30 days of eating in quarantine

anyone else been eating a lot more lately?

stress-eating. boredom-eating. eating because you made too much food and cooking is what keeps you busy and not breaking down.

YUP. I feel you.

in all this hoopla, I find myself turning to food for a variety of reasons:

  1. I’ve been frequenting the fridge more since, you know, destinations are limited lately
  2. I’ve been regressing to favorite childhood snacks (read: pints of ben & jerry’s that I can now eat out of the tub because I’m an ADULT, fruit gummies, and asian rice cracker mixes)
  3. I’ve been depending on snack breaks to get me through zero-motivation WFH days
  4. I’ve been homesick and asking my mom for more of her recipes
  5. I’ve been receiving the best food-filled care packages from my parents (for which I am exceptionally and eternally grateful)
  6. I’ve been subbing FaceTime dinner dates and Google Hang cook-offs for human interaction
  7. I’ve often turned to cooking when I feel stressed

as we continue into our second month (eeeeep!) of quarantine, I thought I’d share a little album of some of the foods I’ve eaten, made, and microwaved during the first 30(ish) days of quarantine.

at first, I started documenting these dishes to see if or how my eating habits might change as time went on in social isolation.

looking back on photos now, I don’t know if I really notice much change (do you?).

but some of the pictures do bring back the visceral feels from a rollercoaster of emotions including this quarantine is kind of fun, is it terrible to think that? (fried rice) and I’m probably gonna cry a little after this….definitely crying… (frozen burrito).

all of that then had me thinking about how central food is in my life beyond just being sustenance. I turn to it in times of distress, I binge, I snack as a nervous tick. I find therapy in the process of preparing it, washing ingredients, slicing, dicing, frying, and plating. most importantly, I use it to connect to things I care about: my family, my heritage, loved ones who may be far away. It anchors me to feelings of comfort, normalcy, routine, and belonging. and, when I’m lucky, it tastes good, too.

during times like these, I’m especially reminded of how fortunate I am to not only have a security of food, but an abundance of accessibility to it (which inspired me to give a little love to the new york food bank and the restaurant workers’ community foundation). praise be, truly!

now, onto what’s been nourishing me lately*:

*not pictured: the various cookies eaten in bed, a weird pasta dish I thought would be better than it actually was, and a mysterious ketchup spill on the hoodie I’ve been wearing for…too long.

(1) the first few days of quarantine were spent living off this peanut tofu bowl (my go-to sauce). it’s become a quick comfort favorite in my imaginary recipe rolodex because it’s sweet, nutty, protein-packed and instantly rounded out with some greens and grains of choice. you may also notice, I was still taking clear lunch breaks and reading away from my computer…before time morphed into itself and became obsolete (2) classic avocado toast with trader joe’s everything bagel seasoning that I tried to ration out until I realized I could make it fairly easily + oranges for immunity boosting and such (3) whole wheat everything bagel w/ tofu veg “cheese” from a favorite local biz (please don’t close, please don’t close…) feat. kitchen counter that I have turned into my makeshift standing desk

(4) bought some greens and bacon from the farmer’s market (the last trip for a while) and made a fancy weekend brunch to remind myself that I still had parts of my life together (5) pretty much my best chicken fried rice EVER which filled a serious craving for good Chinese food (6) made my first quarantine bread-type thing: a lemony blueberry and corn loaf from the lovely Izy Hossack’s The Savvy Cook (I was skeptical about the corn, but it adds a nice sweetness and moisture!)

(7) I decided this would be my power breakfast for a while: chia seed pudding + granola + oranges slices. I’ve also been trying to not eat like complete trash so my body doesn’t shut down before this lockdown lifts (8) see previous note about attempts to eat healthy: avocado + bread + hummus (9) these vegan chocolate cupcakes topped with old valentine’s day candy are healthy too, right?

(10) ordering take-out again from another local favorite, nacho macho taco: got my usual of two fish tacos and was very excited about it (11) that diced avocado is me trying to glam up a frozen Amy’s burrito (12) chia seed pudding game is still going strong + yerba mate because my body needs a coffee break

(13) more take-out from the best vegan pizzeria down my street (begging you to make it through too, screamer’s!) (14) a cup of a mediocre butternut squash soup I have been trying to finish off + an egg sandwich (my anytime, anywhere comfort food reminiscent of lunches my mom packed for me as a kid that kids made fun of and I devoured) (15) me trying to make scallion pancakes which was, in conclusion, a two day process, enjoyable while it was happening, a delicious end product, but decidedly something you do once before moving on with your life (though the recipe was wonderful)

(16) today, I knew that if I saw another bowl of chia seed pudding, I would immediately shrivel up into a chia seed myself so it’s officially PB-&-banana-on-a-toaster-waffle time (17) these brown butter cookies are insanely good and did not last very long (18) more chinese food cravings = making dumplings with homemade wrappers which took forever but were worth it

(19) had an afternoon virtual baking session with a dear friend today and we made gluten-free, vegan coconut cookies which were super easy and delicious (I made a tiny batch because my body was still processing the rate at which it inhaled 18 brown butter cookies) (20) this frozen pizza—which I later found out was created by the owner of a philly-based pizza spot who also helped open the aforementioned screamer’s, who knew?!?—was surprisingy scrummy (as mary berry would say, though I doubt frozen pizzas will ever be a GBBO technical challenge) (21) nacho macho taco strikes again, but this time with chips & guac. Matthias and I used to go to nacho macho taco pretty frequently and since I can’t be with him right now, I’ve been telling myself that the tacos alone will have to suffice (heh heh, and they almost do. jk, Matthias)

(22) made the perfectly cakey little chocolate chip cookies today in the company of some Google Hangout buddies. they lasted only slightly longer than those browned butter bad boys (23) egg sandwiches are a consistently foolproof choice. today, they were open-faced because why not, and eaten with cucumber slices which was a small delight that made me feel european (24) next adventure in chinese food cravings was this dish “loosely inspired” by hainanese chicken which didn’t taste anything like the hainanese chicken I was used to, but was quite yummy as its own thing. I also always have a crap ton of cabbage left after making dumplings so I threw some of those fellas in the mix

(25) Matthias and I made mexican rice and beans, via FaceTime, that I ate for many meals. they also made me realize how much I have developed a taste for cilantro which I used to despise (26) I took a stab at making that everything bagel seasoning I told you about earlier and it went swimmingly well, what with having to mix 5 things in a bowl and all….. (27) the great thing about making dumplings is that you can freeze them super easily and heat-to-eat whenever you please. I hadn’t realized until now how jumbo-sized mine were so 3-4 pieces have served many a sufficient meal

(28) I was craving fries like no other but only had baby potatoes so I looked up the best crispy home fry recipe I could find and they turned out pretty well. I ate them with ketchup while watching the perks of being a wallflower which was way sadder and deeper than I remembered it 10 years ago (29) today was easter, and the second one in 28 years I spent away from home, so I felt particularly homesick. in efforts to soothe, I made a stack of banana oat waffles, fried up some of that farmer’s market bacon, and scrambled some eggs while FaceTime-ing my parents post live-streaming mass. it wasn’t the same, but it was nice in its own way (30) while I haven’t joined the sourdough bread train (are people abstaining from other kinds of bread all of a sudden?), I’m proud to say that, over the course of a month, I have mastered one carb and that is a homemade pizza recipe. #teampizza

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