at a time. So by the time lockdown hit, we were ready for several months of it at more or less our usual style and quantity of eating. The few things we run out of, we're usually able to stock up again pretty easily - things like milk, cream, half & half (that's me), butter, eggs.

I'm on furlough, having been determined to be officially of no use during a pandemic, so I have a lot of time on my hands and I'm doing a lot of stuff I wouldn't normally do. I'm trying new recipes, particularly a lot of baking. Tomorrow, I'm gonna make bagels! And I'm super into that reddit with all the gif recipes now -- it all looks so deceptively easy, I can barely contain myself from cooking everything in sight.

I've also managed, finally and completely, to get over my thing about leftovers. I grew up with brothers, and the certain knowledge that anything left in the fridge after 24 hours had something deeply, deeply wrong with it. Up until March 10 or so, I didn't even want to eat perfectly fresh food that came out of the refrigerator, just in case. Then it was a like a switch got flipped in my brain, and now I'm the one wrapping up everything after we eat, labeling portions, and shoving them into baggies. I eat the leftovers, too! It's almost like being a functional, frugal adult.
posted by invincible summer at 6:13 PM on April 15, 2020 [3 favorites]

I'm yet another person who now finds shopping stressful. Not even the act of shopping itself, but the getting ready for it: the making a shopping list, trying to plan a menu for the week, figuring out what I might want to eat for the next week or two...it's all become such an ordeal. When this whole thing kicked off, I tried to go with buying versatile staples that I could make into multiple different meals, plus some stuff that would make for cromulent enough struggle meals, like peanut butter and bread for sandwiches, jarred pasta sauce plus cans of beans plus pasta, etc. But even that has presented a hurdle when I'm sitting at home all "well, I could make an omelet. Or some ramen. Or some pantry pasta. But uuughhh..."

So I decided, fuck it, and signed up for a couple of meal subscription services. No regrets, you guys. It's pricey, yeah, but not that much more pricey than my pre-pandemic grocery and takeout habits, and my god, the sheer relief of receiving exactly the right amount of food in a box with exactly three specific recipes to make is hard to overstate. I initially only signed up for Blue Apron, and found it to be such a damn lightening of my mental load that I signed up for another service too so nearly all my meals for a week are covered. This isn't the kind of service I would need or want in normal times--I used to get by on batch cooking a couple meals on the weekends and supplementing with takeout or making something quick and easy--but these are not normal times, and I've given myself permission to do whatever it takes to manage keeping myself fed with reasonably healthy food.

Anyway, Blue Apron informs me I can give one free box to three people if they're first-time subscribers (though I think you still have to give them payment info and I don't know about any other fine print), so any interested Mefites are welcome to memail me with their names and email addresses.
posted by yasaman at 6:15 PM on April 15, 2020 [7 favorites]

I got the side-eye at Costco for asking for the location of a non-necessity in the store (folding table, which I bought to work from home). Then I bought like a year's supply of trail mix too, so I'm all set for food and guilt free to boot.
posted by SpacemanStix at 7:01 PM on April 15, 2020 [3 favorites]

A very few months ago my mother-in-law, of Italian descent, heard of a local Italian importer that she wanted to check out after sampling a neighbor’s fantastic red sauce. So we each came home with a case of canned imported Italian tomatoes. Turned out to have been providential. I’d been traveling before the public news of just how bad this was going to be hit, so my pantry was pretty low. But by golly, we have canned tomatoes, flour, and lots of herbs. We had some really fantastic pizzas until the yeast ran out. I’ve never seen anybody but me buying yeast around here before this, but even the places I could get last-minute pre-hurricane eggs were out of yeast.

I have multiple vulnerabilities that this virus hits, so none of us can safely go to the grocery. And I don’t want to bring anything fresh home that won’t be cooked or scrubbed with hot water (and preferably soap). So while we’re having some groceries delivered, we’ll leave the delicious fresh bakery things to others. Unless we make them ourselves!

My son makes excellent naan bread, and I am an old hand at soda bread and biscuits. I anxiously started Sourdough from scratch for the first time a few weeks ago, knowing wasting flour would be a problem, but it’s turned out really well. (Except for the pizza. Anybody with a good sourdough pizza recipe, please share!) We haven’t named the starter yet, but I’ve been able to share with neighbors, so she may be named after the community. (To me, starter’s a she. In our traditions, starter’s called “the mother”. But we may switch to “they.”)

My mostly-vegetarian son, sequestered with his parents, has been cooking incredible curries (that he taught himself while away at college), while I’ve been revisiting the foods of my rural WV youth. The house smells pretty amazing. We’re so, so fortunate, and very aware that not everyone has these options. Whatever happens, I’m extremely thankful that we’ve had this opportunity to nurture each other.

AND my mail order yeast arrived today! Any Mefites in dire yeast need, I have stamps and mailer envelopes and will happily share in whatever amounts will fit in these envelopes. Memail me. Or if you’re in South Florida, you can stop by for a hands-free pickup. Locals can leave with a sourdough start too if they want.
posted by Nancy_LockIsLit_Palmer at 7:49 PM on April 15, 2020 [1 favorite]

I got my ass kicked today, almost 100 orders in 4 hours again. Sold out of fried chicken again. Amazing support from the community. Amazing guests except the ones who park in the gravel parking lot instead of getting as close to the front door as possible. I break into a trot and advise them to pull up to the door next time. Of course now my left knee (smashed open in 2001) is feeling a wee twitchy so tomorrow we are roping off the lot.

Tonight I brought home an order of chicken wings plain with ranch on the side, an order of Brazilian beans and rice with steak tips med rare and of course a big honking order of that amazing chicken curry. Having a whisky and gonna dig into the curry shortly.

We also had papadum and potato samosas. Sold out of the samosas also.

The shellfishers have been coming up with neat yummy ideas, selling right off the boat and now, I think, delivering bulk shellfish to peoples homes. Clams, oysters and scallops. I can shuck clams, struggle with shucking oysters, and the scallops come OUT OF THE SHELL. Oh hell yeah We are getting the scallops soon, I'll let you know what we do with them. Grilling season is coming. We can grill our fears away. And eat amazing scallops.
posted by vrakatar at 7:58 PM on April 15, 2020 [16 favorites]

A friend got me a care package from Uwajimaya (a Japanese grocery store chain started in Seattle). So now I have plenty of miso paste (awase and red reduced sodium), *good* mirin, some ume (Japanese pickled plum), and a couple of bottles of Ramune soda. And even though I'm not a huge pork eater, I also got some ground pork.

I'm set for homemade ramen making supplies for quite a while! And the ume I'll cut up and put into rice balls.

Dinner was an order of takeout orange chicken from their refrigerated deli section, and it was SO good.
posted by spinifex23 at 8:45 PM on April 15, 2020 [2 favorites]

I just ordered a 25-lb sack of fancy local organic whole wheat flour for like $1/pound, through my CSA! Whole wheat flour is otherwise nowhere to be found, round these parts. Half the sack will go a friend, and the rest can handily fit into the freezer.
posted by the_blizz at 8:52 PM on April 15, 2020 [2 favorites]

I used to go out to eat alll the time and I love it and miss it so much, but even before this happened I wanted to cook more at home. I have really been enjoying whipping up small entertainments. My partner does most of the meals but I have done a lot of cooking-adjacent stuff: baked bread (which I have actually been doing for a couple years but of course I feel like an internet cliche), made kombucha, made overnight oats and muesli, cold brewed tea and coffee, made soft-boiled eggs, made some fairly-successful matzo, and other such things.

Occasionally we order in contactless delivery (and tip a ton, of course), including cocktails, which are a delight and a joy forever, especially the mezcal Negronis.
posted by ferret branca at 8:57 PM on April 15, 2020 [4 favorites]

(man, that is all exactly what a boozy ferret would say, isn't it)
posted by ferret branca at 8:58 PM on April 15, 2020 [4 favorites]

I just did my first grocery shop since this whole thing started. Usually my husband and I go together (date night!) but obviously since COVID-19 that's not a good idea. And he actually enjoys shopping and I don't so I've let him do it the two times we've had to shop since mid March or so. But today I was itching for an outing and he was busy, and we were running out of food, so I got to go!

The good thing was that everything was back on the shelves except toilet paper and flour. Last time he shopped, a couple of weeks ago, the shops were all out of TP, flour, meat, milk, eggs, rice, pasta, all canned vegetables, anything frozen, and most bathroom and cleaning products. Now it's almost normal again.

The last few years we got into a habit of shopping a few times a week, and whenever one of us got a craving for something, we'd just duck to the supermarket for it right away. We often decided what was for dinner on the spur of the moment, and stopped at the shops for the ingredients. The way we have to shop and eat now, by contrast, is like a return to my childhood, and it made me feel simultaneously nostalgic and also stressed, because I was happy to not live like that anymore.

