How to Spice Up Your Quarantine

While this might seem like the time to grab a bag of chips for lunch and call it a day, being stuck at home is actually a great opportunity to expand your culinary skills. Right now, most of us don’t have to stick to a tight schedule and have more time to cook a meal, as opposed to throwing food or money to buy food in our backpacks before rushing out in the morning. Even though most of us have limited ingredients, it is still a great time to learn to cook or improve your cooking skills to be prepared for adult life, help out parents in a stressful time, and do something fun and relaxing.

As teenagers, we’re all nearing the end of our time at home before we go off to college or elsewhere, and feeding oneself is an important part of being a functioning adult. Even being able to cook just a few basic meals will give you more freedom over what you eat so you don’t have to be completely reliant on dining halls, restaurants, and other people. Additionally, it is much cheaper to buy ingredients at the grocery store that you can get several meals out of rather than always buying prepared meals or eating out. Finally, pre-made meals and most restaurant food usually have a lot more added sugar, sodium, and saturated fat than do similar foods prepared at home, so being able to cook for yourself can benefit your health.

If quarantine is a pain for teens, it is even more stressful for adults who have to worry about work and taking care of a family. Whether they are working from home, having to go into work as an essential worker, or are temporarily out of work due to the coronavirus, our parents are enduring a very stressful time. Taking care of a few meals could be a helpful and appreciated gesture so that they do not have to worry about what everyone is going to eat. Even if it is one or two days a week that you choose to cook for your family, that is one or two days that your parents will be getting a home-cooked meal that they didn’t have to cook. Pasta with jarred sauce, cooked chicken, and cheese is always an easy fix that is sure to please even picky siblings.

Not only can cooking during this time be good for your family, but it can also be good for you. I’ve found cooking to be not only a useful and necessary task, but a fun and creative activity to break up the day. Since grocery store products are in extremely high demand right now, not all of us can get exactly what we want, and while annoying, our limited pantries are an opportunity to have fun with cooking. I’ve found some delicious treats by looking for recipes online that work with the ingredients I have on hand. For example, I’ve made cinnamon rolls using a mix for pizza crust, and I’ve found a brownie recipe that replaced several typical ingredients with a single sweet potato. Both turned out delicious, and one would never guess the unusual additions. In fact, I might be making all my brownies with sweet potatoes from now on!

To conclude, learning to cook or improving your cooking skills is a productive and fun way to use your time in quarantine. Enjoy your creations!

Caroline Johnson

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