Home Sweet Home: A Quarantine Story

Caroline, RICARDO Media Art Director, is a full-time foodie...even during quarantine. She’s just returned from vacation and shares her tale after arriving back in Canada.

The return: Hasta la vista, baby

Like many Canadians, I’ve just returned from a warm destination; in my case, Mexico. The place where Corona comes with a wedge of lime, not in virus form. I was staying in an all-inclusive resort, pretty much a parallel universe where, margarita in hand, the world stayed exactly the same.

Beer and cocktail on the beach

Upon returning home, we weren’t just facing jet lag, but something else too: quarantine. From one moment to the next, we went from being carefree to feeling as if we had the plague. This plays with your head, already overwhelmed by a flight smelling of disinfectant and where hearing someone cough makes you uneasy.

The assessment: Oh, boy...

It’s not so bad being stuck at home with my significant other and my cat. Once the suitcases were unpacked, we had plenty of time to think up a game plan. 14 days in close quarters; what do we do now? 

Step 1: Put on some music. I start with my “Songs to sing in shower” playlist. Hall and Oates, U2, Tears for Fears, Simple Minds… In quarantine, there are no guilty pleasures.

Step 2: Make an inventory of food we have left. Because, let’s face it: Prior to leaving on a trip, one’s fridge is rarely full. That’s when I started to worry. The contents of my pantry weren’t all that inspiring. I mean, I had three opened boxes of lasagna sheets (all different brands)! I also found a bag of dried-out marshmallows, practically petrified apricots and other items with “best before” dates going back a few years.

Why didn’t I clean out my pantry earlier? But every cloud has a silver lining: At least this virus will allow me to rebuild my pantry from scratch.

Pantry inventory

The game plan: And we’re off!

After having thrown away all suspect items and composting what was no longer edible, I made a broth with a few limp veggies and a frozen chicken carcass. I made a yummy pea risotto with a couple of bags of arborio rice. Some leftover 35% cream became an Alfredo sauce. And what was left at the bottom of bags of frozen fruit made for delicious smoothies.

And long live online grocery shopping! It allowed us to add some freshness to our menus. (I never in my life thought I would get bored of cilantro.)

Vegetable broth and alfredo pasta

The thereafter: There will be joy

I did learn something about myself: I was negligent. Because it’s easy, because we don’t have time, because we have the means, because we don’t feel like it, because we can allow ourselves to.

What’s for certain, however, is that I’ll never again leave food to rot in the back of my cupboards. It just isn’t sensible. So now, all leftover foods will become little feasts. We’re going to open up whatever wine bottles we have left, we’ll set the table and we’ll eat together.

Stay safe, everyone, and make the best of it!