Everyone around us has become a baker or a chef during the pandemic. Instagram and Twitter feeds are now full of delicious recipes made by our peers, many trying to imitate some of the delicious dishes that we could once enjoy normally at restaurants. Why not create your own dine-in experience at home?
The cookbooks that have collected dust over the years have now transitioned to quick and easy online recipes. Since cooking is often associated with time, a luxury that many who work full-time do not have, eating on the go is commonplace. Now, with a huge increase of time spent at home, people have the chance to pay more attention to the ingredients they use, and test out their creativity in the kitchen.
“With quarantine, I had an abundance of time so it really lowered the stakes and made me just try many different things,” said DePaul senior Communication and Media major Jaylyn Jimenez. “When I really had all the time in the world to go through every step, go to the grocery store, get every ingredient exactly how it said, things started coming out really really good and I started to really enjoy the process.”
Many people indulge in the process of cooking as a source of entertainment and comfort. For those who are stuck miles away from their families, simple home-cooked meals can give you a sense of contentment.
“One of my favorite things about cooking is being able to express myself through food. I love cooking because I have control and it connects me to my Mexican culture,” said Martha Gomez, a DePaul senior who lives with her two roommates in Pilsen. Right now we live in a time where so much of what is happening in the world is out of our control, cooking can provide a moment for those who seek control to manage and focus on the task at hand.
Popular food delivery services like Instacart have been a hit during the pandemic. The app allows customers to order groceries to their doorstep. The now digitized market has created a way to conveniently get groceries and ingredients. In the midst of the winter weather and a global crisis, many have turned to apps like these to fulfill their shopping needs.
Social media platforms like TikTok have provided users with popular recipes that are quick and easy. This often includes short clips filled with ingredients and basic steps; some popular pasta dishes that have been circulating are vodka sauce and tomato feta recipes.
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♬ original sound – Ereka Vetrini
“I love food TikTok, because within a minute they go through the steps really quickly, so there’s none of the extra confusing language, none of the fluff in between the recipes,” Jimenez said.
Cooking often promotes a sense of connection between those who are eating together. Despite not being able to eat in larger groups with family and friends, people are able to connect through recipes. And for those who are living amongst their immediate family, preparing a meal to sit and eat together can also provide a sense of gratitude and reassurance.
For Gomez, a quarantine favorite has been pambazos, a traditional Mexican dish that is essentially a sandwich dipped in salsa and sour cream. The fluffy Mexican bread encases the meat, cheese, and lettuce, and is also coated with guajillo sauce.
Another aspect of cooking that has really caught people’s attention is the economic benefits of eating at home and saving money. With a decrease in work hours and many still unemployed, eating out regularly is not an option. People are more concerned about making use of what they have at home.
Knowing exactly what ingredients are going into your food instead of just eating with little knowledge of what you are putting into your body is also a deciding factor for cooking, as nutrition is more important than ever in a time where people couldn’t go to gyms.
Nicole Sulewski, a personal trainer at Evanston Athletic Club, told The DePaulia that “nutrition is where everything begins. You could work out two times a day, for 7 days a week but without a good nutritional balance, there won’t be any progress. Nutrition is 75% of the battle, working out is only 25%. Many people get that confused.”
Cooking is a universal practice that has often been left behind for convenience, quarantine has taught us that taking the extra time isn’t half as bad when you enjoy what you’re cooking.