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Cooking and baking during a pandemic   Go to last post Go to last unread
#1 Posted : Saturday, March 28, 2020 8:15:32 AM(UTC)

I had a moment yesterday where I wondered whether there is such a thing as "corona-brain". I have never in my life baked a cake and missed out an ingredient. Yet yesterday I was making this Gluten-free rhubarb, lemon and almond cake (I cannot get flour in the UK for love or money) and I managed to completely miss out the butter. In my defence it was an unusual cake in that eggs and sugar were whisked until thick then the softened butter was added before folding in the almond and rice flour. So I proceeded like a fat-free cake, straight from whisking to folding. The resulting cake is rather dry though edible with a lot of whipped cream. I don't want to waste 4 eggs!

I was thinking maybe we could all share here the trials and triumphs of cooking and baking in these difficult times. Of course there are far worse issues than shortages of flour and eggs but EYB should be a place to escape to. You are in a safe space here with people who understand why cooking and baking is important for your mental health. Let others have yoga and meditation - we have recipes!

#2 Posted : Saturday, March 28, 2020 1:01:59 PM(UTC)

My focus in the kitchen has been twofold. First, making dinner at least 6 days a week. Doing carryout once a week to help support local business. My second focus has been making room in the freezer to be able to avoid grocery store runs. This is going to get SO much worse before it gets better. So, turning bags of vegetable scraps and chicken bones, and 2 year old frozen stock into a new batch. Thawing old cookie dough, because, cookies! 

#3 Posted : Sunday, March 29, 2020 12:04:57 AM(UTC)

We have not been out except taking walks since Mar 10.  Had two grocery deliveries so far and another one due tomorrow.  Reading the news finally got to me today. Felt somewhat nauseus. I wash my hands at least 30 times a day.  Although I am used to cooking everyday, preparing simpler foods than how I normally cook.  I feel so badly for those who are experiencing difficult times..

#4 Posted : Sunday, March 29, 2020 2:01:57 AM(UTC)

Here in Oz the supermarket shelves are stripped of flours, sugars, pastas, rice .. never before seen anything like it .. and even my sister is starting to cook (50 years old and rarely graces the working side of a kitchen!).. cooking has always been "my thing".. I just wish I hadn't run down my freezers and pantry before we went overseas for 4 weeks.. came back to self-quarantine and empty supermarket shelves! But EYB to the rescue (as always) with "I've got this and this" searches! Stay safe folks! 

#5 Posted : Sunday, March 29, 2020 4:37:05 AM(UTC)

I have not been to my usual Japanese markets and they are not set up for grocery delivery.  I buy half of my fish, seafood, vegetable and meat selections there since they get seafood flown directly from Tsukiji.  They have sashimi grade fish.  Luckily I bought a good sized rice from Japan in early Feb.   I am able to order flour and sugar ok from regular markets via grocery delivery services. Dairy products seem to be ok too.  Harf to find cleaning and paper supplies.  


#6 Posted : Sunday, March 29, 2020 11:53:39 AM(UTC)

To experienced EYB users, I'm brand new to the site and am having trouble entering a book I own to be able to access actual recipes - help, what am I missing!

#7 Posted : Sunday, March 29, 2020 12:21:03 PM(UTC)

BasilC - Eat Your Books is not a recipe site. It is an organizational tool and recipe search engine for cooks with collections of cookbooks and food magazines. We help them find recipes using our search by ingredients, recipe type, ethnicity, etc. They then go to the cookbook or magazine for the full recipe. Though we also index a lot of online content and add links to some recipes in cookbooks and magazines - there are 322,000+ recipes on the site with links to the fuill recipe.

If you would like to learn more about how the site operates, please check out our About Us pages in Help.

#8 Posted : Sunday, March 29, 2020 6:24:15 PM(UTC)

I usually cook fish two to three times a week, but now that I'm having groceries delivered once a week, and not from a store I like for procuring fish, I've changed my dinner menus to more chicken and turkey, more meat, and more vegetable-based dishes. A few weeks ago my husband did stock up on canned crab, salmon, and tuna, and lots of jars of roasted peppers (!!) so I know I'll be searching EYB for recipes using canned fish or roasted peppers. I'm thinking I should save the canned stuff for a time delivery may not be available.
I love recipes with spices; I'm using way more dried herbs compared to fresh than usual. 
So far, I'm relying on recipes we've liked in the past that use ingredients that are more accessible.This week, for example, Chicken thighs were available to order but not a whole chicken for roasting.
I'm trying a few new recipes but that's  not my main priority most days. I know it's early, but so far it hasn't been that rough.
Happy cooking and  Stay safe everyone. 

#9 Posted : Monday, March 30, 2020 6:45:25 AM(UTC)

Supplies aren't too hard to find here in Switzerland - I think loo rolls disappeared right at the start of the shutdown, but 2 weeks in and there are no empty shelves in the supermarkets.  I bought a few extra items every week throughout February, so my cupboards and freezers are quite well-stocked. I've experienced food shortages in other countries I've lived in, so was keen not to be caught out.  Unfortunately getting a delivery slot is almost impossible here, so I'm having to go out once a week to shop for fresh fruit and vegetables.

