What I Ate During the Pandemic

Looking back, it’s hard to remember exactly what I ate-or cooked-during the first wave of the Pandemic. Nothing was normal, and going to the grocery store was a nerve-racking experience.

There were endless turkey sandwiches made with bread (preferably rye or pumpernickel) and cold cuts from the deli section of the grocery store. I remember reading about people who were busy baking bread made with natural starters and artisanal flour. I reasoned they’re the children and grandchildren of the folks who cooked their way through “Julia” (last name “Child”) in the 60s and 70s and resisted the temptation to join them.

I do admit, however, to having an unopened jar of Fleischmann’s Active Dry Yeast (equivalent to 16 envelopes) in the back of the refrigerator that I took with me when I moved in May. The expiration date is sometime in 2022, so there’s no rush.

When I cooked, I made enough for several meals. Wrapped and frozen, these ready-to-eat dinners were (and still are) like money in the bank. Of course, some packets succumbed to freezer burn, but, on the whole, the system worked.

I also tried newish products that I’d never used before. The shelf stable pouches of Asian noodles made by KAME quickly became staples, as did the bottled Asian sauces made by Kikkoman and Ying’s. I especially like Kikkoman’s Teriyaki Baste & Glaze with Honey and Pineapple, but they’re all a welcome addition to my pantry.

And then there are the Asian noodle soups from Bite Ramen. Each single serving pouch includes a seasoning packet, a blend of dehydrated vegetables, lots of dehydrated noodles, and the assurance that the products are all “made in the USA with living wages.”

I also tasted some “premium spreads” from Crofter’s in Parry Sound, Ontario. The spreads have less sugar than a lot of the available jellies and preserves, and they’re all made with organic fruit. Of the several I’ve tried, the peach and the blueberry are the current favorites.

Based in Bloomington, Indiana, The Oliver Winery & Vineyards does a variety of wines, including both a blueberry and a moscato. Fruity and sweet, they get an enthusiastic thumbs-up.

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