The Moments and Meals Made in Quarantine

In the beginning, I used mason jars. Filling them with rolled oats, Greek yogurt, protein powder, flax + chia seeds, frozen fruit, unsweetened vanilla almond milk, they were breakfast. I wore earrings and shirts with collars, perfume and pants with buttons. I said we’d make lists of home projects. We’d clean out the basement. “Now there’s time” lists. No lists were ever made. I hate people who talk about how much they love warm weather. “Sunshine is my happy place.” Vomit. Except for Mary, I like her. Quiplash.

Individual chicken pot pie topped with puff pastry in the shape of a rooster
Fresh thyme, puff pastry, rich roux, and a massive amount of buyer’s remorse frozen veg.

I bought a bag of mixed veg the size of a shoebox. “You’ll thank me one day,” I said. Carrots, peas, corn, string beans, edamame? I made individual chicken pot pies with puff pastry that no one ate. I soaked beans overnight, then read about how unnecessary it is to soak beans at all. Instant Pot pork chops with apple sauce, cinnamon stick, dried apricot and fresh mint. Chicken meatballs with ricotta in Rao’s marinara. Chopped kale, shaved Brussels sprouts, cabbage salads with Brianna’s Creamy Balsamic. Cole slaw mix with Brianna’s. Anything with Brianna’s. Mason jars of white chicken chili with psyllium husk and melted organic greens. Oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. Walks around the neighborhood. I asked where we kept the jump rope. Hair gel, lotion, the idea of a mask, as in a Korean sheetmask soaked in essence. A lit candle. Frozen blueberries. Monopoly Deal.

Stacy’s Baked Chips with Kite Hill chive “cream cheese” (made with almond milk). Fauda Season 3. Downloading cookbooks, every last one. Travel via Google Street View. Pork and shrimp rice-covered meatballs, sticky coconut rice with mango and sesame seeds. Savory sticky rice parcels. Tracking down Martin in a cafe in Thailand. Thai hotel searches. Remembering all the Thai cookbooks I have, wondering why our local Asian market sells no long grain Thai sticky rice, only short-grain “sweet glutinous rice.” Seaweed snacks. More frozen mango as we watch Outlander (yes, I own that cookbook, too). Downloading more cookbooks. Pork chops with dried fruit compote in the Instant Pot. I complain that I’m cold and am told to stop eating frozen fruits. Rice Krispies treats. Brownies with espresso powder. Sequence.

Panko-crusted chicken cutlets smeared with Rao’s. Baked ziti, penne alfredo. Leeks, peas, saffron and cream over thin spaghetti. Fresh basil into pesto over roasted artichokes, charred red peppers, capers. String beans in stewed tomatoes. Frozen mangoes. Facebook. Othello.

Boring walks, so sick of my neighborhood, I never want to leave the house. Wolfgang Puck’s tomato risotto with shrimp and chinois chicken salad. Recreated my beloved Pop Art sandwich from the, permanently closed, Popover Cafe in NYC: marinated artichoke, roasted red pepper, watercress (I used arugula), red onion, melted mozzerella + Russian dressing on a popover. Oven roasted onion soup. Rummikub.

My version of a Haight-Ashbury sandwich from NYC’s Serendipity III (evidenced by my drawing in the featured image of this post). Raisin pumpernickel bread (I used high-fiber raisin bread), a slick of Russian dressing, sliced turkey, alfalfa sprouts, tomato, melted munster and sliced avocado. Disney Villainous Game: despite watching tutorials, we still have no idea how to play.

Boba milk tea with black tapioca pearls. Wonton wrappers, gyoza wrappers, Honk Kong style dumpling wrappers. Scallions, fresh ginger, cilantro. Pan-fried dumplings. Flour’s Famous Banana Bread. I might leave the house and take a walk, only because two people I don’t know posted photos of owls they spotted during the day. I love the idea of owls and the sound of owls, but I want to own nothing with an owl on it. Otrio.

The mason jars are now being used to grow scallions in water. Nothing is growing. Except for hair. The only time I left the house this week was to step onto our back deck to cut Phil’s hair. I’ve convinced Lucas to grow his out. Abigail died hers purple. I’ve learned how to thread silk tinsel in her hair without a slip knot. Mine? All of it needs to go, but I feel like Rapunzel. My hair is the longest its ever been in my life. Ticket to Ride.

Pork Chops with Dried Fruit Compote (serves 6)
Cooking Time 6 to 8 hours on Low or 3 to 5 hours on High

1 cup applesauce
1 cup dried apricots, quartered
½ cup dried cherries
2 shallots, minced
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon cider vinegar, plus extra as needed
2 bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick
6 (7-ounce) bone-in blade-cut pork chops, about ¾ inch thick, sides slit to prevent curling
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons minced fresh mint

1. Stir applesauce, apricots, cherries, shallots, sugar, vinegar, bay leaves, and cinnamon stick into slow cooker. Season pork chops with salt and pepper and nestle into slow cooker. Cover and cook until pork is tender, 6 to 8 hours on low or 3 to 5 hours on high.

2. Transfer pork chops to serving platter, tent loosely with foil, and let rest for 10 minutes. Let braising liquid settle for 5 minutes, then remove fat from surface using large spoon. Discard bay leaves and cinnamon stick. Stir in parsley and season with salt, pepper, and vinegar to taste. Spoon 1 cup sauce over chops and serve with remaining sauce.

Adapted From: America’s Test Kitchen. “Slow Cooker Revolution.”



  1. I only have one thing to say…who wouldn’t eat that amazing looking, beautifully presented, homemade chicken pot pie??!!

  2. we would eat your chicken pot pies–anytime!Yes, I am reading this at 1:45 am,and now, i’m planning my day,1st on my plan?,going back to bed,-Charlie

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