Over the first 2 weeks I baked a lot with the result that my jeans are now a bit tight; so I'm going to try and be good and stop baking quite as much!!

#10 Posted : Monday, March 30, 2020 10:07:36 AM(UTC)

Yesterday's delivery.  Instead of eggplant, a bag of green beans, red cabbage instead of green cabbage, and huge, huge bag of cut up broccoli instead of small uncut broccoli.  My husband says some of these are something he would bring home to me when I send him out shopping.  He has no idea what most vegetables are.  So today, looking for recipes to use some of the broccoli since my refrigerator is jammed full now.  Never tried before, but will be using red cabbage in place of green.  Don't think I can sub green beans for an eggplant recipe I had in mind.  

#11 Posted : Friday, April 3, 2020 7:27:07 AM(UTC)
My brave husband has been getting groceries weekly (we still have to go to work as essential personnel) but with numbers climbing I’m striving to stretch that out. Last night’s meal- Food52 Best Chicken Pot Pie- frozen pie crusts, veggies no longer crisp in the crisper drawer, butter pats from take out to make a roux, and chicken & stock from Tuesday’s dinner. Totally ‘foraged’. My personal challenge- how long can we put off the next grocery run?
#12 Posted : Friday, April 3, 2020 11:06:07 AM(UTC)

Not sure if this is happening at other areas but this week it has become impossible to get online shoppers for grocery in our area.  No slots available.  We did not stock up on household paper goods or liquid dish soap and find these items are out of stock online.  

#14 Posted : Friday, April 3, 2020 5:33:02 PM(UTC)

Rinshin, I live in northern Virginia, and I tried two stores via Instacart and also  Amazon Prime  for three days in a row this week, and gave up. My husband and I eat a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables and that's the challenge. Only lasts a week or so. I  decided to brave the outside world and shop in person at 6:30 AM today. Found most everything I wanted at my nearby Giant. Most every customer was like me, wearing a mask. But no wipes available for carts and none of the employees were wearing masks.  
Husband went to Whole Foods later today to get his Italian rustic bread and other items he likes there. He reported that he found everything (leeks, asparagus, grapefruit, etc) but one thing (pie crust for a quiche he wants to make).
All employees were wearing masks; they were wiping down carts with disinfectant as customers went in, and they had signage and  were monitoring 6 feet of distancing. They are also using plexiglass shields between customer and check out cashier. Giant wasn't doing any of that. I'd prefer to order online but it looks like systems are overwhelmed in my area. We also found Hand soap out of stock online and ended up ordering  through a second party on Amazon. Took 10 days but now have 8 !

#15 Posted : Friday, April 3, 2020 6:51:02 PM(UTC)
My sister has been trying to use the online shopping services at various stores here in the Portland, Oregon area and while they worked a few weeks ago it has now become almost impossible to get a slot. Other friends are having the same experience. We have been trying to shop once every 7 to 10 days and wear our masks and gloves. My daughter who is staying with us and I have been taking turns shopping. I have also started carrying my own wipes just in case and keep a canister in the car. My cousin's wife said she puts her debit and credit cards in a baggie in her pocket and her driver's license in another pocket and then wipes down her cards once she gets back to her car before taking her gloves off. I have been wiping my cards down too. All of us have quit taking our purses into a store. I have noticed that one week there are no cleaning supplies or paper supplies and the next week there are plenty. It seems better if you can get to a store early or go really late to avoid crowds. But if you go early you have a better chance of finding stuff. The last time I went to Fred Meyer (Kroger) they were wiping down the conveyor belts between customers, had folks spraying and wiping all over the store and most other customers were wearing masks and gloves too. The local New Seasons chain only lets a few people in at a time. You call in when you get there and are assigned a number. When your number comes up they call you back and then you can leave your car and go shop. I think every grocery chain is coming up with their own plan.
#16 Posted : Saturday, April 4, 2020 12:14:17 PM(UTC)

Thank you for the info on your experience.  We are trying not to go out for 2 wks.  Our county placed the first shelter in place on 3/16, but we have been mostly staying home since 3/7 and have not walked into a store since then.  Stanford research is now saying that we may need to continue this for another 5 mos to flatten the curve.

