Spreading love through cooking in quarantine

If there is any show that bond children and parents, it must be a cooking programme where the whole family can sit together and enjoy watching the local or universal recipes. Now, more than ever, home is where many of us are seeking refuge and solace in the light of the novel coronavirus.

This is a tough time, but people are overcoming these days by cooking new recipes and trying new food at home. Most of the families are including children with them as an indoor activity that would kill the boredom of children a little.

These days, it seems like everyone has started baking. Instagram, tik tuk and other social media means are filled with raspberry scones, blueberry muffins, chocolate chip cookies, Nutella banana bread, cream cheese-topped brownies, biscuits, and other sweets.

As the Covid-19 pandemic spreads through the world and people are increasingly practicing social distancing to slow the spread of the disease, people are spending a lot more time in their homes than they used to. With work-from-home directives, and many public spaces all shut down, people are turning to cook while self-quarantined not just for sustenance but for comfort and entertainment too.

“I do know that walking into the kitchen to make yourself something to eat — no matter your situation and how you feel about it — is always a good thing, a nourishing act,” says Bushra al Naabi, a chef.

Sharing food, as Bushra did with her sister, as well as sharing food experiences can also help create a sense of community while we’re socially isolated.

“While we can’t leave our homes and see our friends in real life, we can gather on Instagram (@boshy0790) to discuss what we’re cooking and swap recipe ideas. Talking about cooking has become the new online support group, something we share while we all try to get through this strange, scary time together”, she explains.

“While we have been stuck at home, cooking and baking have become an outlet to channel all the fears and anxieties. Sure, part of it is functional: We have to eat, and restaurants are shut down — other than for delivery and pickup orders — so home cooking is simply necessary, says Khalsa al Abri, a teacher.

Even for those of us who cook regularly before the term “social distancing” arrived in our community, we’re still cooking more meals at home than we might have in the past. For those who used to have three meals a day, now it is the three meals plus the two side meals at noon and afternoon, not to forget, late-night meal.

For Aziza, who is cooking for income, the situation now is more enjoyable. Even though we have to keep two metres of space between ourselves and other people, some are still using cooking as a way to connect with people while maintaining a safe distance. Aziza has started delivering her baked goods to friends and neighbours, doing what she calls “distanced deliveries”.

“I’ll bake or cook things and then go out on a long walk or a ride and drop off goodies on doorsteps,” she says. “It’s a way for me to get some fresh air and also bring a little joy to friends and family during this uncomfortable time,” Aziza shares.

Cooking itself may be a solo activity, but during this period of social distancing, it has also served as a tool to bring communities together in new ways, even when they can’t gather together for a meal. “We’re all looking for slices of happiness, and cooking and baking during quarantine have allowed that to happen both online and offline,” says Aziza.

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