When I was a kid we weren't well-off, and we couldn't shop until payday (and sometimes not then). So like many families, towards the end of the week/fortnight meals would be slightly weird combos of whatever we could find in the back of the pantry. Snacks, fresh produce, and expensive food would be bought in very limited supplies and you'd usually get to eat them the day of the grocery shop, maybe the next day and then they'd either be doled out in very restricted quantities over the next few weeks (1 cookie a day, weekdays only!), or would run out after a couple of days. So there'd be days where we'd eat fresh vegetables and fruit, a large normal dinner, and have cookies or chips at snack time, and then there'd be the days near the end of the pay period where dinner was spam and pasta, veges came from a can, and there were no more snacks left.

That's exactly the life I'm living again, just not for financial reasons. It's so weird, but yet so funny how easy and familiar those patterns are. My husband grew up in a much better-off family and this is all new and strange to him. In fact, he looked at the pantry yesterday and was like, "Okay, we do need to do the shopping again. We can't put it off anymore. There is nothing to eat at all." and I was like, well, I can still see some onions and cans of beans, and I think we have frozen peas and bread in the freezer, plus there's peanut butter, sugar and milk powder. So I think we can do another four or five days, no problem.
posted by lollusc at 9:04 PM on April 15, 2020 [8 favorites]

I got some Instaferm yeast today by following a suggestion made in response to an askMefi question - look for SAF or amounts larger than a packet of Fleischmann’s - so I don’t have to feel left out of the bakefest anymore!
posted by Selena777 at 11:03 PM on April 15, 2020

I’ve been avoiding going out shopping because I live with my elderly parents in London and want to be super risk-averse. Can’t get a supermarket delivery slot for love nor money, but we’ve found some of the fruit and veg wholesalers who normally supply restaurants have started doing fruit and veg boxes. Which is great except… how many potatoes and carrots do they think we can eat? It’s a bad time of year for a pandemic, too early for a lot of fresh British produce.

I had a go at making sourdough bread, which was successful if the criteria is ‘is this recognisably bread?’ but a bit too dense and chewy to be ideal. Sourdough pizza is the next thing to try, which can’t possibly be bad.

I'll probably post an Ask Me question about other ways to make use of stuff that would otherwise go into the compost. I was able to use the zest of one (1) grapefruit for some cookies, but the rest of the peel was still there and we've been going through 10 grapefruits a week of late.

Oleo-Saccharum! For cocktails or just flavouring your water.
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 1:00 AM on April 16, 2020 [3 favorites]

My partner's friend and his wife own a restaurant and are trying to keep going with curbside delivery. So my partner-- who is still working outside the home-- stops and buys a couple of meals' worth of food from them every other day. Luckily, it is solid, everyday kind of food: kebabs, soups, pita bread. But it's still restaurant food and it's either the fat or the sodium, or it's both, but my SHOES are getting tight. And I really miss fruits and vegetables. My hat goes off to you people who are feeding kids and/or elders though all of this!
posted by BibiRose at 4:20 AM on April 16, 2020 [2 favorites]

I'm saving money on gas by not commuting 17 miles each way, five days a week. I'm also saving money on food by not buying lunch (subsidized, from one of our several corporate cafeterias) five days a week. We home-cook meals a little more often, but still get pizzas on Wednesday nights from one of our favorite spots in town. (My go-to is red sauce, pepperoni, kalamata olives and smoked mozzarella.) I suppose we're drinking about as frequently as we did in the before times.

I am definitely eating more Cheez-its, and we're both eating more Oreos. Walgreen's is two blocks away, for a nice stroll after my morning Zoom meetings are over.
posted by emelenjr at 5:42 AM on April 16, 2020 [1 favorite]

I have been reading about the garlic woes everyone is having and thinking "well at least I have some here in Texas!" Now that I think about it, though, my grocery store has plenty of garlic but it's all fancy organic giant purple garlic. I guess we do have a supply chain issue with regular garlic as well.
posted by tofu_crouton at 5:48 AM on April 16, 2020

One thing that's made my quarantine much more pleasant: Six Seasons by Joshua McFadden. It's a vegetable-focused cookbook with an Italian bent, by the chef behind Portland's Ava Gene's. It's a book where I've never had a recipe from it go wrong, and I've even enjoyed ones that include ingredients we normally don't like. It's been particularly helpful in this new world for a few reasons:

* He uses a very consistent set of pantry ingredients. Once you buy red wine vinegar and raisins and ricotta for one recipe, you're good to go on several more.
* Because it's so consistent, it's a book that I feel like I've really learned from. There are some tricks he reuses that have upped the quality of all of my home-cooked meals.
* Most recipes are extremely flexible but he sternly warns you when they are not. If a recipe only works with fresh-from-the-farm small turnips, he says so. Otherwise you can generally swap any green thing for any other green thing, or any root vegetable for any other root vegetable. With pretty much any recipe in the book that has meat, you can just leave the meat out.
* Despite being chef-y, most recipes are pretty quick and simple. There's a pasta recipe I've made several times that takes about 10 minutes.
* When all I had was rutabaga, he offered me three delicious ways to cook rutabaga.
posted by tofu_crouton at 6:06 AM on April 16, 2020 [3 favorites]

New development: we're seriously debating the acquisition of a waffle maker. (it's something we've gone back and forth on for years, Arguments against: pancakes are sufficient breakfast goods, waffle makers are big/bulky/we don't have a bunch of storage Arguments for: WAFFLES, ability to waffle non-waffle foods. Savory waffles for dinner)

Point of contention: I want to call it "the 'Rona", the bf accepts no name for waffle maker.

Any waffle maker recommendations?
posted by larthegreat at 6:07 AM on April 16, 2020 [2 favorites]

I like the idea of you whispering to the wafflemaker, the name a secret for just you two.
posted by tofu_crouton at 6:09 AM on April 16, 2020 [2 favorites]

Argument pro: falafel waffles.
posted by Too-Ticky at 6:17 AM on April 16, 2020 [5 favorites]

Argument pro: tot waffles.
posted by hanov3r at 7:05 AM on April 16, 2020 [5 favorites]

He went the Thursday before Easter and we think we can get through two weeks based on that stock-up (because we have a farm box subscription that keeps us in produce). The ham was like one entire week of meals for it. Next week will involve a lot of frozen chicken and beans and rice.

This is the part that is killing me. I live 284 steps from a large grocery store but am trying to go only every 10-14 days. It means dealing with more slightly decayed produce but the upside is that there is less chance I treat myself to a 800kcal double chocolate muffin.

Planning meals is great for ensuring you use up leftovers and are more efficient and cost effective plus it keeps the diet under control but it really kind of yanks a bit of the joy out food because you just don't get to satisfy cravings or whims like you could when you could Just It Time shop. Even with bigger than usual grocery shops our spending in the last two months is down about 35% and I feel a bit bad about keeping my cash out of the economy but every time I feel like supporting the Indian restaurant we like down the street we have leftovers we need to eat!
posted by srboisvert at 7:05 AM on April 16, 2020 [2 favorites]

Since I work essential retail (rhymes with Schmarget), and since our store has a market section I've been OK on many of our pantry and fresh items. After that initial wave of panic buying wiped out basically all of our fresh meat, dairy, and produce, the resupply didn't take long. My store doesn't have the most extensive produce selection, but the supermarket nearby also hit at least 80% of a full produce department pretty quickly. I've been able to grab everything we've needed either at work or with a quick stop, but the health department enacted some new social distancing measures that I think have now put people back into panic shopping mode. Instead of large crowds in the stores there are now lines outside them, but maybe people are starting to get the memo, a little? I hope? It does mean I can't just run into the store (I mean, a store I'm not already working in) for one or two things, though.

Replenishment of pantry items has been slower and more sporadic, but because I'm in the store five days a week I was able to grab not just flour but King Arthur flour (bread, all purpose, and even white whole wheat) when supplies came in. I already had the bulk yeast supply of a baker with a Costco card. We've got a variety of dried beans on hand, but that did mean that my wife looked at me funny when I bought a bunch of celery. "You don't eat much celery." "Yeah, but we have a lot of beans and other reasons to make mirepoix." "Right." We also had just bought rice before all the restrictions came down, but we've also been eating rice more lately for … some … reason so I did, in fact, buy more rice when that got restocked.

Today, though, I'm going to try Costco because our last visit was in February and we're now out of almost everything we buy there. We made a list last night to figure out if it was worth trying to go. The list got long. "At least this is just the stuff we always buy, not panic hoarding." "Or maybe every Costco trip is a hoarding trip?"
posted by fedward at 7:59 AM on April 16, 2020 [2 favorites]

I'm realizing that I'm going to need to do a grocery run this weekend....there's one or two staples that we're running really low on, mostly celery and fruit. And paper towels. (We're good for toilet paper, surprisingly.)

