Graphic: Ella-Mae Earnshaw
As restaurants open back up here’s a look back into the one activity the whole world took to in the confines of their own homes. Everyone probably has a moment when they realized that they would have to stay in their own home for a while. Many had a moment where they decided they would try to be productive and take up a new activity. As a collective, it seemed when everyone was isolating; we found one room in the house more appealing than most – the kitchen. The public has their own opinions as to why cooking up a storm became a phenomenon. Food as a coping mechanism is a powerful tool, in most cases as a pick-me-up people would eat. Cooking could feel like a marathon taking up the span of a whole day or even feel like a sprint with quick 30-minute meals.
I started cooking in lockdown due to a mix of reasons – I love food, I live to eat and discover new foods every day. I cooked in the beginning to eat my feelings over cancelled university plans. I also cooked to have something to do during the day. I did the marathon by trying to make an Apple Galette from scratch and often partook in the sprints as well, thanks to Jamie Oliver’s 30-minute meals. Yet the food blogger in me (but also as someone who gets bored of repetition) exploited foods functionality by changing it up. Everyday cooking something new enabled a couple of things- it grew my interest, I would work on a craving – settle on a cuisine – research a recipe that would fit my abilities as well as my pantry and then finally get to it! There is pure joy in eating something you made from scratch and taste like what you imagine the meal in the picture would.
I was also heavily influenced by my feed, in true millennial fashion of following a ‘trend’- if everyone’s doing it, chances are so will you. Though regardless of how we all started cooking or baking, it still produced the same effects as I mentioned above. More so cooking leads to the rediscovery of old-school home cooking legends. Gen Y and Z are discovering who the “Domestic Goddess” (Nigella Lawson) and “The Barefoot Contessa” Ina Garten are. Home cooking has elevated thanks to esteemed Michelin star chefs such as Jason Atherton, and Massimo Bottura have taken to IGTV to film themselves cooking at home and sharing their favourite recipes. Legendary pastry chef Dominic Ansel shared his chocolate cookie recipe alongside iconic establishments such as Disney and the famous DoubleTree releasing their secret recipes.
Fear of hoarding supplies in the initial shocks of lockdown gave way to ‘Pantry Recipes’, essentially cook with what you’ve got. There’s been an increase in viewings of cooking shows on Netflix. Taking advantage of this Samin Nosrat, writer of cookbook and Netflix series Salt Fat and Acid, launched a pop-up podcast called home-cooking. I personally recommend The Chef Show by John Favreau and Roy Choi as well as Ugly Delicious by Momofuku founder David Chang as they follow every cuisine and new ‘trends’ from chocolate lava cake to cauliflower pizza and traditional Vietnamese Laksa. As much as the world turned to their kitchens in uncharted territory, social media too soared to even greater heights. Influencers turned to food with Dalgona Coffee, Cookie Cereal, Coffee Bean Cookies, the list goes on and on. Suddenly what’s in your bag videos turned into what’s in your fridge? All these signs are really only telling you one thing- cook!
P.S. I started with the Quarantine Banana Bread, so it’s only fair to share my quick and easy recipe with everyone.
Yana’s Banana Bread Recipe:
Pre-heat the oven to 180C and butter and flour a loaf pan
Whisk all the dry ingredients together.
Mash the bananas and add the sugar, eggs, oil and vanilla to them and whisk well.
Combine the two and mix until just combined with no pockets of flour remaining.
Bake for 45 to 50 minutes.
Edited by Anoushka Chakrapani, Food and Drinks Editor