Covid-19: Ideas and Strategies for Shopping and Cooking

Per @beam and @anneexploresla comments on a different thread, I thought I’d start a new thread to discuss how people are approaching the idea of possible quarantine or isolation for an extended period of time in terms of stocking the pantry/fridge/freezer.

What are you doing to prepare? What are you buying; what are you cooking? Any great insights, initial challenges, words of wisdom, encouragement?


I’m assuming that short of one of us actually getting sick that we won’t be quarantined. Even SF’s “shelter in place” thing leaves grocery stores, etc. open. But assuming I couldn’t get out I bet I could live out of my fridge, pantry and freezer(s) for a month. Certainly not getting to eat what I want to when I want to but eating. No fresh produce pretty quickly but I probably won’t die of scurvy :slight_smile: I see some here don’t cook but, if the time comes, maybe start a thread “Cooking for Dummies.”


I buy staples in bulk and cook all the time anyway so no big change needed.

Grocery stores and farmers markets are open and there are delivery services, so I see no reason to stock up more than the usual. At the moment there’s no room in the fridge anyway.

We’re not changing much as far as what we’re buying and how much but we started a text thread with our neighbors and friends in case anyone needed anything to limit the number of people venturing out (to prevent redundant trips for sold out grocery store items if nothing else).

We also live in the same building as our elderly landlords so we offered to get anything they need to save them inconvenience/exposure. They’re very independent so they probably won’t take the offer but, hey, worth a try.


I never gave it much thought before but our local market, Berkeley Bowl, has delivery through Instacart. So if things don’t quiet down or the lockdown order makes it too much of a pain, I’ll try that.

The line at the nearest Trader Joe’s today (didn’t need anything badly enough to deal with it):

Under the lockdown order, the stores will be responsible for making sure people in line stay six feet apart.

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I would love this. So much wisdom on these boards.

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Our TJs was closed waiting for their truck which hadn’t been able to make it over due to snow :slight_smile:
We did a “road trip” (ten minutes) to Costco yesterday just to see. No line out the door; no idea of what the inside was.

Our Latino market had NO rice. They usually have enormous drums of it. They didn’t even have small bags.

I dont have a ton of stuff. I have frozen prepared foods that I’m saving until needed. Bunch of split breasts. Unfortunately I have a small freezer. Cupboard has canned tuna and soups.

Assorted dry beans. Lima, red, split peas, lentils. Long grain rice. Can use for soups or stews.

I keep a large jar of Better Than Bouillon reduced sodium chicken base. Can use as a base for any number of bean soups or to make pilaf or reinforce gravies.

Right now eating Pizza Wagon, Pita Kitchen and burger joints. Love my waistline (it’s somewhere in there)

Buying paper goods online. Also Amazon Fresh offers decent prices and free delivery on purchases over $35 to Prime members.


I’ve never looked at Amazon Fresh. Thanks.

Our pantry has an insane amount of grains and other carbs. Unfortunately we’re out of rice and couldn’t get any today. I don’t use many canned foods but have plenty of tomato-things. I know we have a ‘box’ of butter in the freezer. Plenty of oils.

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I have stocked up on frozen foods, frozen protein, and we have a bunch of rice, noodles, and beans and some canned sauces.

We will try to order food as much as possible before the restaurants close since it’s pointless if it eats into our provisional supplies.

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Little India (Artesia) is perfect for this. Dried legumes, rice, spices, oil, ghee. We have enough to last a year. Also, it’s really hard to mess up Indian food, even if you’re a novice cook, because it is spice-based, not technique-based.


This Harvard article I read today says not to eat out and prepare your own food. If a cook has COVID-19 and is preparing your salad or sandwich with their bare hands and didn’t wash properly, they might transmit the disease to you. I wouldn’t eat out just because no one knows for sure if it is safe.

So are you thinking about a nationwide shut down of everything including trucking?

Regarding faux-cooking, yesterday at our Latino market we bought their cooked on site chicharrones en salsa verde. We’ll have that with beans, rice, salsa (TJs), sour cream, avocado and corn chips.

I used Amazon Fresh a couple years ago after I had ankle surgery and was immobile for 12 weeks. I was very pleased with it. The quality of the meat and produce was very good and it was beyond convenient having it dropped at my front door at a designated time. Pricewise it was very similar to what I would have normally spent at my usual stores, both of which are neighborhood independent grocery stores and a little bit more expensive than some of the big chain stores.

Shopping is one of the few chores that I really like to do. I love going to markets of any kind and can spend hours checking out what they have and what I might be able to do with things. Once I was up and about and off crutches, I didn’t see much need to continue ordering from Amazon Fresh. However, if someone does end up being housebound for any reason, it is a very good option.


Thanks for this. As long as neither of us is sick we’ll continue to go to groceries. Keeping our distance of course. Yesterday when we got home I took the disinfectant wipes and wiped down the things we had bought before putting away. Only thing ‘fresh’ were a couple of onions so figured that was no problem.

By that reasoning, no one should ever eat in restaurants or get takeout or delivery. What that article actually says is:

We are still learning about transmission of the new coronavirus. It’s not clear if it can be spread by an infected person through food they have handled or prepared, but if so it would more likely be the exception than the rule.

That said, the new coronavirus is a respiratory virus known to spread by upper respiratory secretions, including airborne droplets after coughing or sneezing. The virus that causes COVID-19 has also been detected in the stool of certain people. So we currently cannot rule out the possibility of the infection being transmitted through food by an infected person who has not thoroughly washed their hands. In the case of hot food, the virus would likely be killed by cooking. This may not be the case with uncooked foods like salads or sandwiches.

Hopefully they’re donating to food banks and others.

Yes from what I’ve seen, donating to food banks and furloughed employees.

That also. Just saw today that one of our fave chefs/restaurateurs is closing their main place and won’t be doing take out and such. If we get that $1000 check that’s being rumored it will be donated to likely our food bank.

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