What Living Through a Pandemic Taught Me About Being in The Kitchen

From Bagels to Sourdough, to Dalgona Coffee, I tried it all. From the moment I knew I was going to be sheltering-in-place, I decided to push myself to try new things. Excited, yet nervous, I only had one thing to do: find yeast! Yes, this was the crazy time at the beginning of the pandemic where yeast was nowhere to be found and social media feeds were flooded with pictures of baked goods. I was really in for it. But through it all, the good, the bad, and the overrated, I came out a better, more adventurous chef. Here are 3 things I have learned.

Food Trends Have the Power to Provide A Sense of Belonging

I hate following recipes. I prefer to be more of a free spirit in the kitchen, usually throwing whatever I have in the fridge into a pan. So, when this pandemic resulted in a plethora of food trends, I decided to challenge myself to try a few. The first-ever “quarantine food trend” I hopped on was Dalgona coffee. I was scrolling through Tik-Tok and I found the recipe. Luckily for me, I was already quite deep into my coffee addiction, so I was excited to try a new coffee-inspired drink. Whipping together instant coffee granules, sugar, and hot water, I was met with a foamy, cloud-like mixture that had an odd taste. However, poured atop a cold glass of milk, it was refreshing and tasty. Amazingly enough, one of the first reactions I had was the feeling of belonging: I was instantly connected to millions of people who had also made this drink. While I soon gave up on making it, I still cherish the warmth I felt to this day.

Onto the next trend!

Don’t Cry Over Gummy Sourdough

Sometimes, All Your Heart, and Stomach Desires, Is a Box of Mac and Cheese.

Comfort food. It gets us through the worst of times. And 2020 was pretty bad. In a world where cooking food has become an art form, I personally have felt pressure to go full “Gordon Ramsey” on all my meals. And truthfully, quarantine hasn’t helped: more time at home, more money to spend on groceries that I am not spending on eating out. However, one of the most important things I have learned throughout this pandemic is self-care. It can take many forms, whether it’s buying expensive lattes or staying in bed all day binging The Bachelorette. The mental exhaustion of coping with the year has resulted in less energy devoted to putting meals together, and that is okay. Yes, my consumption of cereal and boxed mac and cheese have increased over these last nine months, but that has brought me happiness. As my mom would say, “lean into the good.” In fact, one food item that has brought me immense joy has been chicken nuggets. For those who know me as a vegetarian, this admission may shock you, but please refer to a past article I wrote in which I describe my increasing desire for chicken. Who knew all it would take was a pandemic to push me over the carnivorous edge?

With Love From My Kitchen to Yours

It is almost the New Year, which means it is time for resolutions and reflection. While my own goals usually center around something food-related, like trying a new recipe, this year I will dig a bit deeper. Taking into account all the lessons I learned during the pandemic, I want to expand my horizons, be kind and patient with myself, and allow for all the self-care moments my heart – and stomach – desire. Here’s to 2021, and whatever wild food trends it may hold.

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