Thursday, April 09, 2020

Cooking under lockdown

New Zealanders are doing what they need to do to get through this lockdown, and that includes decisions about food and shopping for food. I’ve made my choices, too, and so far that’s working well.

On Monday, I made a roast chicken dinner, the first time I’ve ever made roast chicken for me only. I knew that I’d get three or probably four meals from that, and that’s what’s happened. I had a chicken in the freezer from before lockdown, and I had a few potatoes that weren’t far from going, and that was the motivator for my timing (and, as an aside, those were among the best roasted potatoes I’ve ever made).

There will come a time when I’ll need to go get more groceries, and that presents a challenge. I meet the criteria for people who should, when possible, avoid going to the supermarket in person because of my high blood pressure and heart issues (arrhythmia). However, those conditions are also under control, and there are people who are far worse off than I am, which makes me want to leave the available support for those who need it far more than I do. And yet, it’s scary to think I could be more vulnerable, or have a worse outcome, than others due to my my “underlying health conditions”, as they always put it.

I’ve explored online ordering, but supermarkets are facing such heavy demand that no slots are available. They do have a “priority” list, which I’m not keen on joining for the reason above, and, more practically, it’s every bit as much overused as for regular retail customers. The companies I’ve found so far that could deliver at least some stuff aren’t really suitable. For example, a restaurant supply company sells large packages of stuff for homes, too, but they greatly exceed my needs as one person living alone (in some cases, I could never get through it all before it’d go off). I also explored companies that deliver all the makings for meals, but one isn’t taking new customers, one doesn’t provide meals for one, and a third one’s web system couldn’t recognise me as being in Hamilton. So, for the moment, at least, I’ve given up on all those ideas.

Instead, I’ve been both more attentive to what I have on hand (like, for example, making sure that I used those potatoes while I still could), and a bit more creative about making stuff. I was reasonably well-stocked before the lockdown began, but the Sunday before it was announced, I topped up with a few things I would soon run out of, and I’m still going. I should be able to go for at least a week without needing to venture out to resupply, and the lockdown itself may well end a week after that (although, even when it does, shopping restrictions, like queuing up for food like an East German in 1962, will remain for quite some time).

I also have some challenges with healthcare. I intended to register with a doctor here in Hamilton the week that lockdown began, and there just wasn’t time to do that: From Tuesday access to doctors was restricted. I have enough of my prescriptions left to last me three weeks and five days (I did an inventory today; I have much more of some medications). When we move from the Level 4 lockdown back to Level 3, there will still be restrictions on face-to-face consultations with doctors, which means it still won’t be time to change. So, I’ll probably have to have my doctor in Auckland fax my prescriptions (a story in itself…) to a chemist here in Hamilton, and continue to wait to change doctors.

Related to that is one of my biggest pre-lockdown regrets: I didn’t get a chance to get my routine blood tests done, and now it’s impossible to do that. On top of that, I now live in a different area of the country than I used to, and the testing company here is different than there, so I have to go back to Auckland to get the tests done (if I had a doctor here, they could order them here). I simply didn’t have the time or strength to get the tests done that final week before lockdown, and now I have to wait.

Still, challenges aside, and ignoring my reluctance (for a lot of reasons) to go to a supermarket, I’m still coping reasonably well. I have some of my pre-lockdown projects to finish, plus a few more I’ve added on, so I’ll be able to keep busy for quite awhile.

I think it’s about time to do the one thing I haven’t done yet: Baking. Everyone deserves a little something nice, and if I can cook a roast chicken dinner for myself, there’s no reason I can’t make a batch of cookies, or whatever. Cooking under lockdown doesn’t have to mean self-denial, after all; we have the lockdown itself for that.

Update: Tonight I placed my first online order for supplies. It was for the dogs. Of course.


Arthur Schenck (AmeriNZ) said...

True. I suppose it must be age itself that becomes an "underlying condition" after awhile. Great!

rogerogreen said...

Seriously, if you count obesity, then over half of Americans under 60 have "underlying conditions" including diabetes , asthma, heart disease, cancer survivors