Prior to this my roommates and I have always been pretty independent in our grocery habits - each of us shopping for ourselves. But these times are a little different, and my current roommate and I have been a little more collaborative, with each of us checking in with the other if one of us is venturing out. This has actually cut both our shopping down a bit - it's gotten us both into the "plan ahead" mindset, and it's easier for one of us to pick up the extra head of garlic or whatever for the other if that's all they need.

I've also discovered that the trick where I am is to prioritize the less-popular chain supermarket; it draws less of a crowd than Wegman's - and to go right when they open at 7 am. I did that last weekend and was able to walk right in; the store has a capacity limit they're enforcing, and they hadn't hit it yet when I got there. When I walked out there was a line forming on the sidewalk.

...Of course, the drawback is that I have to wake up early enough to get to the supermarket by 7 am, but 25 years of having to wake up in time for an hour-long subway commute has permanently re-set my sleep habits so I tend to wake up at 6 am no matter what.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:27 AM on April 16, 2020

Feeding ourselves is taking a lot more energy than usual. I'm very fortunate to have started all this with a good-sized pantry already (thanks, food hoarding tendencies) which I topped up just before everyone else got worried enough to strip the shelves (thanks, anxiety) and we still get about 2/3 of the items I ask for in our biweekly grocery pickup orders, so we do have all the food we actually need.

Still, I'm consistently having trouble getting some of the things I want (flour and yeast apparently don't exist anymore, and I don't get most of the meat+produce I ask for each order), and before all this we spent very little time cooking (ate out or made very easy meals), so that's been a big adjustment. All the recent cooking and baking has been a lot of work, though it's also a welcome distraction. I'm enjoying threads like this for ideas about what to try next and things to add to my next grocery order.

I grew up in a somewhat food-insecure setting (though with no danger of actually starving) so I have mixed feelings about the current food situation. It's very, very comforting to have the largest amount of food stored that I've ever had, but it's also triggering long-buried anxiety about not having enough food, and I'm not sure it's healthy for me to have my hoarding tendencies suddenly validated.

It's unsettling to just not have access to certain items for who knows how long, and to not know what I'll successfully receive in the next grocery order. I'm carefully choosing baking recipes to ration my small half-bag of flour from pre-pandemic days, since I have no idea when I'll be able to get more. We eat a truly ridiculous amount of dairy products and have been fine getting them all so far, but I don't know if that will continue. I also feel guilty for being anxious about food when we're in such a good position compared to many people. We are also very lucky to both have stable jobs that can be done from home, so our normal income should continue.

I expect I'll be back to not cooking/baking much once this is all over, but I've been forming some new food habits that I hope will continue, especially cutting down on veggie waste (using some discarded parts for things like veggie stock or growing into plants) and ordering some meat deliveries from a local farmer who seems to raise relatively happy animals.
posted by randomnity at 10:18 AM on April 16, 2020 [2 favorites]

Long story short, shelter in place has been great for my eating disorder, my budget, AND my diet's sustainability.

I had been travelling for 9 months prior to shelter in place. A month ago, I had to choose a bunkering location very quickly... and found myself with a two burner cooktop, a tiny cube fridge, a few basic utensils, and not much else. Not great in the event that a) food supply lines get cut or b) the power goes out for an extended period of time.

I've also dealt with an eating disorder for decades and have coped with that via an unsustainable keto diet for months. And it upset me 1) how much food I made that went to waste and 2) how much I relied on restaurants and takeout.

Once I settled into my bunker:
  • I was loath to introduce more beans and pulses into my diet (and reduce the animal protein) for fear of putting on weight. Not an issue after all.
  • I've always gotten bored really quickly with my cooking and tend to run to restaurants instead. I am NOT bored with my cooking although it's not exactly diverse at the moment... in fact, quite the opposite! And I'm making nutritious food, not sugar- or wheat-laden treats.
  • I've learned to buy only what I need and to focus on shelf-stable foods, freezing only what I have room for. The LACK of storage options has actually meant less food waste, surprisingly.
  • I have more than enough energy, although granted my activity level is very low at the moment.
  • I move on Saturday to a place with a full fridge/freezer and an oven. I'm looking forward to baking squash, which is easy to get here, and to put a bunch of meats/veggies/fruit into the freezer, maybe a couple of weeks' worth. I'll also be laying in some "easy food" such as frozen pizza and canned soups in the event I get sick and don't have the energy to cook.
After we're past the peak, I look forward to having more access to fresh or frozen cruciferous vegetables, and I want my Vitamix back. But this has been excellent training for tiny house / sustainable living for me. And I hope to keep restaurant visits down to once a week. I've proven to myself that I don't need them any more.
posted by Sheydem-tants at 10:33 AM on April 16, 2020 [5 favorites]

Someone on tv said they made white beans with garlic and olive oil and served on pasta, and the family loved it. I cooked a pound of white beans, which is a lot. The recipe was meh. I still had beans, so made a cold dish of white beans, red onion, vinaigrette, very tasty. This inspired me to quick pickle most of the red onion before it withered, also tasty. I had chicken, bones, skin, bits, left over from ZoomSeder, so made 2 quarts of good stock. 1 quart went to chicken soup with pickled peppers (I had small amounts of pickled banana peppers and jalapeños and their juice) and white beans, and it is really good, soup for breakfast good.

Getting a pickup slot for groceries felt like Scoooooore!!, and I keep adding stuff, but will winnow it at the last minute. Fresh fruit! They don't list hand sanitizer, toilet paper, or flour in inventory, but things are not desperate. The constant news of shortages is stressful and makes me want to hoard. I have not shopped or gone out for over a month, and mostly need fresh produce. and chips. and beer.
posted by theora55 at 10:55 AM on April 16, 2020 [1 favorite]

I'm getting to a grocery store about every 10 days now. I've been out of fresh produce since Sunday and I just remembered that I have frozen mango chunks to eat with yogurt. Our freezer is crammed full of bacon ends and pieces, venison, and fish, meatballs, and roasted squash. We have two big shelves of pickled carrots and beets and jam and relish. We don't eat much rice, so the 2 pounds of that are still here. I do like risotto and want to make it now but...

Trader Joe's seems to have discontinued the magical chicken goo? It's a box of small tubes of stock or broth concentrate, and each tube makes a cup of broth. So much easier than carrying a whole quart of broth, especially if you only need a little bit to make a gravy. I have some beef cubes, but that's not the same. I've never really found a chicken cube or powder I like. So, I'm happy to take suggestions if anyone has any.

Our neighbor had/has the virus and has been recovering at home. I've been feeding her by leaving bags of food in front of her door, and her work has been sending her delivery as well. The chocolate pudding I made was a hit. She mentioned a few days ago that she missed sour candy and I was very glad that I had three 8 ounce bags of sour patch kids in the pantry. I have always had a tendency to buy a bit extra when I can afford to. Spare can of beans, a $2 packet of candy. Because you just never know when you might be even more poor. So that has worked out well, in the beans, canned hearts of palm, sundried tomatoes departments. As it happens I'm lucky enough to not be currently destitute, so I've also sent a few boxes of groceries to other folks.

I had two back to back trips before quarantine and returned to my partner's apartment and his empty fridge. So on March 10 I was in the grocery store, stocking up for just a regular week while everyone else was also stocking up for a not quite regular week, and I was thinking about what sorts of long term food plans to make.

We have been very lucky to be able to order takeout from some neighborhood spots. Our garbage output is now enormous, even though we re-use takeout containers.

I'm thinking about making chocolate filled croissants. I have done no baking. A friend who lives a a few blocks away has agreed to trade some of her fresh baked cookies for a few pieces of cooked chicken and broccoli + other cooked greens. So I'll get a couple pounds of chicken thighs from the butcher across the street and have crispy lemony garlic chicken skin for dinner tonight. Then we'll have chicken thighs for dinner tomorrow and I'll pull a pouch of my mire poix out of the freezer and make soup on Saturday. I can't think much farther ahead than that.
posted by bilabial at 11:45 AM on April 16, 2020 [3 favorites]

bilabial - The "Better Than Bouillon" little jars of paste concentrate are pretty good. They're on the salty side and still not as good as homemade, but the best I've found so far (better than any of the quart-pack broth brands I've tried).
posted by Greg_Ace at 11:56 AM on April 16, 2020 [14 favorites]

I'll pull a pouch of my mire poix out of the freezer

bilabial, you just blew my mind
posted by the_blizz at 12:05 PM on April 16, 2020 [1 favorite]

