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Our “On the Menu” author gives tips on “Cooking during COVID-19”


Our On the Menu cooking maven talks to those who are forced to stay home and never learned how to make a meal! Yes, she’s looking at you!

The COVID-19 pandemic is something none of us will ever forget. These moments in time are ones that will change our society for many years to come. Think about where you were when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Or where you were when the Challenger Space Shuttle disaster happened. 

Or for our Seniors who are missing out on the remainder or their final year in High School, or the students who just graduated and are out in the world, 9/11. 

I know everyone has been immersed in the news, social media, etc. but we still have to move forward, just in a different way. Maybe it is a chance for a reset for our world. A chance to slow down for a while and really appreciate our family and friends, careers, nature, and well in my case. . . Food. I have heard of the Freshman 15, but how about the COVID-19? My favorite thing to do when I am stressed is to cook. It is a release for me and an extension of love to my family and friends. 

So get back to basics! Even if you have never cooked in your life, this is a great time to learn! Learn the basics. My mom cooked every day of our lives growing up, yet I had zero interest in it. The first meal I ever cooked for my ex-husband when we were first married was Macaroni and Cheese. Yep. From the box. Good ol’ Kraft Mac and Cheese. As I proudly boiled the instructed 6 cups of water, my then husband asked me, “Why did you measure the water for the pasta?” I replied boldly, “Because that is what it says on the box!” Little did I know that you only need enough water to cover the pasta. Whatever. Details, details. At least, I was making a meal for the first time. Right? 

There is so much inspiration out there for meals. Quick meals, cheap meals, meals to feed a crowd, different ways to spice up Top Ramen, the possibilities are endless. OK, you got me. I love ramen. What an easy thing to doctor up! Add some chopped scallions, hard-boiled egg, a squeeze of lemon juice, meat and something crunchy on top. Voila! You have a cheap meal! 

Or, how about boiling some potatoes, mashing them up, adding chicken stock, chopped ham, a can of beer (mmmm beer!), some frozen or canned peas and making a delicious easy soup to feed the family. One of my go-toes, sigh . . .Yes it is true.. Your On The Menu person has nights where I am just tired from my job and decide to doctor up some Hamburger Helper. I get the Pasta with Noodles and Marinara and add ground turkey, fresh basil, grated parmesan, some red wine, some sugar, salt/pepper and Italian seasoning to make it another cheap, easy meal. 

I have faith in each of you that you can use this time to be creative! Get your kids involved! They need your guidance, love, patience and stability right now. And you, the parents, need to  be at your best. Get plenty of sleep, have a glass of wine, pray, meditate, do what you need to do to get through this. 

Stay healthy, stay safe, and stay home if you can. If you are an essential worker, such as our Fire Department, Police Department, 911 Dispatchers, Grocery store employees, Medical Personnel, etc. 

THANK YOU!

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