Gardening, Baking, and Cooking

Merle Eisenberg / March 30, 2020

I wanted to start off on a lighter note for this first blog post as a way to introduce you to all sorts of things we are doing, aside from this podcast and thinking about historical pandemics. The last month or so under self-isolation has witnessed a massive change in three areas of eating:  cooking, baking, and gardening. My friends, especially those from New York, have stopped ordering what seems like most, if not all, of their meals from restaurants and started cooking all types of food at home. The Instagram food pictures have gone from the occasional proud moment to a constant stream of unending great recipes. Although some of the recipes, I must say, seem to be utter disasters as well.

beer bread recipe

The second major trend that many people have noted is an increase in bread making, since fresh bread has – at times – been hard to find apparently. Or maybe just good fresh bread. In any case, it seems as if every single person has a sourdough starter they using to make bread, since apparently there is a yeast shortage. (Sourdough starter fills the role of the yeast.) According to my wife, there is an easier solution: beer bread. All you need is a beer, the worse the better, that fulfills the same function as yeast. I recently ordered some cheap beer from the store (I did pickup where they just take orders over the phone and load it into your trunk) and had the awkward experience of asking them for a six-pack of the “worst, cheapest beer you have.” They were confused until I explained what I needed. Beer bread, it works.

war gardens commercial

The last trend I’ve noticed is that there also seems to be a flourishing of new garden beds (“victory gardens?” being built in my neighborhood of Eastport in Annapolis. All around me people are digging up sections of their beautiful, manicured and carefully attended grass lawns and turning them into garden beds to grow all sorts of vegetables. I don’t know if people believe food supply chains will collapse or they are just visiting stores less, so they want a steadier stream of produce, although I hope it is option number two. I used to have a large plot in a community garden in Princeton, but don’t have beds here and won’t be putting them in, since I rent the house I live in. I guess I’m a bit jealous. I hope the trend continues, though.