OPINION: Ten ways food lovers can stay happy and survive a second lockdown
PUBLISHED: 09:24 05 November 2020 | UPDATED: 09:24 05 November 2020
Our food columnist has tips for keeping sane during lockdown
We wake up this morning to find ourselves in a new lockdown, at least for the next four weeks, and who knows how much longer? Aside from a few reality-deniers, I think most people grudgingly acknowledge that the move is necessary, although of course none of us wanted it. The best way to ensure lockdown lasts as short a time as possible is to obey the rules and help drive down the infection rate.
We know from the 12 weeks we spent under virtual house arrest in the spring what a strain lockdown can be on our wellbeing. Fortunately we can be more sure this time around that our food and drink supply chains are robust, and I would suggest that cooking, eating and drinking are excellent ways of keeping up morale.
With this in mind, here are my 10 foodie tips for surviving lockdown.
It is irresponsible to be popping out to the supermarket every day, so now is the time to plan ahead and work out your menu for the whole week. Not only will this mean fewer opportunities to share germs with fellow shoppers, but you will end up buying food more efficiently and wasting less.
2. Shop local
It is all too easy to simply rely on the supermarkets for supplies, but there are many local, independent shops which really need your custom right now – and many of them are offering deliveries during lockdown. If we want them still to be around when we emerge, then we must give them our custom right now.
3. Batch cook
Now is the time for generosity. Cook more than you need, and share your food with neighbours who are either vulnerable and don’t feel safe going out, or else are struggling financially or emotionally. A simple dish left on someone’s doorstep can make such a difference.
4. Save money
By planning your menus, taking the time to cook (you’re not going out, so what’s stopping you?) and not going out to eat, you can easily find your food bills going down. So use lockdown as an opportunity to cut out the waste from your food spending.
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5. Spend money
Of course, many will find their incomes cut during lockdown, but many others won’t – and they will be spending less on petrol, going out, non-essential shopping and so on. If this is you, don’t feel bad about splurging occasionally on some luxury food or fine wine. Lockdown doesn’t have to mean living frugally the whole time.
Be inspired by The Great British Bake Off, and get in the kitchen. Baking is something which takes too much time for many people’s busy lives, but when you’re stuck at home, time is something you will have lots of. There are few more therapeutic activities – and at the end there is cake.
7. Get prepared for Christmas
The run-up to Christmas is usually so frantic that many of the culinary preparations are left to the last minute, robbing them of their joy. Lockdown will include the traditional stir-up Sunday, so why not resolve to make your own pudding, cakes and mince pies this year?
8. Eat In To Help Out
Hardest hit will be our hospitality sector, but many restaurants – especially independent ones – will be seeking to survive by providing takeaways. If you can’t go out to eat, this is the next best alternative. Try forsaking the chains and the big delivery services and giving the local establishments a go.
9. Zoom dinners
Different households can’t meet, but a good substitute is the Zoom dinner. Agree a menu in advance, and then you can sit down with friends via video link and eat the same meal together – even introducing a little healthy competition as to who has created the best version of the meal.
10. Spend some time in the kitchen
Most people who don’t cook regularly say they simply don’t have the time to do so. Well, now is your opportunity. Lockdown means we will all be spending more time in our homes, so what better way to spend that time than in the kitchen? If you have kids, teach them to cook – it’s probably the most important life skill they will learn.
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