Cooking in times like these

At the end of March I tried a recipe for home-made English muffins from the WaPo. They came out great, though the overnight rising required some changes to my cooking schedule. This past weekend, I made a carrot bread to use up some soon-to-expire carrots (this recipe came from the excellent Secrets of a Jewish Baker). It’s one I’ve made before, and very tasty.

We’re in no danger of running out of food right now. When it looked like we might just maybe have to stay home for a couple of weeks, I went out and bought a corresponding amount of frozen and shelf-stable food, just to be ready. Since then we’ve had delivery services. However we have encountered a few problems. The first is that the fridge is really crowded with a mix of leftovers and a higher-than-usual supply of “necessities.” TYG loves feta and Parmesan cheeses so the fridge is absolutely stuffed with containers. That wouldn’t be necessary if we could just drive out safely to the stores, but that’s not the time we live in.

Which ties in to the next problem, gauging when to buy. We’re not preppers; we don’t see a need to stockpile more than we already have. However if we wait until we absolutely need something, it could very well be out. There seems to be a big yeast shortage, perhaps because everyone’s baking bread while in quarantine. I ordered some wheat germ, but it’ll be next month at best before it’s delivered (fortunately it’s not an urgent need).

Or consider tea. India’s having a big Trump Virus problem (though I suppose outside the U.S. it’s just regular COVID-19) which I assume will affect the tea industry. How badly will it affect my ability to buy tea? Should I buy extra as a stockpile for catastrophe (yes, I should)? How much? That’s a tougher question ā€” though much more a first world problem than what India is dealing with.

The same strategizing applies to timing deliveries. Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods are unsurprisingly swamped; if we wait until right before the weekend, will we have whatever ingredients I need? Of course I can simply switch recipes ā€” I have lots of options ā€” but if it’s anything fancier it’s better to cook on a non-work day.

The biggest challenge was buying wine (I drink it for cholesterol). I had to sign for it which meant actually interacting with the delivery person at close range. Not comfortable. I bought four bottles at once to postpone doing that again.

At this point, these are strictly first world problems. We have money to buy food and despite occasional obstacles, it’s affordable. And unlike some of my friends who have to work in hospitals or retail, I’m not too stressed to cook. I’m extremely grateful.

But I still find it interesting how much forethought thinks like drawing up shopping lists now require.

#SFWApro. Photos are mine.

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