Helpful Tips For Procuring & Managing Your Food in the Time of Coronavirus
POSTED BY Kim Pawell ON March 30, 2020 WITH NO COMMENTS
What We Can Do To Help Fight the CoronavirusIt is hard for the general public who are not in essential businesses or first responders to feel like we are making a contribution in the fight against the coronavirus. We all need to know that sheltering in place is a significant contribution and does make a difference. While the coronavirus has the capability to exponentially grow, we also have the opportunity to exponentially starve it. And if that doesn't motivate you think about what a doctor friend of mine told me. "Next time you feel like complaining about being cooped up at home, think about all the doctors and healthcare workers who are showing up at work and providing care without adequate protection." The seclusion of your home will start sounding pretty darned good.
Tips for Food Procurement Without Leaving Your HomeA big challenge of sheltering in place for the coronavirus is to procure the products you need to feed your family and clean your home. Plus, it is nice if you can find a few luxury items like wine and chocolate. I have asthma and am immune compromised so I am working very hard to stay out of stores. I also want to minimize take out and cook healthy meals that contribute to boosting our immune systems, so I am cooking everyday. I have found several online sources that will send food and supplies to your home. Here are my recommendations. I have not used them all but I note the ones I am using personally. this easy method. Serious Eats, one of my favorite cooking blogs, shares two techniques for cooking frozen salmon without thawing it first: on the grill and in an Instant Pot.
Community Shared Agriculture (CSA)If you are not familiar with CSA's, this article will explain how they work. Basically you become a member of a farm co-op that provides you with periodic boxes of whatever they are currently harvesting. Some CSA's will deliver to your door and others will provide a variety of pick-up spots. I just signed up with Tanaka Farms, although I understand they are now on a waitlist basis as they are at capacity. I believe they still have curbside pickup at their stand in Irvine, California. There are plenty of CSA's that you can sign up with. Just google CSA and your city to find one that serves your area.
More Home Delivery ServicesAside from a single grocery store delivery I was able to procure two weeks ago, I have not been able to get another Amazon Fresh, Whole Foods, Smart and Final or other grocery store delivery date. The websites allow me to fill my basket, but when I go to check out there are no delivery slots available. It is frustrating. If this is your experience you need to think outside the box. Here are some sources I have found. I have tried some of them but not all. If you have used them, please comment and let us know how you liked them.
Photo credit: El RanchitoI want to give a big shout out for our friends the Avilas whose restaurants have done a great job at pivoting to provide takeout food, wine, beer and now even takeout margaritas to go. Desperate times call for desperate measures! There are 13 El Ranchito restaurants in Orange County, so hit them up. When you place your order add an order or two of their Mama Avila Soup to stash in your freezer for another meal or pick up a dozen of their mini burritos to freeze for snacks. Simply microwave when you are ready to eat.
Grocery ServicesApartment Therapy has compiled a list of 9 grocery services that will bring food to your door.
MeatThe Wall St. Journal compiled a list of companies that will deliver meat to your door. Their recommendations include: Crowd Cow, A Cut Above, Porter Road, White Oak Pastures, and Belcampo Meat Company.
Plant a Small GardenOur grandparents and great grandparents called them Victory Gardens and they definitely have a place in our coronavirus world of today. Even if you plant a lemon tree in a pot, some lettuce, tomatoes and a few herbs, these homegrown items will make your life better and you will be amazed at how appreciative you are when you harvest them. Some garden shops will deliver to your home. In my area, Rogers Gardens is providing free delivery for orders of $35 or more.
BoozeThe Kitchn has compiled a list of companies providing home delivery for booze and wine. Now is also a good time to support your favorite winery by joining their wine club. I don't know about you, but my glass of wine feels very important right now!
Don't Forget About ExerciseMany yoga and pilates studios are offering virtual classes. My pilates studio, Aura Pilates, is offering home virtual mat classes on Zoom which I have been very grateful for. Here is a list of home exercise apps compiled by CNBC.
Tips For Making the Most Out of the Food You Already HaveOnce you have procured your food you will want to do your best to minimize waste, make it last and share with others. Here are my best tips:
- Clean out your fridge, freezer and pantry so you know what you already have. Get rid of all those odd outdated bottles of stuff you have not used in the last year to make room for more valuable items.
- Make a plan for using your onhand ingredients. If you are looking for recipe ideas you can type an ingredient into the search engine at SNFD and recipes that include that ingredient will be provided.
- Improvise. Recipes are a good starting point, but now is the time to get creative. Start with a recipe, but use what you have and substitute as you need to. You may find that you create your new favorite dish.
- Use FIFO (First-In-First-Out) to manage your most perishable ingredients. When I get a batch of produce I make a plan to use the most fragile ingredients first. That means lettuce, berries, tomatoes, bananas etc... I save sturdier items like potatoes, cabbage, apples and oranges for later. Check on all your perishables regularly so you know when something needs to be used ASAP.
- Use your leftovers. Either freeze them or plan to eat them the next day or two after you prepare them.
- Cook in big batches and freeze. Double and triple your soup and stew recipes and freeze multiple dinner portions for later.
- Remember "Best by" dates do not tell you when food goes bad or has expired. I just used some couscous that was 6 months past its "Best by" date and it was delicious. I use my nose as my first check to determine if something is still good. If it smells bad, it is probably bad. If it smells clean it probably is OK. If it passes the smell test, I take a small taste to make my final determination. If you are unsure, google it.
- Share with friends, families, neighbors and people in higher risk or difficult situations. I have been taking food to my mom and my step-dad as well as a friend who is a single mother who now has to figure out how to take care of her kids 24/7, shop and earn a living while staying at home. It is not just the elderly who can use a helping hand during the coronavirus outbreak. As the time we shelter in place grows there will be greater need. Take a moment to figure out who you can help.