Like many, we're running the dishwasher every day vs TTBC when we'd run it maybe every three days.
My husband has been making sourdough bread for about a year, and he's ramped that up to every other day - even gifting some loaves to friends.
We're working through our freezer stash of frozen fruit and have made plum jam and concord grape jam.
And I've been cooking and baking again, after nearly 20 years of doing neither (four hours/day of commuting will do that). All the cooking has been quite successful, and only one baking failure so far.
We're lucky to have our own chickens, so we're good for eggs, and have even been providing a dozen a week for two neighbors/friends.
We also have a huge garden, so we've had broccoli raab, chard, parsnips, carrots and beets. We'll have lettuce in about a week (yay! salads!!).
Lastly, since the mister is a home distiller, he's made use of his feints and we've supplied about a dozen families with homemade hand sanitizer - mixing the double-distilled feints (which come out at 82-85% alcohol) with an appropriate amount of aloe gel to get the alcohol content to the right level of about 70-72%. We're even supplying a former doctor friend, and another friend re-packaged it for a little free pantry in her neighborhood.
My last trip to Costco was harrowing - there were families of up to four wandering around, almost no one in a mask, and various folks ignoring social distancing and picking things up and putting them back. The staff was awesome, as was checkout. I was shaken by that trip for a couple of days.
posted by dbmcd at 12:29 PM on April 16, 2020 [4 favorites]

Sidebar: if i see one single more "lockdown recipe" that uses dried pasta, canned beans etc - things which are normally storecupboard staples but which right now are precisely the things which nobody can get, I will not be held responsible
posted by ominous_paws at 12:32 PM on April 16, 2020 [3 favorites]

At home for about 6 weeks now and I am just SO OVER food right now. The first couple grocery trips I had great long lists of staples and fresh items, but I’m starting to run low again and I should make a new list but I’m just like, meh. I did finally get a line on some bread flour locally though, through a fancy-pants bakery that’s switched to curbside pickup - won’t be getting it until next week, but hopefully the prospect of good fresh bread will be enough to get me going again, food-wise.
posted by btfreek at 12:49 PM on April 16, 2020

I was enjoying reading this thread last night, eating the crumbs of stale Cool Ranch Doritos from a bag that one of the teenagers left open for too long, and washing them down with a delightful rose made from Syrah. I tried to convince myself that it tasted great at the time! (It was, in retrospect, not great.) We're trying to eat reasonably healthily otherwise and mostly succeeding.
posted by cheapskatebay at 2:01 PM on April 16, 2020 [1 favorite]

Like many, we're running the dishwasher every day

I don't have a dishwasher (or microwave) and it's like a joke here that as soon as I do a sinkful of dishes I get inspired to TRASH THE KITCHEN and make something complicated and messy. Last night it was matzoh ball soup (Thanks ChuraChura!). I ate a meal outside the house yesterday--a friend and I went on a masked-up socially distant walk and got slices--and it gave me the jitters and I probably won't do it again.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 2:12 PM on April 16, 2020 [2 favorites]

It's so good, isn't it?!? I've held off on purchasing 1 pound of maple sugar candy so far, but now that you've put that idea in my head, I consider whether that would be a good idea every few hours. I have to assume that, should things continue like this for too much longer, soon enough it will be a very good idea.
posted by ChuraChura at 2:35 PM on April 16, 2020 [2 favorites]

I'll pull a pouch of my mire poix out of the freezer

bilabial, you just blew my mind

You can also buy frozen mirepoix from the grocery store. Saves you all the cutting and peeling and is probably cheaper than buying the veggies and doing it yourself to boot.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 2:58 PM on April 16, 2020 [1 favorite]

Hahahaha the yeast supply chain
posted by bq at 3:19 PM on April 16, 2020 [2 favorites]

I've been vacillating between making the most complicated things I can and going for things that are basically assembly and reheat (lots of pizza on prefab shells). The street cart chicken was amazing, and this lasanga was total stoner food but good. We've been eating too much salt and dairy and fat, but my weight is still drifting down (on purpose, I started Weight Watchers before all this went down) and I'm moving around a lot, so.

Tonight is whitebread tacos - the meat guy at Food Lion had just ground some fresh beef, so I grabbed some, but I might make chicken tinga next week. :)

I've been to Costco once, Aldi once, and our local mid-range grocer (Food Lion) once since all this started, since I'm young-ish and healthy and trying to save delivery slots for folks who need them. This afternoon's trip was driven by beverages (my wife requires coffee to boot up in the mornings and will not drink it black, and we were out of creamer). I'm wearing a mask and people are mostly trying to keep out of each other's way, but it's still weird and disconcerting and stores aren't built for the space we need and they're not onewaying the aisles yet and I bought two big bottles of creamer and two half gallons of milk etc in an effort to not have to do that in awhile. We'll try the big Asian market up the road (not my normal one, but it's much closer) next time we don't need creamer.

We're very very lucky, we're both employed and continuing to get paid and have a freezer full of food because I'm a squirrel when it comes to food (for no real reason, I don't have a childhood history of food insecurity or anything, but I'm that person who sends home leftovers from group dinners with her friends and has told our dearest "look, as long as we're getting paid, we'll make sure you eat", which doesn't feel as histrionic as it did a month ago), and while meals might get a little weird after awhile, we could eat out of the freezer for quite some time without having to go back out.

I sobered up a couple years ago (2 years and 2 days ago, in fact!) and she's been deliberately not drinking as much as normal, in an effort not to drink her way through the pandemic, so we're pretty happy with us for that, but no shade to anyone who is drinking more than normal - if I were still drinking, it would definitely be In Quantity.
posted by joycehealy at 3:51 PM on April 16, 2020 [3 favorites]

Yeast and flour are available at Bakers Authority. Shipping is not cheap, and the amounts are large, so you might want to go in with friends if you're not feeding an army like I am. They don't have all-purpose flour, but you can mix high-gluten flour with cake flour for similar results.
posted by ruetheday at 4:13 PM on April 16, 2020 [4 favorites]

Costco had exactly ⅔ of our list. Waited fifteen minutes to get in and another fifteen to check out. Not so bad, really.
posted by fedward at 4:26 PM on April 16, 2020 [1 favorite]

Food wise, we've been pretty fortunate.

I went grocery shopping for the first at Aldi a week or so ago after not going for 3+ weeks. They had all of the food as normal although there were limits on items, no more than 2-3x of a handful non-perishable (tuna, pork and beans).

Our existing diet v. little meat (maybe 1x/week), heavy frozen vegetables, and legumes 2x/week had been pretty COVID-friendly.

Last week, I went to the local drug store a block away from us (1/10km) (soo convenient and somewhat unusual since our suburb of 50,000 people has 4 pharmacies in all of it), picking up things for us and a non-covid ill friend, eggs were limited to 1 per person and they were no longer carrying fat free or 1% milk b/c of supply chain disruptions they said.

As a result, I've transitioned to oatmeal with water for breakfast (I typically had 3-5 large bowls of cereal and milk and I'd be full until the evening) and counter to what I'd expect, the oatmeal leaves me less full during the day.

Went to a different grocery (local chain) on Friday to pick up items for an elderly friend, they had everything food wise and no limits to my surprise.
posted by fizzix at 4:49 PM on April 16, 2020

A local restaurant has pivoted to delivering groceries, and I could not be more grateful. It'll be the first fresh veggies in several weeks. Asparagus, woot!

Also, there should be 2 lbs active dry yeast in the order, which I'll be happy to share -- hit me up and we can figure out how.
posted by vers at 5:04 PM on April 16, 2020

I dislike cooking for myself, and washing up after every meal drains any enjoyment that I might otherwise have had from eating, so it's very possible that by the end of the month my diet will consist entirely of crackers and handfuls of almonds. It's fine, naval battles have been won on less.
posted by betweenthebars at 5:06 PM on April 16, 2020 [8 favorites]

Is anyone else majorly craving fruit? I'm picking up some oranges tomorrow during my grocery foray because I'd do anything for fruit right now.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:14 AM on April 17, 2020 [1 favorite]

The freezer mire poix was born out of necessity. We sometimes get two or three big celeries at a time in the CSA share. I don't really think of celery as food and my partner can only eat so many "ants on a log."

But we do like soup, and celery works in soup.

Alas, the CSA quality was not great last summer so we aren't planning to do it again, instead using the same budget at the green market to get...whatever we actually want.
posted by bilabial at 6:32 AM on April 17, 2020

I accidentally loaded up on more carrots than I expected, but a grated carrot salad is one of those things that sounds boring as heck and turns out to be delicious.

Bilabial reminds me that I have a bag of celery that's getting sadder and sadder, so I'll probably be looking into that freezer mire poix.
posted by bunderful at 6:54 AM on April 17, 2020

Empress, I have a banana with my breakfast every day (as long as the supply chain doesn't fail me) and my wife INSISTED on some apples on my last supermarket trip. We grabbed a big bag of grapes on the previous supermarket trip. So, yes. We're like Damian Lewis in Life around here.
posted by fedward at 6:58 AM on April 17, 2020

bilabial - The "Better Than Bouillon" little jars of paste concentrate are pretty good. They're on the salty side and still not as good as homemade, but the best I've found so far (better than any of the quart-pack broth brands I've tried).