#17 Posted : Saturday, April 4, 2020 5:35:22 PM(UTC)

Everyone should stay home except for essentials. If going out for groceries, wear mask, goggles and gloves. I put my life on the line every day I go to work. When I'm home, I cook to forget: ricotta from the milk and half & half that need using (white vinegar version, no lemons), Hazelnut, blue cheese and date scones from Philadelphia Inquirer (place called "Sweet")- a very flawed recipe, I mean no salt?? But with tweaks along the way, quite tasty. For dinner, Half Baked Harvest's Simple Skillet Pesto Cheese Lasagne Roll Ups, changes- lamb/rosemary sausage (I thought I also had Italian turkey sausage, but when I defrosted it I had 2 bananas 🤦🏻‍♀️) with olive pesto, and a combo of grated cheese from our local Italian restaurant, and grated mozzarella string cheese 🤣

#13 Posted : Saturday, April 4, 2020 6:56:38 PM(UTC)

Originally Posted by: Rinshin Go to Quoted Post
Not sure if this is happening at other areas but this week it has become impossible to get online shoppers for grocery in our area.  No slots available.  We did not stock up on household paper goods or liquid dish soap and find these items are out of stock online.
Of course I live in the current epicenter of NYC, but yesterday my sister spent five hours doing research and making phone calls, trying to find any possible way at all of having food delivered to my 90-year-old mom in Queens, and she finally gave up. She couldn't find a single store or online delivery service or organization dedicated to the elderly that had any availability at all. My heart goes out to all the elderly of NYC, but the only good that came out of this (for us, personally) is that Mom finally (after numerous invitations, hints, coaxing, etc.) agreed to leave NYC and go stay with my sister in Greenwood Lakes, N.Y., for the time being.

I think it's such a shame that you have so many people out of work, willing to work, and then you have all of these other pandemic-related businesses that are overwhelmed. I just think our society is so backwards and unbalanced. I feel like it doesn't have to be this way--there's got to be a better way to share resources. I'm fortunate in that my job is still intact and seems stable at the moment, but since I'm mostly working from home, management did cut my wages to 83% of what they were in early March.

I won't be able to get there on Monday, but starting on Tuesday I hope to start picking up the free meals that NYC is now generously offering to all residents--not just schoolchildren (grab-and-go meals being given out at 435 public-school sites from Monday to Friday.)

#18 Posted : Sunday, April 5, 2020 11:49:47 AM(UTC)

Glad your mom has decided to stay with your sister.  So sad to see people and animals suffering like this. 

#19 Posted : Friday, April 10, 2020 2:32:48 PM(UTC)

Shopping and cooking during a pandemic certainly has its challenges.  I never would have believed that we'd live through an era where a trip to the grocery store would seem like a death-defying act.  I've been trying to 'cook from my pantry and freezer,' which, thankfully are pretty well stocked.  But recently I've felt the need to replenish the stockpile.  I've been trying to order grocery delivery through Amazon Prime from Whole foods for days, but the demand is so high that I haven't been able to get a delivery time slot. It's worse than trying to buy tickets to a concert through Ticketmaster. Also tried to get it from another local grocery store, same story.  I've tried at 6:30 in the morning and after midnight! So, this morning my husband and I took advantage of the "senior shopping hour" at Whole Foods.  There were a surprising number of people there, most of whom were wearing masks (and some of whom were clearly not over 60 years old, or if they were, I want to know the name of their plastic surgeon). I ordered masks through Amazon a few weeks ago but they won't be delivered until early to mid-May. So, I improvised by tying a scarf across my face and wearing Nitrile gloves. I felt like a cat burglar. We bought enough that I hope we won't have to go grocery shopping again for a few weeks.  I'm very grateful that we got a large upright freezer for the garage a couple of years ago -- it is packed! And it's really helpful since the freezer part of our kitchen refrigerator is broken, but we don't want to have a repairman come to the house. We've decided that for the duration, we're not going to have anyone come into the house unless it's an emergency.

My latest pantry recipe was this: Rachel Ray's Tuna Puttanesca & Penne. I don't believe I've ever cooked a Rachel Ray recipe before, but it was tasty, quick and I only had to shop my pantry for the ingredients. Yesterday, I took our Thanksgiving smoked turkey carcass out of the freezer and made Roasted Turkey Stock which will be used to make some homemade soups in the days to come: first up: Onion, Kale, Chickpea, and Chicken Soup.  I anticipate that as time goes on I'll have to substitute for items that I don't have or eliminate them altogether.  A chance to be creative!

Finally, for those having a hard time buying high-quality fish locally, I highly recommend this company: Vital Choice. They are located in the Pacific Northwest and sell a lot of frozen Alaskan seafood. The fish are flash frozen on the boat. We've been buying from them for years and the quality is really high. We buy salmon, halibut, cod, and petrale sole. I confess, it is not cheap, but then what good seafood is cheap these days? If you buy a certain amount, shipping is free.  

#20 Posted : Friday, April 10, 2020 3:57:22 PM(UTC)
What I would like to know is where did all the flour go? I've read where lots of people are making their own sourdough bread but would this take all the flour from all the stores? Locally none of the chain grocery stores, Costco or assorted smaller markets have any flour. Did people who never baked before suddenly decide they had to bake all their own bread or did the bakers of the world buy it all up? I see toilet paper and paper towels reappearing on the grocers' shelves and keep wondering when flour will once again appear.
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