Cooking in quarantine
For many of us, eating out or having a take out is part of normal life, with one in ten doing so at least once a week. But with Covid-19 shutting down the shutters of all restaurants and many of our favorite takeouts, we are now embracing our inner chefs.
Having no choice and plenty of time, the family kitchen has undergone a revitalization. People need to hone their culinary skills and be inventive in their creations as supermarkets struggle to maintain well-stocked shelves for basic items and ingredients.
So what do people cook in quarantine? We looked at the world’s most Instagrammed dishes and found them under the hashtags #coronacooking #quarantinecuisine #covidcooking and #quarantinecooking. From this research, we found out which are the top ten meals on lockdown.
Although pork is allegedly the most consumed meat in the world, chicken has taken the number one spot on Instagram. It has proven to be the main ingredient in a wide range of dishes across the world, from barbecue chicken to chicken pies and chicken burgers.
Cakes came in second as people apparently have time to make baking a new hobby. Surprisingly, cookies brought popularity to pizzas during the forties. Pizza generally dominates food posts on Instagram with over 44 million posts, compared to cookies with 22 million posts. Perhaps the technical details of homemade pizza making are out of reach for many.
Looking at food posts on Instagram before the pandemic, it seemed like many people were only sharing their most whimsical creations. But as the virus has changed our way of life, many of us have gone back to basics. Simple sandwich bread recipes are as popular as they were in the days of the war. With Google’s six-fold research on how to bake bread, you’d think it was impossible to buy bread in a store. The combination of weather and worry appears to be leading bakery enthusiasts to clear supermarket shelves for ingredients, as flour sales in grocery stores rose 92% in the four weeks to March 22.
This limited supermarket stock encouraged home bakers to get creative. With most of the staple foods dry, these are the staple recipes people are looking for and the alternative ingredients that can be used when all the eggs appear to have been stored. These substitute ingredients have become a necessity now that shelves are scarce, causing a noticeable spike in 7,140 additional Google searches for egg substitutes and how to cook without eggs.
The lucky ones who managed to acquire eggs shared their favorite ways of cooking them, with fried eggs being the go-to dish. But for the more health-conscious egg enthusiast, Porridge isn’t far behind in second place. Poached came last in our Instagram searches. Perhaps the risk of a poached egg going awry is too high in the times when they’re harder to find.
It seems that people don’t cook just to protect themselves from hunger. Sweet treats such as cakes and cookies were in the top ten quarantine food messages. People searching for “cake recipes” on Google doubled in March from an average month, and waffles saw their searches increase 48% from stay-at-home orders.
If your social media feed is full of banana bread photos, it could be because 474,100 more Google searches were done in March for variations of banana bread recipes. It may sound like the favorite food of millennials, but historically it was born out of another time of crisis, the Great Depression. Housewives didn’t want to waste the overripe bananas that were an expensive item at the time. Although we are not quite in the same situation as then, people consciously try harder to waste less and work with what they have.
Typically, a household in the UK spends only 5.9 hours per week in the kitchen. But now that entire families are confined to their homes with each member of the household requiring three meals a day, the time spent in the kitchen is inevitably longer.
Unfortunately, all that extra time spent cooking at home has negative side effects. Utility bills inevitably rise as energy consumption increases and it is estimated that households will spend an additional £ 52million per week on their bills as a result of their stay at home. So it’s worth to see how your energy supplier can help you in these unprecedented times and if you can reduce your gas and electricity bills.
Quarantine food posts on Instagram prove that there is a rediscovered pride in people for their culinary abilities. This sharing of dishes from around the world is a source of inspiration for others. Jamie Oliver is an example of a prominent personality who brought together amateur cooks under the hashtag #keepcookingcarryon.
One positive that will come out of this experience is that we will all be better cooks and enjoy the abundance of ingredients at hand. But that doesn’t mean we won’t be returning to our favorite restaurants ASAP.