They purportedly sell a Low Sodium version of the Chicken Broth but my wife and I have not spotted it in the wild for a few years now. We have it in our 'Save For Later' amazon cart but the middleman markup is too steep for us to ever pull the trigger. Instead we have just learned to reduce/eliminate any other salt in any recipe that we use the Better Than stuff in.
posted by srboisvert at 7:10 AM on April 17, 2020

Wow, you people with your food.

At least a couple of times a week before all this I'd have a good meal alone at the bar at a restaurant.

I'm not good at feeding myself. Now it's mostly dolmas, cottage cheese, salt and vinegar chips, spiked ice cream, 1% milk, Trader Joe's dark chocolate bars, cotswold cheese before it goes bad... I don't even know what lurks in the freezer.
posted by bendy at 7:52 AM on April 17, 2020 [4 favorites]

Wow, you people with your food.

Seriously. When this is over I am eating at restaurants 90% of the time and will never, ever, feel even the slightest bit guilty about it again. Fuck cooking, fuck eating alone at home, and fuck soup in particular. (It knows what it did.)
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 9:49 AM on April 17, 2020 [17 favorites]

fuck soup

Ah yes, the never-released X-rated director's cut of a Marx Bros. movie...
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:02 AM on April 17, 2020 [16 favorites]

I already liked to cook before this, so that hasn't been too big of a change, though it definitely feels like more a chore now.

However, the biggest thing has been in my grocery shopping habits. One of the things I liked about living in New York was being able to walk to the grocery store, even if it was just for a random thing -- like, get off the train, go to the store to pick up one scallion and a carton of eggs, walk home).

I would say that pre-coronavirus in weeks where I cooked most days, I probably went to the grocery store 3-4 times a week, with 1 bigger "stock up" on the weekend and then replenishing random ingredients throughout the week.

Now, of course, I don't want to do that and am trying to stick to a once-a-week schedule. I have also flipped my previous habits and check the weather forecast for the crappiest weather available and try to go to the grocery store during that time. (Of course, before, I used to try to only run errands when the weather was nice or at least precipitation-free.) It means I went on Monday during the crazy rain/windstorm and I will probably try to go tomorrow while it is still raining.

Finally, I used to occasionally pick up tubs of lactose-free ice cream, Breyers being my preferred brand, but I have had to impose a very strict "only fruit as dessert" policy for myself (which honestly is not that different from the Chinese/Taiwanese-American household I grew up in), because as it turns out when you are home nearly 24/7 and have a sweet tooth, ice cream goes fast...!
posted by andrewesque at 10:08 AM on April 17, 2020 [1 favorite]

Fruit. For two people, I get:
5# bag of mandarin oranges
Apples - wither a bag or a dozen. I like the bags because they’re littler apples
Frozen mango - good structural integrity for a frozen fruit
Bananas - the hand i got last time was too many and went from green to brown almost immediately, now I need to make banana bread and both of my loaf pans got repurposed as heat batteries/humidifiers on the radiators this winter. And since everyone is baking in quarantine, loaf pans are thin on the ground.

We have a few apples left but otherwise we are out of fruit. I think after teletherapy I will use my daily walk to go get groceries.
posted by bilabial at 10:40 AM on April 17, 2020

I need to make banana bread and both of my loaf pans got repurposed as heat batteries/humidifiers on the radiators this winter. And since everyone is baking in quarantine, loaf pans are thin on the ground.

I don't own a loaf pan, so I've always made quick breads in a 9 x 9 baking dish. It works out fine if you don't mind squares of bread instead of slices. It does seem to get done more quickly, so keep an eye on it and check the center with a knife if the top starts to look like it's done.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 12:39 PM on April 17, 2020 [1 favorite]

It turns out to be kind of satisfying to make preserved lemons. I have barely made anything with them yet, just a couple of preserved lemon sodas like you get in some Vietnamese restaurants. I do not know exactly why it is satisfying because it doesn't involve doing much of anything.
posted by less of course at 12:41 PM on April 17, 2020 [1 favorite]

Oh! I have a simple recipe involving preserved lemons (I have it memorized for serving size of one person), that takes very little ingredients and is dead simple - if you have the preserved lemons, all you need otherwise is a half pound of potatoes, olive oil, salt, pepper, and either a chicken leg or a couple chicken thighs.

Preheat the oven to about 375. Take about a half pound of potatoes and chop into chunks, toss them in some olive oil and lay them in a baking dish big enough to just contain them in a single layer. Fish out a slice of preserved lemon, cut or rip it into a few pieces and tuck them amid the potatoes. Carefully pour in enough water to come up only about a half inch deep on the dish. Then lay the chicken on top of the potatoes, and tuck the whole dish into the oven to roast for about 45 minutes. Done!
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:08 PM on April 17, 2020 [5 favorites]

Banana bread works very well in muffin form, too - you just need to adjust the cooking time (much shorter) and possibly also bump the temperature a bit higher. It's not usually too finicky about baking conditions.
posted by randomnity at 1:39 PM on April 17, 2020 [1 favorite]

Speaking of yeast - I just found out you can dry sourdough starter and it keeps for years (or ships easily to friends and family). See here . It's a nice thing to do with the starter discard - just feed it, wait til its good and bubbly and dry it out. I keep it in sterile mason jars or ship double bagged in ziplock
posted by rtimmel at 5:42 PM on April 17, 2020 [2 favorites]

I still have continued my long term habit of waiting till almost the last minute to make a shopping list. Which is stressful on top of the stress of going to the supermarket. I feel like there's never anything to eat for lunch at home besides pasta, which is getting old.

At the supermarket, I luckily remembered that I have a ebook of "Cooking is Terrible" by mefi's own Misha Fletcher. I'm really feeling that sentiment now. Because of the book, I was able to make the decision to get the stuff to make pasta salad. So that's what I had for lunch today.

This pandemic is making food harder then it already is! Grrr. I just want super low effort food right now.
posted by starlybri at 6:48 PM on April 17, 2020 [2 favorites]

I was at one of the local Russian groceries today and they were putting out pound packages bags of yeast. I feel like I won the lottery of yeast riches. (I've got some already, but it's been in various fridges for the past 10 years old and starting to get a lot less, well, yeasty.)
posted by aspo at 6:58 PM on April 17, 2020

Working in a grocery store I am at least spared the lineup and have slightly more access. The first week or two was a shitshow but it's almost evened out, except for flour which disappears as soon as it comes in and yeast which is just not coming. I was doing okay with cooking at home but a couple weeks ago I started taking naps and now my sleep/eat schedule is borked. Not hoarding but overshopping a bit. All the talk of people getting so much done/ trying new recipes makes me think I should also be doing things, but I'm still working full-time and shopping & delivering to family and friends. Haven't made any bread since February but I did my millenial duty and made the Alison Roman shallot pasta. Very good day of, less so as time goes on.
posted by sgrass at 7:24 PM on April 17, 2020 [2 favorites]

fuck soup

I love this place.
posted by bendy at 7:40 PM on April 17, 2020

We got crushed today. Systems broke down. My boss apologized on FB. Comments started popping up calling me out for working so hard. I just broke down and started crying. Today has been an emotional roller coaster and that last, cathartic stop just now, letting it out, feels so good now.

We are tweaking the system and adding a person for tomorrow. Tonight wasn't all my fault- we had fried chicken complications early that put ticket times for our very popular buckets as long as 45 minutes- but another pair of hands and feet, especially if they are a bit younger, will come in very handy if we are going to do 100 or so orders in 4 hours.

There are more stories from the last few days, but I'm so drained, I gotta let them marinate. I love this place and I'm so glad I can be a part of it. Have a spiritual drink on me you yahoos.
posted by vrakatar at 9:06 PM on April 17, 2020 [9 favorites]

Oh yeah and in a great example of burying the lede, this could be a serious problem for the island come the end of May.
posted by vrakatar at 9:11 PM on April 17, 2020 [1 favorite]

I've been existing on popcorn, Goodpop Hibiscus Mint popsicles, oatmeal and Trader Joe's bison burgers this week. Oh yeah, and almond butter out of the jar. With a spoon. And Annie's mac and cheese. And tuna.

I'm *so* looking forward to stopping by a friend's doorstep later today (in an appropriately socially distanced manner) and picking up a borrowed cup of flour encased in a Ziploc bag.

