During this lockdown, self-quarantine, self-isolation, stay at home time. I’ve done a lot of interesting things. I’ve decided I wanted to relearn a few things. I’ve cooked, a lot. Boy have I cooked a lot.
I’ve also not gained a lot of weight, yes, I’ve maintained a reasonable weight during this
three six month time. I get up every morning, get on the scale, and just hope. Thankfully even though I’ve been cooking a lot, doesn’t mean, I’ve eaten like a crazy person. Not to mention, I go for daily walks around a lot of random places in the city. I’ve done a lot of urban hikes and found a lot of randomnesses.
With all of that, there have been those things, I just know I need to get when I’ve gone out for my once a week shopping. After reading this article in the Washington Post, I thought about the things I’ve always needed. To go along with this, I’ve thought about the things I decided I really wanted to make or learn to do when it comes to my cooking.
To go along with that, I’ve asked a few of my friends what they’ve realized they always need when they’ve gone shopping, or what they learned to do, or cooked.
Some of these will be just like everyone else, yes, one of those breads is going to be mentioned, sorry. I think we all just wanted to see if we could do it or not. I mean, I really wanted to see if I could do it. I looked for a regular recipe, found one that I was really confident would work for me, then I just followed the steps. I was so happy when it worked out.
Other things, hopefully won’t be too cliché, well it probably will be. I mean in today’s internet age, nothing is original. Go and do quick search for an idea that you think, oh yea, I have this great idea, should be great. Yup, it’s been done and probably done in a great way. I’ve thought, “Oh, I wanna make this cocktail.” I go to Pinterest, it’s been covered, like 10 times. I know there are still some original ideas, but you really gotta work to make sure it is original.
I asked a few friends for some things they were cooking or buying. I was so happy when a few got back to me. With that, let’s look at what they were doing. I hope everyone is inspired to examine their habits and maybe it will show you something about yourself.
Sarah from Stuttgart Steps
My friend Sarah from Stuttgart Steps is a great tour guide and an excellent cook. The 8 plus years that I lived in Stuttgart, she would host some amazing dinner parties. I learned about a few different cuisines, especially when it came to understanding cooking kosher foods. The times were great and in the times that we are in now. I totally miss hanging out with her and her husband, not to mention our other friends. It was a true family feel.
When it came to how she was making it through COVID-19, she put it this way:
I was probably more aware of COVID-19 as a threat as I’d traveled to visit family in California in mid-January and returned to my home in Stuttgart, Germany, in mid-February. As a result I started stocking up on essentials at a time where people thought I was being a bit of a paranoid prepper.
As always I relied on Rancho Gordo beans, although despite my prepper profile I had a few bags so didn’t think to re-order early, which meant I did go through a couple months of rationing their amazing black beluga lentils, which make the best dal makhani. I was very happy I’d brought back some artisanal sausages and pepper jellies from California to supplement cheese plates which was lovely on our balcony as the weather during German lockdown was unseasonably sunny and pleasant.
I did receive a sourdough starter from a friend, and despite being quite good at making challah, I had some sourdough disasters. What I learned was the leftover starter that results from “feeding” is the best part of the whole ordeal. I now have sour pizza dough in my fridge and freezer at all times, ready to be rolled out for pizza or flatbread when the occasion calls. Crumpets were the best discovery – no additional flour needed, and they are the perfect breakfast pastry and didn’t require any additional flour at a time where flour was scarce.
My smartest purchase was at the Stuttgart Markthalle the day before true lockdown started. I got a hunk of amazing aged parmesan and a slab of ‘Nduja, a soft, spicy Calabresiean sausage that adds a delicious richness to flatbread, pasta, or even a basic marinara. We don’t eat a lot of meat in our home so having these two flavor accelerants could make otherwise simple meals rise to something sublime, and they last forever in the fridge.
. . .
My friend John is a really cool guy. I met John after I had lived in Stuttgart for a few years. I would see him at various things randomly around town. It wasn’t until I had lived in my apartment in downtown Stuttgart for four or five years after the fact, that I found out he lived really close to me. John and his wife have just hit a year of marriage, so you can imagine how it was for them to be living through COVID-19.
John is an American from North Carolina, while his wife is German. There are some, myself included that say how important it is to have someone who is from the country that you are living in, especially in a pandemic. This can be a friend if you are in a relationship, or if you are single, then get into a relationship with a German, or someone in whatever country you are in.
I asked John, “What were you thoughts during all of the lockdown stuff? Were you worried or chill?”
His response was pretty interesting:
Hmmm….well at first I was always Skiing for the first time. So [it] wasn’t in my normal surroundings. And honestly it seemed like the world was crumbling around us and we just decided to keep [on] skiing because you never know. We were there through their close on the last day.
When we came back we were a bit scared because her father got a bad cold and so did I. Tested negative for COVID-19, but before we knew, it was kinda scary.
We never lost our cool though. Time together did wonders for our relationship.
John enjoys cooking and has a lot of wonderful ideas. While going through everything, he and his wife were cooking and gardening. They were gardening, even ended up growing some strawberries, plus getting in touch with his southern roots by frying up a nice looking chicken sandwich. Not to mention making cinnamon rolls, which is pretty awesome in Germany. Finding good American type desserts like that is pretty much impossible unless you are in Berlin or Munich.
. . .
Just a few examples of what some people are doing to get through these crazy times. What have you all been doing? What things have you found yourself always doing or just in need of?
I am baking up a storm and will continue to be baking through all of time. One thing I’m learning about and continuing to experiment with is what can I freeze. Baking stuff and freezing things for later is pretty cool. Just make sure to mark what is you are freezing. Nothing worse than thawing something and realizing it’s totally not the right thing.
Hope you are all are making it through this most interesting time. Thank you for taking the time and stopping by.