Life during Quarantine 16: Cooking our way through COVID

Many new behaviors have resulted because of COVID! For me, a return to more cooking was a nice delight. The two months or so I was completely at home I shared photos and recipes with other local chefs on the Facebook group” The Quarantine Kitchen”. Some I had worked with years ago for big events from Waters Catering. Moderator Chef Jenn Femley has kept everyone cooking and sharing their most delicious recipes and food facts.

Survey: Cooking more at home could become the new normal post-pandemic  As Americans adjust to home confinement, their confidence in the kitchen has soared with many saying they will carry on with their cooking habits even after the world returns to a new normal, according to a new study by food and beverage communications firm HUNTER.

According to the New York Times: Rachael Ray, Blue Apron, and Michael Pollan all tried in their own ways. But Covid-19 has done what none of them could do. At a scale not seen in over 50 years, America is cooking, a healthy move in the middle of a pandemic. Yes, we are using restaurant delivery services more and the demand for packaged goods has skyrocketed. Even sales of the unpalatable Hamburger Helper are up. But the frequency and consistency of cooking present a tremendous public health opportunity.

In one recent survey, 54 percent of respondents said they cook more than before the pandemic, 75 percent said they have become more confident in the kitchen and 51 percent said they will continue to cook more after the crisis ends. Interest in online cooking tutorials, recipe websites, and food blogs has surged. Dozens of recipe writers and cookbook authors such as Alison RomanJet Tila, and Julia Turshen are frenetically posting ideas and answering questions on Twitter and Instagram. Cookbooks are rarely among the top-selling books on Amazon. Yet this week, “Magnolia Table, A Collection of Recipes for Gathering” by Joanna Gaines is No. 2. The search term “online cooking classes” saw a fivefold increase on Google over the past four weeks, and the search title “cook with me” saw a 100 percent increase in average daily views on YouTube in the second half of March. This surge in cooking is meaningful, as people who frequently cook meals at home eat more healthfully and consume fewer calories than those who cook less, according to multiple studies.

COVID has made many Instagrammers stars! I was reading an article from Trtworld and liked this observation. “Sociologist Alev Erkilet tells TRT World that while the crisis the world is facing is unique, responses will not be. “We are all trying to convince ourselves that we will live our lives as we used to in ‘normal’ times,” she says. “This is an effort to keep balanced.

But when we look at the details sociologically, different people will react differently. There is no one single response.” According to Erkilet, one’s class, cultural, or occupational position will determine his or her response to the pandemic. “Whether that’s fear, or having faith in God, or resistance, it depends a lot on the individual’s ethical codes, his or her norms.”Erkilet points out that a cashier who has to sit at a register all day, making transactions and handling cash too may rather want to stay at home with her children and bake with them. But her life, her class, does not allow it as she has to work, ironically, to put food on the table. “One needs to be at least middle class to enjoy cooking and baking at home during this pandemic,” Erkilet says, “without having to worry about the loss of income –– thanks to savings or an ability to work from home. ”She gives another example of children staying home from school. “There are a lot of graduate students who are mothers around me,” Erkilet observes. “They have all started baking cakes to keep their children happy, to offer a semblance of ‘normalcy’ in an uncertain time.”

Since in fact I do cook and have been a bakery owner for about 10 years employed as a chef another 10, keeping up with recipes for me is fun. In my busy life, I Google the ingredients in my refrigerator read the recipes, and make the one that sounds the best. In the ’80s and 90’s I read cookbooks like one would read a novel. I left my collection of 500+ cookbooks from around the world with places like Hungary or Turkey. I got baking books from Italian nuns in Italian as I baked for a restaurant chain from Napoli in Athens and Mykonos. I even had the LaRouse Gastronomique from France. My two most reassured: My mom’s American Woman’s Cookbook from 1920 and On Food and Cooking by Harold McGee (he was someone I could relate to as a Cook/chemist and journalist!) When I left the island of Rhodes, Greece I gifted the whole collection to a Greek American Friend who hosted a coffee hour for foreign women I realized after years of cooking that most countries have something in common. Most countries have a tomato sauce, a dumpling of some sort, and a plain cake. Chane the spices get a whole new flavor from another land. One of my groups I get emails from, Allrecipes has a nice slide show along with this comment. “Welcome to cooking in the age of social distancing. We’re hunkering down, stockpiling our pantries and freezers, and cooking a lot more! We’re getting creative, too, adapting recipes, making clever swaps, and stretching budgets. Making do, and feeling grateful.”

I will conclude here by recommending one of the best cooking sites, Bon Appetit. The nourishment we’re craving right now extends beyond what’s happening in the kitchen. Here, the strategies, stories, and pieces of practical advice fostering our mental, emotional, and physical well-being. They have wonderful videos with a great  YouTube channel Chefs, restaurant owners, and BA editors discuss what’s happening as a result of the virus and how they’re responding—plus, the cooking techniques you should be trying out at home—the Bon Appétit Foodcast.

Stay safe and keep cooking up wonderful things!


Cynthia Kosciuczyk, MBA
Cynthia Kosciuczyk, MBA
I took the less-traveled roads which led to many careers. Each of these contributed to my unique mix of expertise: science research, teaching, food, art, and textiles. Owning and operating my own businesses (a bakery, a gallery, and a consulting business) thrust me into the driver seat of learning many diverse roles from customer service to public relations and resulted in my unique management style. Participating in the creation of startups, working in design, and my own businesses and technology endeavors. My quest for knowledge and seeking out the best has turned me into a networking enthusiast. A lifelong passion for textiles and Persian rugs taught me an array of professional skills such as research, writing, and community events. Networking resulted in a multitude of business opportunities. My experiences include Management, Entrepreneurship, Sales, Design, Descriptive Writing, Business Strategy, Color, and Textiles. Every facet of my work and life comes together like pieces of a puzzle. I strive to be a phenomenal networker and problem solver who continues to learn and grow.

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