This will be turned into the roux for a vegetable gumbo that I will share with this friend for her generosity. Real food. Can't wait. (I live by myself so I eat scraps and crumbs for days, then I go wild and spend a day by the stove, then eat that for the next week or so, kicking off yet another scraps-and-crumbs cycle.)
posted by virago at 10:04 PM on April 17, 2020 [4 favorites]

Any Portmanteau, if your food scraps are taking too long to decompose, maybe add more brown material or even start a second compost pile. You can always downsize when your household stops producing so many scraps.
posted by emjaybee at 10:58 PM on April 17, 2020

I typed out a whole complaint but nevermind. I think I'm just too stressed in general and it's affecting my whole system.
posted by annieb at 6:44 AM on April 18, 2020 [2 favorites]

We had yeasted pancakes this morning, and y'all, LIFE CHANGING. (Don't hate me that I have yeast. I stocked up at Christmas and just don't normally bake that much, so now I have yeast and Target hooked me up with gf flour.)
posted by joycehealy at 8:19 AM on April 18, 2020 [2 favorites]

I have been thrown into a world of needing to feed myself and it's very stressful. Pre-Covid I traveled for business 3 weeks each month, as did my partner. Not only were we fed from buffets most breakfast and lunches, but we could also expense all meals that weren't provided. So not only has my work gone to almost 0, I am hit with higher living costs (groceries for two, higher home utility bills, etc.).

My partner used to live in a neighborhood with all the major groceries within walking distance and always preferred shopping every few days. Sometimes he went to the grocery store twice in one day. When he moved in with me a few years ago he faced a big lifestyle shock, as the closest full size grocery is 1.5 miles away, which he walked to much more often than me. Now that we're trying not to go out at all he has flipped from wanting to shop for "what he was in the mood for" each day to policing how much meat we eat from our freezer. So you could say our few arguments have been about food (what/when/how to buy and eat) in addition to the issues that arrive sharing bandwidth when we're both trying to stream Zoom, Miro, and other apps at once.

Since I used to go to the grocery store once a month or less (no use buying groceries when you're only home two days!), I don't know where a lot of things are in each store and I don't know how much they should cost. We don't have recipes we make each week or "old favorites" to fall back on besides ramen, blocks of cheese, and pasta. So this feels like I'm having to become a full time real adult all of a sudden in my 40s.

On the bright side, it looks like we may have to figure out how to feed ourselves and force ourselves to be healthier. We both may have lost some weight just by not eating out for every meal, as well as eating much smaller portions out of fear we won't be able to get more. We signed up for a meat CSA, which was pricey but we decided that if we're limiting the amount of meat we're eating we would like to make it good meat.
posted by Bunglegirl at 10:11 AM on April 18, 2020 [4 favorites]

I kinda perfected Ramen Eggs last night!!!! They're currently curing in a mixture of soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, and water.

I got the texture of the yolk correct, but I forgot to poke a hole in the bottom of the shell, which made them hard to peel. But, I'm happy about this!

Today, the last of my rotisserie chicken is cooking into stock in my Instant Pot.
posted by spinifex23 at 12:56 PM on April 18, 2020

This is the Ramen Egg recipe that I learned from the great Ramen Egg masters of the Internet:

1. Keep the eggs in the fridge.
2. Start to boil water.
3. When the water is at a rolling boil, take out the eggs from the fridge.
4. Poke the eggs in their wide egg butt with a egg poker. (missed this - OOPS)
5. Put the eggs in the boiling water.
6. Boil for 7 minutes.
7. After 7 minutes, take out and immediately put in an ice bath.
8. After a while, peel and put in the soy marinade.

This produces a great ramen egg texture, with that creamy, almost Jello-like yolk. This video explains the entire process quite well: RAMEN SCHOOL #3 | How to Make Ramen Eggs | 味付け卵 Ajitsuke Tamago | Ajitama
posted by spinifex23 at 1:26 PM on April 18, 2020 [4 favorites]

the great Ramen Egg masters of the Internet

I would watch this movie.
posted by Greg_Ace at 2:12 PM on April 18, 2020 [4 favorites]

I've been doing all the grocery shopping for my family, which I would love it if didn't feel like every person who passes me in the aisles was a potential vector. But other than that it's been fun!

Since I haven't been working at all, I haven't been getting takeout or eating frozen dinners at all. Which is what I did for most meals except breakfast pre-pandemic. I've been cooking from scratch a lot more and perfected my bean game. I was lucky enough to have a jar of yeast in the fridge so I've been baking bread, too. That's been less successful than the beans because I'm used to using a bread machine for all of my kneading and the first rise (I hate kneading by hand SO much) and here all I have is a KitchenAid mixer. So it's been hit or miss. I found more flour last week at a big grocery store that I don't usually go to so that was nice!

We've been avoiding Costco but their Instacart service is... lacking. We can't get anything that's not listed on the website even when they most definitely have it in stock, and all of our special requests are ignored. Plus we end up paying twice as much money to get everything delivered. I'm pretty fed up with it. But at least we always get fresh tortellini and avocados with the delivery, so there's been lots of pasta and guacamole on the menu.

I made crustless quiches in a jumbo muffin tin the other day and it feels like a future breakfast lifechanger! Six quiche Lorraine and six broccoli cheddar. So fast to make and then you don't have to deal with cooking breakfast for the rest of the week.
posted by mollywas at 2:39 PM on April 18, 2020

One unforeseen advantage to grocery shopping these days is that sometimes others have already combed over the more commonly-stocked stuff, and that gives the weirder stuff you didn't know about to have a moment - and that is how today I discovered that red beans and rice tortilla chips are a thing that exists.

Yes I bought a bag. No I haven't tried them yet - I'm saving them for Monday.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:19 PM on April 18, 2020 [2 favorites]

What a difference a day makes. 92 orders tonight and all went smooth...because I had help. My wonderful boss got one of our laid off managers to come in for volume, and with him filling the beer and wine and soft drink and grocery orders, and grabbing tickets as they printed when I was outside running food to cars, we crushed it. I gave our re-hire a stern lecture about safety because he lives with more people, I was back to cracking jokes and actually answering the phone, two things that did not happen much last night. The other nice thing about having him in the place is he can fill in for me, or my boss on expo in the kitchen, if we have to troubleshoot something or take a phone order.

Next week we might try to expand the grocery operation with pre-loaded boxes: fresh veg and tp, maybe fresh fruit and tp, and maybe more if that takes off. We did a FB survey of what people would want to see us do if we expand and fresh produce was at the top of the list.

I've also been thinking about all the New Yorkers here and what they are missing. Steakhouses for example, none here on island so we could do a steakhouse night.

Day off tomorrow. Maybe some light yard work, maybe a drive to the west facing side of the island for a sunset if weather permits.

Four weeks ago I was fired and rehired. It will be 7 years since feistycakes and I left NYC at the end of May, and we just marked 12 years together. Despite this crisis, and because of her, they have been the best damn 12 years of my spin through this galaxy.
posted by vrakatar at 9:01 PM on April 18, 2020 [7 favorites]

Quarantine Junk Food Adventures - when you're eating all of the Pringles first, even though you're really craving Cheez-its, because you need all three Pringles cans to be empty.

That way, you can use them as a tripod for your new DIY amatuer radio antenna.
posted by spinifex23 at 10:42 PM on April 18, 2020 [6 favorites]

I've had a sourdough starter going since last year, I feed it every week, I love feeding it, but only baked bread with it once. I find bread intimidating. I can make pizza with it, waffles, but an actual loaf? Feels like too much pressure. Add in shortages of flour, of yeast, and I feel this tightness in my shoulders telling me I'll fuck this up. That I'm wasting good resources I should give away to someone more deserving. If you can't tell by my beanplating bread, I've got a dollop of anxiety.

I'm giving it a shot early next week. Just took the starter out of the fridge for a feeding. If nothing else, it'll give me something to talk about in therapy. My therapist isn't buying my "everything's fine" bullshit anymore. Wish me luck.
posted by Pretty Good Talker at 1:36 AM on April 19, 2020 [4 favorites]

My new favourite snack, now that I'm diabetic and have to monitor my blood sugars, is a half cup (or 1/3 cup, depending) of quick oats, a heaped teaspoon of peanut butter, mixed through with the hot water, then, once that is zapped for two minutes, a little maple syrup and milk mixed through. It's like the best part of the day: the 10am or so celebration that breakfast didn't spike my sugars too much. I'm cutting back on tea (caffeine) as well for the pregnancy, so I get to drink that as well at about that time.

Also, tonight I opened the bottle of soda water and mixed it with some raspberry/strawberry tea for a refreshing drink. It's nice, I think I'll keep it.

Food has been something a bit stressful for me over the last few weeks as I navigate just what I can and can't eat- my husband is helpfully eating the easter bunny that I got from work before we finished up last term. Chocolate is off the menu for the time being. :(

Being able to eat to my schedule is definitely a perk of working from home.
posted by freethefeet at 3:05 AM on April 19, 2020 [2 favorites]

One last ramen egg tip - you don't have to throw out the marinade! Instead, you can use it as part of a soup base for a soup or stew.
posted by spinifex23 at 4:31 PM on April 19, 2020

maybe add more brown material or even start a second compost pile

emjaybee, I've got some dried leaves I throw in and also have a layer of wood shavings at the bottom of my kitchen bin which joins the compost. I'm probably going to empty my cooking compost into a big pile and let it compost by itself and start filling up that side of the composter - ie start a second compost pile.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 11:48 AM on April 20, 2020 [1 favorite]

oh man did i ever eat things this weekend. and now I feel incredibly sick. I guess a month of eating nothing except occasional handfuls of cheerios and tiny portions of whatever people served me has done a number on my guts. But I got the food and it smelled good and then I ate it. What a concept.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 9:13 PM on April 20, 2020 [1 favorite]

I should probably stop making bread. But I normally work in a lab, and I'm used to having things to do with my hands. Sourdough is a lovely way to pass the time, and I've gotten pretty good at it. (Pretty Good Talker, I made little half sized practise loaves while I worked out my oven. That way I was only wasting ~200g of flour if it was a complete failure).

