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Balancing Preparedness and Staving Off Panic-Buying

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.

This afternoon a friend ran to Whole Foods and texted me to see if I needed anything. He just dropped off supplies for me to make some pasta e fagioli in the coming weeks. Grazie mille!

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.

And I'm certainly not going to be stingy. So, if you're local to me and you need anything, please ask. We can arrange a curbside drop-off or swap because we are all in this together! And I always have wine to trade!


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