Food Is Love: Cooking Through Quarantine

Image: Still from Gentefied on Netflix

Cooking is one of my favorite hobbies. I love the combination of practicality and creativity involved in making a pot of soup on the fly or a methodically measured pie.

Self-isolation has been a great opportunity for me to return to my love for project cooking — recipes that require hours of oven time or even overnight preparation. The slow pace and attention-to-detail involved in project cooking helps calm my nervous system and lends an air of normalcy to otherwise monotonous days.

Here’s what I’ve cooked this past week:

  • Chicken stock

And here’s my quarantine shopping list:

Produce

  • Frozen veggies
  • Carrot and celery for stock
  • Onion
  • Lemons and limes for cocktails and to brighten dishes
  • Apples

Dairy and Eggs

  • Greek yogurt
  • Oat milk
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Parmesan

Grains and non-perishables

  • Oatmeal
  • Canned chickpeas
  • Bread (to freeze)
  • Canned diced tomatoes
  • Full fat coconut milk
  • Kimchi
  • Pickles
  • Pasta
  • Pasta sauce
  • Rice
  • Peanut butter

Meat

  • Ground turkey or beef (my roomie likes turkey, I like beef)
  • Chicken breasts
  • Whole chicken for roasting if you’re feeling ambitious
  • Bacon

Snacks and liquor

  • Chips (more than you think you need)
  • Peanut M&Ms (the largest size they have)
  • Red wine
  • Rosé
  • Tito’s Vodka + juice of choice
  • Decent tequila (NOT Jose Cuervo) and orange liqueur for margs: Cointreau is classic, Grand Marnier if you’re fancy, or blue curaçao for some drama
  • Bourbon or rye whiskey and angostura bitters
  • Simple syrup

Additional recipes to be cooked

  • Beef ragu
  • Duck confit
  • Kimchi fried rice

I’ve also enjoyed watching food-centric shows like the delightful Gentified, a new Netflix series about a Mexican family in Boyle Heights, LA, and the high-falutin’ chef cousin that comes home and just might save their family taco shop. This show couldn’t have come at a more perfect time for me. I’m currently outlining a novel that centers around food, love, and cooking. And one of the main character’s love interests is a Mexican-American chef. So Gentified becomes entertainment and inspiration in one fell swoop. I highly recommend the series — it’s a beautifully shot show with snappy Spanglish dialogue that will leave you hungry for more.

Other favorite gastronomic shows include Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat with the infectiously joyful Samin Nosrat and the Bon Appetit webseries It’s Alive with the ebullient Brad Leone…who did an ep with Samin that is pure chaotic good. I also love Great British Baking Show for it’s good-natured competition and the hilarious way the cooks sometimes fail.

This has been the most bizarre two weeks of my life. It has been anxiety-inducing, stressful, and downright depressing. It has also had moments of joy, laughter, and awe in the face of human strength and kindness. This is a tough moment for all of us. Hang in there, everyone. Stay inside, wash your hands, and make yourself something good to eat.

Love and theatre,
Krista

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