Q1: What does one cook for a family who is partially bored of staying in and socially distanced from their friends?
A1: I have some ideas…stay tuned. (It’s only been a few days here in Toronto, but it’s been much longer in other places and the internet educates us with their plight, creativity and humour.)
Q2: Who fights off boredom with incessant snacking and questions about what’s there to eat?
A2: Teenagers. They’re a hungry bunch. Bored teenagers are even hungrier. (And we’re only on day 3 of the social isolation…)
I’m taking this opportunity to teach and educate my family members why a freezer full of frozen meals is not a pragmatic method of apocalyptic survival. May as well share with the internet, too.
Note: If you have some frozen prepared meals, eat them. Please. Don’t let them go to waste.
The following are some ideas on what to make with whole foods. Keep in mind we are not in an apocalypse and very likely won’t be, but it doesn’t hurt to think ahead a little. It wasn’t that long ago when people lived through two major World Wars and they managed with a lot less luxuries than we have today. Think: electricity, heat, a/c, roof over our heads, internet…
So let’s begin:
I have a head of cabbage. I could boil half of it and make cabbage rolls with the seven pounds of rice in my pantry. Mix some leftover meat currently in the fridge and there you go, a meal with some crucial vitamin C in it (from the cabbage) should we suddenly run out of citrus fruits.
Note: citrus, avocado, pineapple and similar items don’t grow well in Canada.
But cabbage does.
And cabbage stores well.
Tip: do not pour the boiled cabbage water down the drain. That would be wasting vitamin C and flavour. Pour it instead into a soup pot. Shred the other half of the cabbage, add onions, root veggies and whatever protein you have lying around and voila, you have a meal. (Because most normal people have onions and root veg in the house, no? I hope so…)
No meat for protein? Add beans (kidney, navy, turtle, black, etc) or lentils. Canned ones will do in a pinch, but the dried ones are my primary choice.
I cooked like this before the pandemic. It’s really not hard.
Another thing that’s more nutritional, as well as filling than frozen pizza, is winter squash. Pumpkins. Rutabagas. They grow well in cold climates (during the shorter growing season) and keep/store very well, and for a long time.
You can stretch meat with these root veggies in stews, soups. I do this all the time, mostly for budgetary reasons, but also for nutritional ones. But now, during the pandemic, it suddenly becomes a little bit more, let’s say, necessary, to get a little creative.
For practical reasons, not trendy ones. 🙃
I bought some extra oats. Oats grow in Canada and other northern climates in the USA and Europe, store and keep well, and you can cook them into porridge (breakfast/baby food, just add grated or cooked apples) or use them to stretch meat (burgers, meatloaf). There are a million other ways to use oats (bake cookies) but I’ll let you google that yourself.
So, please, lets keep a level head here.
In Canada 🇨🇦 and much of North America, it’s literally only been about a week since things started to cancel and shut down. There is still plenty of food available for everyone.
Don’t forget the seniors, people on fixed, low incomes, and the poor.
Let’s share also with those who don’t have time to go stand in long line-ups: hospital staff, paramedics, police, fire fighters, all the various support staff and other essential personnel.
Pilots and flight attendants working long hours across time zones to get people home. Airport staff who support travelers on the ground (and planes in the air).
Charities, like the Daily Bread Food Bank, Salvation Armies and others will thank you for not forgetting them now. (Thank you Michael for the reminder)
You can do this. We can do this.
If you need some tips in the cooking department, you can find me all over the internet. I’ll help where I can. I’m no expert but I am well-read, practical and currently not (anymore) in meltdown mode. 🙄 And I’m a good cook. 😊
Stay healthy and sane. See you in the comments.