I had mentally prepared for a 14 day "stuck in my house with huge shortages of everything". My "be prepared verging on hoarding" tendencies that flared back up when quarantines became a thing that might happen, and I did a (small) stock up of flour, oil, cheese and canned goods. But Australia's only ended up on lockdown-lite, and I live in a very walkable area full of the cafes and restaurants and delis, and I'm now overwhelmed with food choices. Especially as I want to support all of my favourite businesses. One person can only eat so much.
posted by kjs4 at 9:25 PM on April 20, 2020

Holy shit guys today I made chicken stock, beef stock, minestrone, bread dough, and a double batch of crackers.
posted by bq at 10:38 PM on April 20, 2020 [2 favorites]

Ooh I forgot I was going to make chicken noodle soup with homemade stock for lunch this week.
posted by Night_owl at 7:15 AM on April 21, 2020

Just put an order in for delivery later today with a Russian restaurant that's switched to groceries. Got some basics we've not been able to find like paper towels, rice, and yeast. And sweet potatoes which went missing in the last Vons order I managed to place. Then I added 2 pounds of frozen chicken & pork dumplings, and 1 pound of potato mushroom dumplings. And then some house made bread and pickles because ordering food right before eating lunch always works out well.

We did decide that some of the minimum quantities were too much so we did not get 7 pounds of cabbage or 2 dozen croissants. We have only limited freezer space and not a lot of cooking energy during the week.

Dinner tonight will be dumplings with sour cream (and for me lots of dairy-ease) and maybe I'll open up the picked pumpkin as a side dish - it's a wee 4 oz jar from my aunt's garden that I've been saving for a special occasion. I just hope they have some sort of instructions on how to reheat the dumplings properly.

What we are missing is our particular comfort & convenience foods. Frozen taquitos and chimichangas, specific brand/flavors of yogurt, etc. Nothing necessary, just things we are used to keeping in stock and eating without thinking.
posted by buildmyworld at 11:20 AM on April 21, 2020 [1 favorite]

I found a couple of restaurants that are delivering packages of frozen Chinese dumplings, so I'm eating everything in my freezer to make room for this bounty.
posted by spinifex23 at 12:09 PM on April 21, 2020 [1 favorite]

My niece texted if I wanted anything from the bigger local grocery. I asked for spreadable butter, organic cheese curls, and apples. Whoohoo. It's really lovely having someone do that for me, I have to say. I love apples and I'm down to only one.
posted by suelac at 1:20 PM on April 21, 2020 [1 favorite]

I will soon (well, in a couple of weeks) be receiving a shipment of frozen meat pies of various flavors from a vendor that hits the local ren faires. I am SO EXCITED because they're SUPER tasty and also furious that there don't appear to be any chest freezers for sale anywhere in the area so I can buy and store more than I've already ordered.
posted by hanov3r at 2:33 PM on April 21, 2020

Holy shit you guys. Tonight we made up 9 bags of fruit (1 lime one lemon 2 apples 2 oranges) veg (1 cuke 2 potato 1 tomato 1 hedda lettuce 1 hedda broc 1 vidalia onion) a dozen eggs, a half gallon of milk, a roll of ELEGANT paper towels, and two rolls of TP, for the guests bunghole.

We sold 7 bags. The demand for fresh produce is bonkers high. Supermarkets are depleted and even more of a pain in the ass than before. We could expand this produce and tp line. My boss is planning on it and counting on it.

I brought home 2 burgers, side of broc, and a frozen apple pie. Tomorrow we have the chicken curry I love and hopefully more preloaded bags like the above. I'm watching a business evolve in real time. What we are becoming used to be called a common victualler. Provisions of all sorts. Carhop cash and carry.
posted by vrakatar at 8:04 PM on April 21, 2020 [10 favorites]

The demand for fresh produce is bonkers high.

It could be that it's a spring thing; something about this time of year just makes me crave fruit like crazy. Even here where there isn't much of a produce difficulty I still went a little fruit crazy a couple days ago. The roommate and I cheated on Monday and ordered takeout, and the place we ordered from had fruit smoothies - I jumped on one and I am slightly ashamed of the porn-y moans I made after my first gulp.

Go-bags of produce sounds like a genius idea.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:13 AM on April 22, 2020 [2 favorites]

This morning husband and I were talking about dinner and I joked ‘ok, so you’ll cook that steak, I’ll make something complicated and inedible, and we’ll make cheese quesadillas for the kids.’
posted by bq at 8:26 AM on April 22, 2020 [2 favorites]

We can get pickup slots at our local grocery store for 3 days in advance now (down from 5-6 days for the past month). I'm not sure what that means, maybe nothing.

On the other hand, the month-long disappearance of flour, yeast, rice, whole chickens, dried beans and (not sure why) avocados continues. Not the end of the world but annoying, especially the flour. I'm also unsettled that we got no eggs, cheese or frozen veggies this week, unlike all previous orders.

On the plus side, we got most of the fresh produce and bread this time, unlike the last order, and I'm relieved that I got more sugar too since I was pessimistic about that one. And we continue to get milk each time, thankfully.
posted by randomnity at 9:47 AM on April 22, 2020

I just scored 5lb of flour from a professional supply shop, and am now oddly wracked by concern I should have bought the 50lb drum they had. Pretty sure it's just an "OMG, the bounteous supply!" reaction, but still there's part of me that keeps thinking I'm a dumbass for not buying more flour than I could use in a year.

...I basically don't bake, except for sourdough and pizza crust.
posted by aramaic at 12:22 PM on April 22, 2020

We can get pickup slots at our local grocery store for 3 days in advance now (down from 5-6 days for the past month). I'm not sure what that means, maybe nothing.

Grocery delivery here has gone from a short time of total unavailability, to a period where you could get a slot only late at night or crack of dawn, to now when there is always a slot, just always three days out. I assume it is a combination of them adding capacity and slightly reduced demand.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:37 PM on April 22, 2020

At the store where I work the door into the back room is one aisle over from the flour, so my first trip to the back room every day has now become a one-aisle detour to see if we have King Arthur in stock. The first day I saw some, I bought two bags each of bread and all purpose flour, assuming I'd give the spares to my sister-in-law, who makes pizza from scratch every week. She insisted she didn't need any, because she'd placed an order from a local supermarket. But then the supermarket canceled her order. By that point my store was sold out again so I allocated my spares back to her and dropped them off.

The next day, however, we had MORE FLOUR. I bought one each, so I would have spares. Again. But then my sister-in-law texted that her other backup plan had fallen through and could I maybe get her one more of each? NOPE. Sold out again!

BUT THEN! Another day, another shipment. I bought spares for my sister-in-law and set them aside for the next time we had the chance to do a porch drop off. We're set! We do not need more flour! I repeat, WE DO NOT. NEED. MORE. FLOUR. But still? Every time I walk past that aisle I STILL check for more flour. Yesterday we had both bread and all purpose flour in the morning, and in the evening we STILL HAD ALL PURPOSE. But even that sold out by the last time I walked by.

Today was such a stupid day (I had to send somebody home, and it wasn't even the person who'd have won the "Most Likely To Get Sent Home" award in the yearbook) I somehow didn't even manage to check for flour until the shelves were empty. But the cage free, organic eggs were back in stock, unlike last week when I needed them and had to resort to buying them at Costco, where I pay more …
posted by fedward at 5:48 PM on April 22, 2020 [2 favorites]

I made lemon poundcake for Easter, and it gave a solid week of desserts when paired with fancy vanilla ice-cream. (Warwick Creamery's Moonstone Beach, with all the nekkid sunbather cartoons on the carton)

How did I do it, you may ask? I plugged "lemon pound cake" into teh goobels and discovered that Bon Appetit Magazine is not a YouTube sitcom, but an actual magazine that produces recipes you can follow at home. Who's better'n us, Vinny?

As an aside, your baking powder is old. Years old. You know it is. Give a half-tsp more for adequate rise. Learned that by watching the Carla eps.
posted by Slap*Happy at 2:32 AM on April 24, 2020 [1 favorite]

Also, I was not out shopping. I stayed at home. My Dad left the groceries at the end of the driveway, lemons and ice-cream and all, and the kid waved at her Gummy and Pop-Pop through a glass door. This sucks. We persevere.
posted by Slap*Happy at 3:52 AM on April 24, 2020 [2 favorites]

As an aside, your baking powder is old. Years old.

