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Four Moms on Cooking in the Time of Coronavirus

In honor of Mother's day, we spoke with four mothers across the U.S. on how they're cooking and eating with their families in these unprecedented times.
Alexis at SideChef
Content Acquisitions Director at SideChef. Self taught cook, rambler, wearer of black, and Mexican White Girl
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Alexis at SideChef
Content Acquisitions Director at SideChef. Self taught cook, rambler, wearer of black, and Mexican White Girl

Cooking, grocery shopping, and living all looks a little differently now in light of Coronavirus and COVID-19. Our normal routines and relationships all are moving and molding to account for restrictions, and upheavals. Perhaps no other group knows this better than all the parents out there - assuming new roles (like teacher), while continuing their day jobs and all their other responsibilities. In honor of Mother's day, we spoke with four mothers across the U.S. on how they're cooking and eating with their families in the time of Coronavirus.

On What They're Cooking

Make this pesto.

We've been grilling a lot. Sometimes we grill short-ribs, other times grilled chicken for street tacos, or fish. We've enjoyed marking the end of the day getting outside and eating in our backyard as much as we can. We have also been doing charcuterie boards, which we eat with our kids - they love the idea of "snacks for dinner". We order take-out on Fridays to mark the end of the week and give us a break from cooking and dishes.

- Larissa, Northern California, mother of two children, aged 3 & 6

I’ve been inspired lately by a dish from The Meatball Shop called the “Kitchen Sink.” In it, you get your choice of meatballs, a sauce - and whatever veggies and legumes the chef happens to have lying around that day. At least 2x a week, my husband and I have been throwing ground meat with various herbs and breadcrumbs in the oven (we’ve done multiple variations but tend to like an egg, whatever herbs we have on hand and a dash of garlic cooked in olive oil for about 12 mins, at 400). We combine with a salad of whatever we have lying around, a generous spoonful of pesto and dressing (also made from whatever is lying around).

- Shanley, Brooklyn, mother of one child, aged 1

How Shelter-in-Place Has Impacted Family Meal Time

For our best picnic tips, head here.

My husband is often traveling for work, so we have had many more family dinners since he is working from home for the foreseeable future. Eating as a family has become a more casual affair, where we are picnicking outside or eating up at the bar in our kitchen, but we are all together every evening which is really special for us.

- Larissa, Northern California, CA two children, aged 3 & 6

With less going on in our lives, dinner has been able to become a long ritual, and there’s time to include my one-year-old in preparation. Nothing delights him like holding the lid of the blender and feeling it hum, or helping put a head onto our mixer. With more time on my hands, I feel like I can connect him to the whole process.

- Shanley, Brooklyn, mother of one child, aged 1

On the Challenges They're Facing

Looking for grocery solutions? Head here.

Being pregnant has me searching for very specific nutrients from food. One example I’m being advised to follow is to combine lots of iron with vitamin c. Obtaining foods rich in the nutrients I need has been a bit of a struggle due. My husband and I aren’t going out to our usual market(s) and are not going to markets as frequently in order to avoid unnecessary interaction. When we do shop, oranges, for example, may not even be available.

- Casey, Boston, mother-to-be, 9 months pregnant

Because the grocery stores (and my personal favorite Trader Joes) are so complex to navigate at this time it's disrupted our regular shopping process (and budget.) My husband is a Chef so we've been doing our part to support his suppliers. We're getting really amazing products and bulk ordering with our neighbors. Usually, these suppliers only service restaurants so it's a new process for everyone but its worked out really well.

- Caroline, Northern California, mother of one child, aged 2

On the Bright Side

Craving churros? Head here.

Our kids are 3 and 6, so we haven't necessarily had the time to cook the gourmet meals I'd like to be making, but our kids have been much more involved in preparing our food. They have been helping to make recipes we normally don't have time to make. This week my son helped me make homemade tortillas for our tacos. They love making desserts so we made churros con chocolate to remind us of our trip to Spain last summer.

- Larissa, Northern California, CA, mother of two children, aged 3 & 6

I feel so appreciative and fortunate for the abundance of food we have access to. I've always felt food is so valuable and sacred, and I’m particularly cognizant of wasting any, especially now.

- Casey, Boston, mother-to-be, 9 months pregnant

On How This Has Changed Their Feelings on Food & Cooking

This time has solidified how important home cooking is. It physically comforts and sustains us. It's the only "special event" we have these days. We always try to do a big fun creative dinner on the weekends to make things feel special and share what we can with others.

- Caroline, Northern California, mother of one child, aged 2

I think daily of New York’s restaurant scene and all our friends and acquaintances in the food industry that aren’t working right now. There were times that I used to feel guilty about how much we spent on going out to eat - I view that differently now. I see it as an opportunity to get back to supporting my fellow New Yorkers. I look forward to the privilege of gathering with my neighbors again, and taking part in witnessing a brief moment of their lives from a table nearby.

- Shanley, Brooklyn, mother of one child, aged 1

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