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Mh. Team Picks: Quarantine Food    

Mh. Team Picks: Quarantine Food

BY MEADOWLARK MONAGHAN

I’m the type of person that is relentlessly optimistic. When crisis, challenges, life happens, you have two options: you either act in accordance with your emotions and your ego and therefore, unravel. Or… 

Or. That’s it; period. In my mind, you say “or” and I pick or. I pick to not fall into the emotional turmoil of hardships and instead, be as present as I can with them and find meaning for myself. 

That being said, I am working on present positives everyday. Right now, it’s food. A recurring, positive theme in my quarantine thus far is the relationship of food with mental health. Food is tied to nostalgia (“just how my grandma makes it!”), self identity (“I take my steak medium rare, and anything else is blasphemous!”), social connectedness (everything happens around the dinner table), religion (“breaking bread”), the list goes on. 

Spicy-Sweet Sambal Pork Noodles

I come from a family with a big priority for food. I grew up watching Top Chef with my mom and brother constantly, and Giada, Bobby, and Ina on the Food Network promptly at 3PM after school. Nowadays, I am binge watching Bon Appetit videos, Chef’s Table, Mind of a Chef, and Ugly Delicious Season 2 for my fix of food content. I’ve been cooking and baking for as long as I can remember. Two of my relatives were professional chefs. I’ve dated a chef (do not recommend). I’m re-reading The Nasty Bits by Tony Bourdain currently. Shoot, we don’t even have time to get into Bourdain right now, but you better believe that will be for another time. Just know my heart still aches. 

All of this is to say that my favorite quarantine moments have been the anticipation of the next meal. Whether I was able to brace my local Trader Joe’s for provisions or am challenged to what’s left in my pantry, getting creative in the kitchen has brought me solace. 

I’ve been using the same stash of ingredients to make a smorgasbord of new and innovative snacks. Just yesterday, this delightfully edited and silly video of Brad Leone inspired me to throw some tomatoes on my stove and make a delicious charred tomato toast

From the content consumption of books, Youtube, Netflix, podcasts, etc to gain inspiration, to the act of getting in the zone and finding my anxious thoughts simmer down (pun intended) while doing the actual cooking, to being able to smile and enjoy a meal with my “essential” worker boyfriend, allows us to connect, relax, and nourish our bodies and our happiness. It is the much needed moment of solace to bring us together and comfort us in these objectively chaotic times. 

Mi Goreng Instant Noodles

I ASKED THE TEAM, HOW HAVE YOUR QUARANTINE DIETS BEEN? WHAT'S BEEN YOUR GO TO FEEL GOOD MEAL? HAV EYOU BEEN COOKING FROM HOME MORE AND SUPPORTING RESTAURANTS WITH TAKE OUT?

Josh: My quarantine diet has been so off my normal eating regiment. I normally eat less and eat healthier but being that we are quarantined and eating as a full family, the meals are bigger and therefore I am eating a lot more food. Especially carbs. My go-to, feel good meal has been turning on the grill and having a chicken burger and a salad. Breakfast and dinner is home cooked but sometimes we take out lunch. Loving açaí bowls. Refreshing and sweet. Going forward, I want to prep my menus and have healthy snacks in the fridge ready to go.

Noah: I have been using this time to implement better habits & routines into my life. I read a quote that really inspired me... "the biggest loss in the end is if we come out on the other side of this unchanged". With that being said, I've been eating "healthy" during the week and I'm having fun on the weekend. Smoothies in the morning, salad, sweet potatoes, chicken for lunch & dinner. On the weekends you best believe I'm crushing a burger, fries and a banana cream pie from The Apple Pan. 

Peiman: Not much has changed in my diet. Cooking a bit more now that I'm home for longer. Trying to keep it healthy - as that helps me with how I feel day to day. :) 

Mason: I can not talk about food during quarantine and not immediately address my wonderful girlfriend Sophia. She has been prepping all of our meals and I am so grateful. I try to return the favor by clearing the table and loading the dishwasher. I feel like my diet has been healthier, greens with every meal. Something about cooking all your food just makes it feel cleaner and more fresh. 

Going to feel good is probably pasta or chicken cutlets. Sophia enjoys baking as well so I have been spoiled with homemade chocolate chip cookies and banana bread which has made me feel pretty good.  

We cook at home most of the time. We try and treat ourselves to take out maybe once or twice a week from some of our favorite spots. We got All Time last night which was delicious. We try and stock up at the grocery store to have enough food for two weeks so we can limit our trips.  

Overall my food situation has been something I look forward to, I feel super lucky to be quarantined with someone who loves to cook and is naturally gifted at doing so.