I started writing this post about a month ago, but much of it still holds true.
In this unprecedented time of self-quarantine, virtual learning and social distancing, we all have to come to a new normal. For each of us, that will look different. Will you be able to work from home? Will you get any work done with your kids “schooling from home”? Where is the money to pay the bills coming from? What will the next month look like? Will this go on for months? How will everything change?
So many uncertainties. So much to wonder and stress and have anxiety about. And this is for those of us at home. Those that have to go out and work, those that are taking care of our community both at food stores and in hospitals and medical facilities – you have your own set of extra uncertainties. And I am so grateful for those in the community that are risking their health and safety to help others.
I only know that I can control my environment. I can control what goes in and out of my house. I can *somewhat* control the food that is available to my family. So with this control, what am I doing with it?
I have been stocking up on food. Not hoarding, but making sure I have the basics of pantry and freezer items, so that if the stores and at home deliveries stop, we have food. For the 2 weeks before we were told to “really start social distancing” (first 2 weeks of March), I went to Costco and the food store multiple times.
I even went to the liquor store. Because the uncertainty of when everyone would stop selling their wares kept nagging at my unconscious. I did not buy cases of hand sanitizer or bleach or wipes. I did not buy more than one case of toilet paper (because we do have kids that go to the bathroom) and I did not buy paper towels (because we can always use cloth kitchen towels and wash them). And then I stocked up on frozen and canned veggies and fruits. I thought of the “rainbow” to make sure we get some rounded nutrition each day. I made sure I had whole grain pasta and brown rice. I made sure to get flour and sugar and butter and a giant bag of chocolate chips, because my kids like to make and eat chocolate chip cookies.
And when I had stocked up enough, I sat at home and started planning basic meals (in my head). And I waited. And grocery stores still seemed to be open. And we were going through all of our fresh produce quicker than I thought. So I made two last orders (Amazon grocery delivery and a neighbor who was going to a grocery store) of fresh items. And so now I sit and wait. I plan my meals, we eat our snacks during the day (check out my snackboards), and I wait.
I’ve been lucky enough over the past month to get 2 deliveries from Costco same day and to be able to pick up boxes of fresh produce at a local farm to keep us afloat. I also have neighbors and family who will order something extra for me with their delivery orders if I need something urgently. It’s a lot more difficult now to find “time slots” for grocery deliveries and pick up orders. Yesterday, I went through my extra freezer and meal planned for dinners about 3 weeks out.
When I initially “stocked up”, I forgot about lunches, and how when everyone is home, they feel the need to snack all day long. I’ve since instituted some basic rules about lunches (that they make themselves) and snacks: fruits and veggies that you find are unlimited. You can eat any leftovers you find in the fridge for lunches or snacks. ASK ME before taking anything meal-like from the freezer. These basic rules have seemed to help calm my anxiety of “running out of meal parts.”
We are trying to support our local restaurants once every week or so by buying to go curbside pickup meals or delivery. We buy extra so we can freeze or use it for multiple lunches afterwards. You can also buy gift certificates to use later when it’s all safe to go out.
And it takes everything I can not to just order all the food from all the restaurants because what about when it stops? What about when there’s nothing left but what we have in our fridge, freezer and pantry? We will be fine. We will be ok. Deep breaths. We have food.
But for those that don’t, please think of supporting them! There are local food banks and pantries and soup kitchens that need your monetary support so that they can make and provide meals for those who can’t. There are national organizations if you are reading this and aren’t in the Northern NJ area.
And I know that the phrase “we’re all in this together” is being overused, but it rings so true. We all are trying to figure out how to navigate this new “normal”. It looks different for everyone, but if we are kind and supportive, we will all come out better on the other side.