Disease & Illness

How You Should Stock Your Pantry For A Potential Coronavirus Quarantine

This is helpful information as we enter the winter months.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a guide on preparing your family and home for COVID-19, including creating a household plan of action. Although experts and government officials don’t want people to panic, they do want you to be prepared.

Because of the widespread transmission of the coronavirus, some people are stocking their kitchens with essentials. In the event of occurrences such as local quarantines, stores or public transportation shutting down and illness within your own family, having enough to get by on at home will make things much less stressful for you.

You don’t have to stockpile months’ worth of beans and rice, or pallets loaded with toilet paper and hand sanitizer. But making sure you have enough groceries, household staples and daily necessities to take care of your family for two weeks or so could save you from going out in public in the event of a local outbreak.

Plan Recipes, Then Stock Up

Don’t rush to the supermarket and fill up your cart with random dry goods. Yona Sipos, a professor of environmental and health sciences at the University of Washington’s School of Public Health, recommends creating a meal plan.

“Go [to the store] with a plan,” Sipos told Epicurious. “Have a list of recipes. Probably pretty simple recipes.”

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Cook Like a Pro

Stocking shelf-stable cans and boxes of food will allow you to be prepared without the worry of your groceries going bad. This doesn’t mean emergency meals have to be boring or bland. The Washington Post asked some of the best-known chefs for planning, shopping and cooking with readiness in mind.

Padma Lakshmi is a fan of batch cooking.

“Pick a Saturday or Sunday and involve the whole family in making huge batches of different dishes,” the “Top Chef” host told the Washington Post, “Turkey chili or green chili with white beans, things that are stew-y and freeze well. Then pack them in quart containers so you can take out just what you need.”

Lakshmi also recommended picking up frozen vegetables and root vegetables, which store well for long periods of time. She also suggested shelf-stable sauces, concentrates and condiments.

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Author, chef and restaurant owner Edward Lee suggests being creative with what you have. For instance, he enjoys a simple dish combining instant ramen, frozen green beans, a slice of American cheese and a dash of curry powder.

“The cheese adds a little creaminess and tang,” Lee told the Washington Post.

Don’t forget about your freezer space. Along with delicious dishes made from pantry items, such as chili and risotto, Nina Compton who is chef-owner of Compère Lapin and Bywater American Bistro, New Orleans always keeps a few frozen pizzas on hand.

Pasta, casseroles, cheese and pizza: what better than comfort foods to help you get through a trying time?