Americans are preparing for the possibility of self-isolating for up to two weeks if they’re exposed to coronavirus. Consumers have been buying bulk toiletries and paper towels from Costco and other stores. What about food? We talk about important staples for your pantry and freezer with David Tamarkin, editor for the food website Epicurious.com.
What should you do with all the emergency food you buy from grocery stores?
Tamarkin says you should save it -- put it where you won’t touch it unless you absolutely must.
Dry goods to buy for the pantry:
Honey. “The only thing I know that lasts forever is honey. Honey has absolutely no expiration date,” Tamarkin says.
Beans (canned and dried). “Those, to me, are some of the most versatile foods you can have. And they're excellent nutritionally,” he says.
Tomatoes (canned and dried). He says they’re good for all sorts of purposes, including making shakshuka or pasta sauce.
“Pantry pasta.” Tamarkin defines it as “just something that you can make with things that you have onhand.”
He adds, “When we're putting out recipes for pantry pastas, we're putting out a lot of caveats, like if you have fresh herbs still in your fridge that you can use, throw those in. If you have onions and garlic, throw those in. Those aren't necessarily pantry ingredients, but they're things that you might have left over from your normal everyday cooking.”
Dried, cured meat. Tamarkin says there are plenty of cured meats that can last three to four weeks, and you can slice and crisp them in a skillet to add to pasta.
Coconut milk. “I've already started to self-isolate a little bit, and I'm concerned about having variety -- just to kind of lift my spirits.”
Sardines, anchovies, tuna (canned).
For the freezer
Frozen vegetables. “The freezer for me is the place where I'm really going to get my greens. The thing that concerns me the most about an emergency reserve of food is where am I going to get my vegetables, and where am I going to get my green food?” he says.
He adds that if he gets a heads-up that he’ll be in isolation for a few weeks, this is the first thing he’d do: “I'm going to blend any herb I have in my fridge … I'll put them all together in a blender with garlic, olive oil, and salt. And I'll create a pesto-like sauce.”
Fruit. Tamarkin says he relies on frozen fruit for smoothies for turning into sauces, which he puts on ice cream.
Also: bread and ice cream.
In the end, if you’re desperate and/or want more variety, you could turn to Postmates.
--Written by Amy Ta, produced by Angie Perrin and Michell Eloy