Haha, not mine! When Big Purr went to get pizza earlier this week, they stopped by the local small grocery, and bought a 5 lb Sysco canister of Baking Powder (all they had left). By the end of that canister I'll need to be doubling the amount to get it to rise. We also discovered that the local grocery is selling unlabeled breads from a mystery local bakery. OMG their rye, stuff it all in mah belly. I just made cheese toast with it, and it's SO. GOOD.

Our neighbor across the street hosts a CSA, and while we usually don't order the winter box, In late March I signed up for a prorated winter share and a meat share, then milk, and biweekly eggs and cheese. It's so luxurious to just walk across the street and get the fresh lettuce, milk, and meat every week, and this means we can stretch grocery visits to closer to 2 weeks. At this point it's mostly fruit we're running out of early. The summer season starts next week, and then in June we start to get local fruit again!

In late Feb, early March, I happened to be stopping by a supermarket every week, and I would get 1 extra of everything on the list. We still have 1 unopened mega package of TP, so many frozen items from the Good Fortune Grocery and H Mart, and are at a steady state of mac n cheese. Every time we use something, I tend to put it on the grocery list, and while we haven't been able to get everything every time, we have more than enough. And with the meat share, I've been making more food that I wouldn't normally buy - lamb meatballs, more sausage and lentils. And luckily, Little Purr has some food preferences, but otherwise will eat most of my meat & veggie stirfrys.

One of our neighbors has a connection with food trucks, so there is now a schedule where a food truck will take in advance orders, then park outside their house and text people when their food is ready. We haven't done it yet, but I guess one truck served several hundred orders in a few hours recently. It's been an interesting food adventure lately!
posted by Hermeowne Grangepurr at 7:17 AM on April 24, 2020 [2 favorites]

As an aside for those who live on Main Rd in a certain small southern New England town, Lee's has pretty much everything, and will charge you arm + leg for it, but they do that anyway in normal times.

Tin tube of harissa and a package of kombu? Fifteen bucks for the pair. TP a buck a roll? Seems... in line? Especially after visiting the cheese fridge and produce section, they want how much for Narragansett Creamery smoked mozza? Kale is not that expens... it is? Wow.

On the other hand, go into town to visit the nearest large chain megamart, and you'll be signing up with the local Immortan to get expired cans of tuna, shiny and chrome!
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:42 AM on April 24, 2020 [1 favorite]

I woke up this morning with an immense craving for morning buns from Tartine (when I moved I was counting on the fact that I could take a train into the city to get my fix, dammit!) and lo, Mefi fave Claire Saffitz of Bon Appetit has a recipe (with video!) Looking at the dough it might be a bit interesting to attempt without a stand mixer but lord knows I could use the upper body workout these days. I also seem to have misplaced my rolling pin during my last move, which is not insurmountable, just slightly baffling.
posted by btfreek at 7:52 AM on April 24, 2020 [1 favorite]

As an aside for those who live on Main Rd in a certain small southern New England town, Lee's has pretty much everything, and will charge you arm + leg for it, but they do that anyway in normal times.

Good intel. We were impressed with the low cost of their "Order online and come pick it up in the parking lot" system last summer, so if we wind up down there this summer, we will do this. I always wish they had some lower cost (or even sale!) items there, but I guess being that close to Walmart and Target, you stock what they don't. Glad to know they're doing okay. And more important, that you are.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 9:03 AM on April 24, 2020 [1 favorite]

On a whim I just threw in some mint leaves from across the street into my coffee with some hot chocolate mix. Reminds me of the coffee with a pump of Thin Mint flavoring from Dunks.
posted by Hermeowne Grangepurr at 9:40 AM on April 24, 2020

I mean, they're literally less than ten minutes drive on an old moped from Wal*Mart and Target and Aldi and BJ's and at LEAST two StawpenShawps and the dire Mahketbaskhet. Yet they have TP. And harissa paste in a tin tube, and kombu which Amazon had trouble sending me.
posted by Slap*Happy at 2:25 AM on April 26, 2020 [1 favorite]

Figured out how to sate another craving of mine without trying to order it from restaurants - sushi.

Especially vegan sushi. I have been missing avocado rolls something fierce.

So today? I got the ingredients to make an approximation thereof.

I already had the rice, but I got the rice vinegar to make the sushi rice out of. Then, I got a tube of wasabi, and a container of pink pickled garlic. I already had the black sesame seeds and avocado. So dinner tonight? Two bowls of chirashi style ripe avocado over sushi rice, sprinkled with black sesame seeds and tamari, and with some picked ginger on the side. (saving the wasabi for later).

This has been one of the most delicious meals that I've had since this pandemic started. Especially since pickled sushi ginger is one of those things that I usually love, but hardly ever felt motivated enough to seek out for myself.

Next dish I want to try for myself is cooked bacon nigiri.
posted by spinifex23 at 8:58 PM on April 26, 2020 [1 favorite]

Will enjoy with some ridiculously high-fat greek yogurt (10% milk fat!) that I can only find here, not in DC.

Ooh, here's a secret I discovered a while ago: You can take heavy cream, add a spoonful of yogurt (make sure it has live cultures) and leave at room temperature overnight, and you end up with the BEST berry topping. It's basically the heaviest fat yogurt you will ever taste.

It's the first step for making cultured butter, but now that I've tasted it, I always steal some of the cream/yogurt for dessert purposes before churning the rest.
posted by lollusc at 9:31 PM on April 26, 2020 [1 favorite]

I finally gave in and woke up the sourdough starter. Three days later it's bubbling along merrily and my first loaf of sourdough bread is in the oven.
posted by bq at 5:14 PM on May 3, 2020

I discovered Morningstar's vegan 'pepperoni pizza' bites at the grocery store the other day.

I bought them and ate them for dinner today; they were absolutely outstanding. I will definitely be buying these again, they filled the pizza shaped hole in my heart, while being ever so slightly healthier than real pizza. Only meant to have a few, but ended up eating the entire bag. Now I'm happily stuffed.

I barely eat meat anyways, but now I'm going to be working on eating less of it, especially if there's meat shortages around now. Good to find non-meat alternatives to some of my favorite meaty dishes that are actually tasty.
posted by spinifex23 at 9:45 PM on May 5, 2020 [1 favorite]

Also - a couple of weeks ago? I taught myself how to make ramen tare.

Today, I cut up some scallions and fresh garlic, and cooked them in some canola oil. I cooked them a little too long, so both are brown - but they're not burnt! And a drizzle of that, along with some of the pieces of scallion and garlic, on your ramen? Absolute heaven.

You could also probably drizzle that on your nan ramen soups and stews, and it'll perk them up quite nicely. I'm really happy with how it turned out.
posted by spinifex23 at 1:04 AM on May 7, 2020

being ever so slightly healthier than real pizza.

Soz, what?

There is no packaged food-item healthier than bread and stuff heated a lot.
posted by pompomtom at 8:52 AM on May 7, 2020

The real pizza contains dairy, of which I'm both 1. lactose intolerant, and 2. I have no gallbladder.

Real pizza, for me, is thus a one way ticket to Explosive Shitsville.

I'll take the vegan stuff.

(Speaking of which, I'm leaving the house today to get some more avocados, to eat on sushi rice!)
posted by spinifex23 at 9:26 AM on May 7, 2020

I finally gave in and woke up the sourdough starter. Three days later it's bubbling along merrily and my first loaf of sourdough bread is in the oven.

I have plans to try the same with my own starter - I found a recipe for making mini-boules (more my speed), and the flour I'm working through now seems especially gluten-y so I think it may be just what I need to counter my lackluster kneading. That's going to be this weekend's project, I think.

I've also splurged on a copy of David Lebovitz's new book Drinking French, which is happily not all cocktails - there are also recipes for non-alcoholic drinks, including coffee drinks, soft drinks, and some appetizery nibbles. It spurred me to further splurge on grenadine, mint syrup, fancy-pants lemon soda, and instant espresso, all of which will go towards nurturing an after-work l'apero habit.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:47 AM on May 7, 2020 [1 favorite]

I'm high risk, this pandemic isn't going away soon, and warm weather in Seattle means that ore people are going to disregard the social distancing guidelines in favor of soaking up some of that sweet sweet sunlight.

Also - in my neighborhood, Capitol Hill, there's been a dearth of tofu in the grocery stores for weeks now. Because I love to cook, because I love tofu and soy milk, and because I don't want to risk going outside of my comfort zone because asthma + COVID-19 = no fun, this is my next culinary experiment: Making Homemade Tofu.

I just ordered the supplies + a cast iron Dutch oven/skillet combo set, and I cannot wait. (I also cannot wait to make some vegan soy milk ramen now.) I welcome this new culinary challenge!
posted by spinifex23 at 2:12 PM on May 8, 2020 [1 favorite]

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