Unless you live in a cave, you have likely been bombarded daily with stories on social media, on the news, and in person of what you need to have on-hand as the world prepares to self-quarantine and ride out this global spread of coronavirus and the ensuing COVID-19 disease.
I, myself, am trying to balance being prepared for hunkering down for an extended period of time and staving off panic-buying. I am not a person who is prone to panic. That is a double-edged sword, I know. And the past week has certainly challenged me to re-evaluate my mindset.
I learned to cook in Italy where electricity is expensive and refrigerators are tiny. I went to the markets in my neighborhood every single day and only bought what I needed for dinner that evening and breakfast and lunch the following day. When I moved home from Rome and met Jake, he was constantly making fun of me that we had a whole refrigerator and I could buy food for more than one day. That was twenty-two years ago and I am better. But not much.
I still frequent farmers' markets weekly, belong to CSAs (community supported agriculture), and have very little in my pantry besides a bag of rice and some other grains. I go to the butcher's counter at the store and pick up just what I plan to cook in the next day or two.
Save for a year-old bottle of organic vodka from the Netherlands, two pig's feet that I am saving for ramen broth, and some ice packs, my freezer is usually empty. I have two jars of cuttlefish ink and one of caviar, but no jars of peanut butter. I have dried organic rose petals and dried seaweed, but no dried pasta.
Last week, however, I went shopping for an entire week. I posted the photo above and got comments from friends that I might need to fill that up a little more. "More coffee," suggested one friend. I have three bags you can't see on the door. "More ice cream," said another. Yes! My family agrees.
So, I have gone back to the store this weekend and battled all of the other shoppers who were doing the same thing I was. I am slightly more prepared than I was. I now have loaves of bread in my freezer; I bought enough dried pasta for two weeks' worth of dinners and enough rice for probably another two weeks. I still have a little ways to go. But I'm not hoarding.