It’s time to prepare to hunker down as Coronavirus COVID-19 spreads. What should you do to prepare? You don’t need to panic, but it makes sense to have enough food on hand to keep your family fed if you get sick or your area is quarantined. Read on for a shopping list and other tips on being prepared and staying safe.
Unfortunately, our food system relies on big companies that transport food long distances. This network makes the system fragile, which is why I’ve been saying for years that buying local is a matter of national security as well as a way to support local economies.
Fortunately, if you’ve been cooking the Cook for Good way, you are already mostly set.
You know about cooking with food that lasts a long time without refrigeration:
- Grains (rice, millet, kasha, quinoa, barley)
- Canned tomatoes, crushed or diced
- Whole-wheat pasta
- Peanut butter
It’s not that I expect the power to go out, but that you’ll have more room outside your refrigerator than inside it.
- White whole wheat flour or whole wheat flour
- All-purpose flour
- Sorghum, molasses, or maple syrup
You know how to cook sturdy vegetables that keep a long time:
- Winter squash
- Sweet potatoes
- White potatoes
You eat fresh fruit when it’s available and frozen or dried fruit when it’s not:
- Frozen blueberries
- Frozen cherries
- Dried apricots
- Dried plums (prunes)
To supplement the above, consider adding:
- Frozen kale and peas
- Field Roast sausages
- Sauerkraut, kimchi, or other fermented vegetables
- Mustard, ketchup, salsa, soy sauce, or hot sauce
And because sweets can help you feel cheerful in rough times, don’t forget:
- Sugar and brown sugar
- Chocolate chips
- Frozen desserts (nice cream)
- Chocolate bars
What if the Cook Can’t Cook?
Consider how your family will get along if you or the other main cooks get sick.
- Is all the food in the refrigerator edible? I need to toss out a container of failed aquafaba mayonnaise in case my dear Taster is forced to start cooking.
- Do you need to label any jars or canisters? Maybe you can tell the difference between barley, millet, and steel-cut oats at a glance, but can your kids?
- Do non-cooks know enough about cooking to keep everyone fed?
Being able to say yes to the above lets your family carry on even if you are struck by a meteor or pass the blind audition on The Voice.
Wash Your Hands Like You Chopped Jalapeños
Kathy Hester of Healthy Slow Cooking posted a funny sign on Facebook. It said: wash your hands like you’ve just chopped jalapeños and need to take out your contact lenses.
Washing your hands and avoiding crowds is a way to protect the people you can about as well as yourself. If you can avoid getting the virus, then you will avoid getting sick and spreading it.
I was shocked last week at the following exchange:
- Friend One: The CDC says to wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and warm water.
- Friend Two: (snort and laugh) As if that will happen!
And Friend Two is a local leader who has contact with lots of people!
Washing your hands may take a bit of extra time or may be a completely new skill (men, I’m looking at you), but it is much easier and more pleasant than getting a disease that kills upwards of 3% of the people who get it.
If you can, avoid crowds. I’ve drifted into a routine where I stroll up to the grocery store nearly every day. Now I’ve stocked up and plan to shop just once a week, at off-peak times.
Can you put off a trip? Drive instead of fly? Meet online instead of in person? Watch a video at home instead of going to the theater? In short: avoid crowds, especially where you will be sharing air in tight quarters. I’m also delaying visits with friends who have just come back from flying or a cruise until they know whether they’ve brought back the virus.
Vote. Support Medicare for All and Science
Please vote for Bernie Sanders and other candidates who support Medicare for All. It’s essential during a pandemic that we make it easy for people to get tested and treated. Universal healthcare makes sense for reasons of compassion and for enlightened self-interest. If your barista, Uber driver, maid, courier, or cashier is working despite being sick, then you may get sick too. If the people taking care of your kids or aged relatives are sick, you may find heartbreak ahead.
The current administration’s war on science has driven out thousands of experts from the CDC, the EPA, and other essential agencies. The current, suicidal proposed budget cuts EPA funds by 26.5% as we face a climate emergency and Health and Human Services, which includes the Center for Disease Control, by 9% during a pandemic.