There is a ton of advice out there right now on how you can grow as a person, thrive and even transcend the isolation, anxiety and fear the Coronavirus pandemic is inflicting on our daily lives. If you like feeling badly about yourself because you are not meditating, finding time to be in nature or limiting your media consumption during this time of unprecedented stress, step away from this page now. “These aren’t the droids you are looking for.”
What you will find here is an Everyman’s guide to the five things that have helped my relatively normal family stay relatively sane during isolation. If you are an average human just hoping to get out of this event relatively unscathed and around the same pant size, read on. In the words of The Terminator, “Come with me if you want to live.”
Casa Mamita’s Mexican-Style Street Corn Flavored Big Dipper Corn Chips
These organic, spice-dusted corn chips should be designated the Official Chip of the Coronavirus. Their not-so-secret ingredient list includes chipotle and habanero peppers.
You know a corn chip is a cut above when you do not need to eat the whole bag in one sitting. They are THAT GOOD. If they do not have more of these when I go back to Aldi’s, I will cry.
If you feel the need to judge me by the order in which I am putting these items, feel free. The cold hard fact is that off premise alcohol sales were up 55% in March over last year. Misery loves alcohol.
We are a red wine-loving household: bold pinot noirs, hearty red blends and old vine zins. When the days in isolation began seriously blending into each other, we decided to up our bar game and branch out into hard liquor. Our hutch has become a fledgling bar which in its early stages boasts tequila, Grand Marnier, gin and Rose’s lime juice.
So far, we have leaned heavily into Once Upon a Chef’s pomegranate margaritas, learned that Palomas are more popular than margaritas in Mexico, and realized that if you say you do not like gin you really do not like gin. Our mixology may not have achieved art form status (I am talking to you, Stanley Tucci) but it is a fun distraction, in moderation.
By reason of its versatility, there is no better place to find comfort in times of crisis than cheese. It can take the form of pizza, lasagna or even a charcuterie board.
Lasagna gives especially good bang for your buck. It is time consuming both to make and to clean up. The last batch of vegetable lasagna I made used nearly every pot, pan and bowl I had in the kitchen. When an hour during isolation feels like four, anything that takes up a good chunk of time is a welcome diversion.
A charcuterie board during a pandemic is another gift that keeps on giving. Shooting for an Instagram-worthy end result requires time and a group effort. And you will be using the right side of your brain, that portion of gray matter that may not be getting out much during isolation. I have never eaten baked brie with less guilt than during this stay at home order.
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We have become much more experimental with our tea selections during the pandemic. Right now, in addition to that old workhorse, Organic Green Tea, we are currently crushing on Pukka Three Ginger, Tazo Chai Vanilla Caramel and Good Earth’s Sweet & Spicy.
The additional benefit of the afternoon cup of tea is socialization. We have instituted a ritual afternoon cuppa which requires dropping everything we are doing and communing at the breakfast nook where we engage in non-pandemic related conversation and a few songs on Spotify. John Denver on repeat is particularly soothing.
Chocolate and Peanut Butter
What could be better than the world’s best comfort foods, combined? A couple of my darker days during the stay at home order were made infinitely better by Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs. They were left over from Easter baskets that were never made this year.
At first, I tried to ration them because they are seasonal. Then I remembered a recipe I had made from Alicia Silverstone’s The Kind Diet cookbook. Her homemade Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups are vegan but can be made with semi-sweet chocolate chips and butter. The addition of graham cracker crumbs makes for a comfort level that is off the charts.
No matter what day of your region’s stay at home order you are on (we are on Day 56), congratulations! You have made it this far. Even with lessening restrictions, many of us will not be spending a lot of time away from home any time soon.
We are all in this together. So if you need additional ammunition against the stresses of confinement due to Covid-19, help yourself to one from our heavily vetted list. What’s on your list?