This lockdown has us at home for the longest stretch ever. Longer than when Christmas falls on a Thursday. Even longer than the last Snowpocalypse when the whole city of Atlanta collectively shit itself and had to take a knee for a week to get back to normal.
One curve that won’t be flattening during the COVID-19 crisis will be the curves on our bodies. We’re left with very little to do but eat and sit. We live in trying times for sure, a time of trying new recipes and adventuring in the kitchen.
I already have a terrible relationship with food. I stress eat. I success eat. I eat when I am bored, and when I’m engaged and concentrating, there’s always a sommelier of sorts in the back of my mind telling what snacks would pair well with whatever I am working on.
I recently just kicked my addiction to drinking pancake syrup from the bottle, and there is a full bottle of Mrs Butterworth just calling out to me with its sweet corn syrupy song: “Chug me like one of your French girls.”
I feel guilty about everything I eat in the way a lot of folks with weight issues do. Demi Lovato sings, “I'm guilty 'bout everything that I eat (Every single thing),” and I’m like “Yes to that all day and pass the pancake syrup.”
Social distancing has forced me to find ways to feed my obsession with food without actually feeding my face every minute of every day, and what I found myself doing from the beginning was asking folks on social media, “What you quarantine cooking tonight?”
What I found was a community of folks who are trying to make the best of their situation, with the ingredients that they have on hand and the skills they do or do not possess in the kitchen.
Seeing what other folks eat in a day puts my own portions into perspective and I find myself eating less in general, but also not stressing about what I do eat quite as much.
Here are the top trends in pandemic quarantine cooking.
People Be Eating
Of the hundred or so folks commenting on my food posts, folks are getting as many as five meals a day, and I am here for it. I didn’t think skinny people even really ate until all this started.
Inspiring Each Other
Someone posted that they were having chili dogs, and I was so consumed with jealousy when I realized we did not have all the ingredients for chili dogs at my house. Then I realized we had hot dogs and a pack of Pillsbury crescent rolls and some everything bagel seasoning. We made everything bagel crescent roll hot dogs, and they were amazing.
I was so excited when my husband and I made them that I exclaimed, “Why have we never done this before?” To which he replied, “Because we used to have full lives.” I have found that you can wrap almost anything in a crescent roll and bake it and then feel like an elegant woman as you eat it in tiny bites. And while I adore a chili dog, I live for innovation.
Suzy Homemaker, Sour Patch Edition
Society as we know it may be finished, so there is no better time to make a sourdough starter. In the ‘90s, all the gay men I knew only used their ovens to bake Special K. Now that we are riding out the clock on Armageddon, we swapped cat tranquilizers for hungry yeast.
Now every fool with time to kill and some flour is Suzy homemaker, sour patch edition. To cultivate a yeast, feed it as it gets hungrier and hungrier like an insatiable bottom. Once it looks and smells like garbage, you are ready to bake sour ass bread and eat it at every meal.
Comfort Food is King
The emotional attachment to what we ate in our youth has brought back meals that our mothers and grandmothers made. It’s not just about the food itself; the act of making it brings you closer to loved ones you may not be able to see. Comfort food is also code for, “I don’t care how bad this is for me, I’m eating it so just shut up already.” I also classify pancake syrup as comfort food, so what do I know.
Eating Your Feelings
Lots of folks have posted that a meal is often “cigarettes, gin and regret” or “sadness and 20 peeps” and those count as selfcare in this crisis. Try to limit your truly self-destructive meals, and make sure not to deliberately trigger any food allergies you may have. Don’t eat all the ice cream if you are lactose intolerant and then fart aggressively for four days at a time. If you do, stay six feet away from me with that nastiness.
Supporting Local Restaurants
The restaurant industry is being decimated by the restrictions but have shifted to carry-out menus and delivery. In some cases, they’re even selling ingredients as groceries, and folks are making sure to make several meals when possible. Even when there is little else to do but cook, take the night off on occasion to order out. It’s a great way to support the businesses you did before this all started. When the pandemic is over, we want those places and restaurant culture to still exist.
This article originally appeared in Q magazine. Read the full issue online here:
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