Pandemic culinary pastimes

Although restrictions are loosening in many areas, venturing out to restaurants is still too risky for my family, which includes extremely high-risk individuals. Leisurely grocery shopping trips are out as well. Even though I am a diehard baker, my enthusiasm for baking has dwindled since spring and my sourdough died months ago. But all is not lost – I have discovered new culinary pastimes that have staved off cabin fever as I avoid literal fever.

The first one is the most challenging. I have attempted to distill my own essential oils using this nifty microwave device that my friend developed. (Neither I nor EYB receives any money from the sale of this product). So far I have successfully made my own orange oil, although peppermint oil is proving to be more difficult. Even the failures have been highly aromatic, however. and I have learned new terms like hydrosol.

My second new pastime is exploring different varieties of coffee. Pre-pandemic I was part of a coffee club at work, but most of the club members preferred low cost over high quality so we bought the second-cheapest product available at Costco or Sam’s Club (we had some standards). Now that I am mostly working from home, I can be more choosy so I have been working my way through single-origin, shade-grown beans of various roasting levels from a local coffee co-op. Having different options gives me something to look forward to as the weeks march on monotonously.

I realize that having these pastimes means that I among the most fortunate, so I have been giving back to my community to help those who are not so lucky. I believe that self-care is important, however, and I am glad that I have found ways to cope with a stressful situation. Have you embarked on any new culinary hobbies during the pandemic?

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  • TeresaRenee  on  October 24, 2020

    Foodwise, we recently issued a challenge to our kids to pick a different type of burger or pasta to make each week. I like experimenting so this works for me.

    My husband, not so subtly, gave me a Dorie Greenspan cookbook for my birthday this year. I suspect he was hinting that I need to bake more!

    I am a tea drinker and have been longing to head back to the UK for my favourite teas. Since that’s not happening, my friends and I ordered tea from Fortnum&Mason and split the flat rate overseas shipping charge. I now have a few new teas to try which makes my work from home days much more fun.

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