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Back Porch Table: The let’s-get-real-about-the-pantry edition

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Junk food

Just like it couldn’t hurt to have a few days’ worth of necessities, it can’t hurt to have a few days’ worth of provisions for stress-eating (and drinking). Consider adding some of these goodies to your list. (Photo: Pooja Salhotra) 

It’s been quite a week, not only in our neighborhood, but all over the world. If it ever was even a tiny bit meme-ish, the coronavirus is not funny anymore.

Truly, it is everywhere, and that is just one of the aspects of our current state of affairs that has been most eerie for me. There always seems to be a place to go to escape whatever it is – hurricane, heat, politics. But there’s nowhere to go right now. Even if we did want to pick up and go to, say, Italy, we couldn’t. If I think about it too much it makes my head spin.

That is why I think we need to be realistic now. Last week, we mused about all the semi-healthy staples and options we could fill our pantries with. Sundried tomatoes and marinara, oatmeal and dried fruit, frozen veggies. A week later, let’s get real.

Our reality now is that we will probably be staying home a lot more, at least for the foreseeable future. We have cancelled vacations, our children will be sitting at home, taking classes online, many of us will be working from home. Trips to the store will be less frequent. 

That thought has led many to full-fledged panic. One woman said she was standing in the aisle at Costco, thinking about what to fill her basket with next, when another woman ran up to her cart, said, “I’m sorry,” and lifted the water right out of the basket, running away with it. I am not even sure why people are hoarding water, because won’t our water still be running, even if we are staying in?

We’re also hoarding toilet paper. Again, I get the need. But I’m not sure we need forever’s supply on hand. It’s not like we’re never going out for supplies, ever.

What do we really need to keep us comfortable at home for a few days, or weeks? 

One friend said people were telling her she’d better stock up on wine. So, she went to the store and started browsing the wine aisles. Until she had an epiphany: “If we are really stuck at home for days at a time,” she said, “I’m not going to need wine, I’m going to need tequila.” She bought the good stuff.

Along those lines, here’s my favorite Tweet from the week: “Tito’s Vodka has spent the last 24 hours explaining to people that it cannot be used as a replacement for hand sanitizer. God bless Texas.” That came from someone named Dom. A friend responded: “Right, but if you drink enough of it, you won’t care.” Yes.

And then, I did do a little hoarding of my own yesterday, trying to stock some pre-made dinners in my parents’ freezer (because when I asked my mom, who has a broken foot, what I could buy them at the grocery store, she thought for a minute and said, “Well, I guess some Diet A&W would be good to have.”). Walking around Tres Market, among all the other people looking for dinners for days, I heard a girl talking frantically on the phone: “I just bought a bunch of key lime bars,” she said. “If the world ends, I guess I’ll just drink Diet Coke and eat key lime bars.”

Just like it couldn’t hurt to have a few days’ worth of necessities, it can’t hurt to have a few days’ worth of provisions for stress-eating (and drinking). To that end, we thought we should update last week’s list with a more realistic spin. Because as one man told me, “If it’s the end, I’m going down eating the doughnuts.”

A few ideas to have on hand:

  • Bulk M&Ms, mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, whatever candy you can’t wait to have at Halloween that you don’t eat the rest of the year – now is the time
  • Ice cream – because eating it out of the carton somehow always makes you feel better
  • Velveeta, Rotel and tortilla chips – because Velveeta will stay “fresh” for years, and we’re in Texas
  • Rice Krispies and marshmallows – Rice Krispie treats could be a fun project 
  • Chocolate chips – see Rice Krispies, or just eat them out of the bag
  • Whatever Spec’s has that looks good to you – are they selling stock (because they might be the only ones making money this week)?
  • All the Cokes and drinks we’re not supposed to be drinking

And don’t forget the Diet A&W. 

Editor's Note: See Andria's healthier prepare-your-pantry list here and more tips on preparing for coronavirus here

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