The title “Cooking During A Pandemic” sounds like a Sci-Fi novel I would’ve picked up to joke about in college. Funny how the joke would now be on me! Never would I have imagined toilet paper selling out in droves and flour becoming unicorn-level rare.
How are you all managing with the new state of grocery stores? Have you all managed to keep your pantries stocked? Any new recipes you’ve tried or started keeping on hand as a staple? For those using delivery services, are you budgeting more for them?
I try to avoid grocery stores now, so I thought this blog post on Grocery Shopping Once A Month had some great tips! There’s a Quarantine Cooking blog post, too, in case you’re looking for more insight!
If you find yourself spending more on groceries in the current months, try not to be hard on yourself. I think we’ve all earned a few extra snacks for the time being. And, in case anyone didn’t know, Disney released their Churro Recipe - they’re worth every sugar-coated calorie. ;)
Oh boy how this has been a roller coaster...
We have been limiting ourselves to one shop a week wherever we can. We stick to very specific stores right now. In particular Aldi is still our main stop since they (for some reason) still never seem to be very busy, and Costco for the bigger items since they feel like one of the safest stores to be in right now.
We tried to use Instacart but the experience was...bad. The delivery was scheduled a week out and then it was cancelled on us the day we were supposed to be getting our stuff.
We have been using Home Chef lately for our dinners. We were getting really bad about the takeout. This way we don't have to worry about shopping for meals and only have to keep the essentials stocked. Plus we're cooking regularly which is a nice couple activity. We've never been much for sit-down dinners at home but we have been making time for screen-free meals now.
We have gone from weekly Costco runs to 3-4 week intervals. I was noticing that food prices are up quite a bit though, and some others have noticed it also. Budgets are great for pointing this out, but it looks like it will be a while at the higher category amount. The budget may never get back down to where it was.
I mostly send my teens to the stores with a list. Yesterday I went and did a Mom PowerShop, and it went fine. The big long-term changes that I've made include keeping a more stocked pantry (I have always been a use-it-all-up-and-then-shop-again type of gal); and using sourdough starter instead of commercial yeast. I bake all of our bread, and while I have no interest in making actual fancy sourdough bread, the starter can be used in place of yeast in any recipe. It's been a game-changer, and I love it!
My partner has handled most of the grocery shopping and cooking the last few months since I was too sick to have the energy for that (getting much better now, though!). He tried doing Instacart as much as possible (sadly, our local grocery store location doesn't have curbside yet) but we'd inevitably forget something and then have to go across the street to the store anyway. Haven't been doing a lot of baking, and we already had a decent amount of flour, so no shortages there. The main thing we've run out of is pasta, but that's getting better now. Before I got sick, I'd learned some pretty quick and easy ways to elevate regular cheap Ramen noodles, so we keep the stuff on hand (vegetable broth, Thai chili sauce, minced garlic and ginger, fish sauce, green onions, etc) and make that pretty often. It's super easy to make and really tasty and filling! 🍜
I just started using the meal planning app I used to use a couple of years ago, called Mealime, because I was getting kind of sick of my own cooking, which is good but I get kinda repetitive if I don't have outside influence. You can chose from recipes and it puts together your shopping list for you, so it's a great way to try new recipes and mix up your cooking if you are also stuck in a run.
My garden is doing great and having my chickens, garden and a couple of bags of beans and rice are a really nice feeling, although I'd rather not have to live on beans and rice for long. But you never know these days what the next day brings. Right now there are crazy wildfires in CO and in CA near my family, and my sis is packing because they may need to evacuate soon. 2020 is literally hell.
Faness I'm coming late to the party as I've just seen this thread. Meal planning has definitely been part of my lockdown (which is what we're calling it in Australia) experience. I live alone, but have done well this year and last planning meals to help me eat better and spend less on groceries.
It has also been part of my YNAB budgeting experience as I'm eating from my freezer and not ordering as much takeaway, as well as saving a bit more money on groceries as I'm not tracking my spending. Dining out has also gone to $0, as we've only had a few weeks of open restaurants in June from late March to now. I started YNAB in May after many years without it and am using this time to work on my budget and finances.
I have less work and income, but some government subsidies and lots of savings opportunities - almost $0 on car share usage fees and public transport and dining out. I've also had a few windfalls with cancellations and refunds on theatre tickets and a planned trip.
Its winter here in Melbourne so I'm making home made pizzas and breads, big pots of stew and soups.
There's been two periods of shortage - at the beginning and when Melbourne announced the resumption of Stage 4 lockdown. The original one quickly got back on track other than TP and flour, and the most recent shortages have impacted on some fresh meat and veges. I bought a 12kg bag of bakers flour and had it freighted to me, $20 for the flour and $20 for the freight!! But this may last few for years if it stays fresh in my freezer! I'm also using a few more frozen veges.