Everyone has had different coping strategies during lockdown, and for many around the country, this has meant taking to the kitchen. Here’s what your iso cooking says about you.
Nobody knew what alert level four was going to do to us. We didn’t know which hobbies we would take up, which crafts we would learn to enjoy or which government figures we would develop crushes on. The almost five weeks of full lockdown prompted much creativity in the kitchen, probably because it was one of the only hobbies for which supplies were still available (and, of course, takeaways were a no go). Even The Spinoff’s culture editor Sam Brooks, serial mie goreng breakfaster, was driven to take up the spatula and create some frankly delicious-looking grub.
If you’re one of those insufferable people who’s been nurturing a starter, perfecting the 11 secret homemade herbs and spices or waiting a week and a half for your bananas to turn brown enough, here’s what that says about you.
You go to the supermarket once per week and haven’t managed to stick completely to the list yet, always throwing a couple packets of chips or some baked goods into your trolley when you walk past. Because of this, you’ve neglected the bananas you bought for smoothies and now they’re almost off.
A quick scroll of Instagram shows at least six pictures of banana bread, and in a flash of inspiration you decide to make some for yourself. You might even place some banana, cut lengthwise, on top so it looks pretty (even though I personally despise that trend).
A banana bread baker doesn’t want to commit to real bread. You have a sweet tooth and you’re not afraid to hide it. You already had flour in their cupboard, because you’re far too relaxed to ever make banana bread if it means ordering flour online (ugh). You’re not the most organised person, but the lockdown has been great for hiding that character flaw, because you can’t be late to a cancelled brunch. You wear pyjamas to every Zoom meeting because you can and because you’ve never believed in the phrase “dress for the job you want, not the job you have” – if the job you want won’t let you wear sweatpants, then you don’t want it.
I get it, you get it, everyone gets it. You have time. You’re a person who loves a tote bag, reusing wrapping paper and using shampoo bars, and there’s a good chance you’ve at least contemplated veganism over the last month.
You don’t have kids so you’ve managed to keep your starter alive for long enough to order some organic flour from an online ‘refillery’ or something and you’re more ready than ever to spend a whole day kneading and proving and kneading and proving.
It’s not until your fifth loaf that you’ve plucked up the courage to post a picture of your bread to Instagram, because you burnt attempts one through four. Two people reply with heart eyes emojis, everyone else who sees it begins to hate you slightly more than they already did, which is probably a bit, considering you’re vegan. You don’t care because after years of caring about things nobody else has, your skin is thicker than the crust on your first loaf.
You pretend to be part of the sourdough-hating club on social media, chiming in whenever anyone posts a pic of their golden crusts with a :rolling eyes: emoji. The next day you post a picture of essentially the same thing, except it’s flat and has olives on top. You made a focaccia, it’s delicious, and you eat the whole thing in a day and then never make it again.
You think you’re different from the sourdough people, but you’re not. You’re the same. You’re the bread version of people who consider “never seen Harry Potter” a personality trait. It might be hard to come to terms with it, but at least you have lockdown time to dwell on it, and maybe by the time this is all over you will have a new appreciation for all bread-makers, sour included.
Without access to fish and chips, KFC and all the other greasy goodness, you decided to get creative. Using palate memory alone you convinced yourself that you figured out the 11 herbs and spices. Maybe you even went to the lengths of creating homemade takeaways boxes and bags like this family. At one point you even said out loud “who needs McDonalds?!” after cooking a greasy brew for your family, but as soon as the announcement was made that contactless delivery would be available at level three, you set a timer on your phone because your hash browns really didn’t hit the same, did they?
Creativity is your strength, but sometimes the people around you don’t want your “creative” version of a quarter pack, they just want a quarter pack. It’s OK, they still love you.
Cinnamon rolls/hot cross buns
Easter is over but raisins in bread is forever. You have a bit of a sweet tooth and are confident in the kitchen; you probably didn’t even have to buy any spices because they were already in your cupboard from the last time you made a spiced pumpkin soup. It’s a family recipe that you’ve adapted over the years, taking out the glacé cherries and adding extra cinnamon because your mum’s ones were always a little light on that. This year you even decided to get creative with custard crosses, and you’ve told yourself you’re never looking back, because they were delicious. In some ways you’re happy you had a year off hosting Easter lunch because it is always far more effort than you expect, but you also did cry a little bit when nobody joined your Facebook Easter video call. Look at it as practice – next year you’ll have the best Easter lunch ever, with your new and improved buns, and people might even help you with the dishes.
Coupley eggs, a bit of flour, bada bing, bada boom, pasta. There’s really not much you can get wrong with this one, and that’s exactly why you chose to make it. You’re feeling pretty down about the whole never leaving your house thing, and you want something that’s going to make you feel better about that. Spend an afternoon kneading and rolling and slicing into strips of fresh eggy noodle, and you will never feel more accomplished in your life.
You’re a go-getter and you’re going to get through this lockdown with a belly full of pasta and a new passion for Italian dining. Sourdough people look longingly at you, they want to be you – the carefree attitude and cool air of someone who doesn’t care to look after a yeasty glob. You are a pasta person and you are the best of all.
The Spinoff Weekly compiles the best stories of the week – an essential guide to modern life in New Zealand, emailed out on Monday evenings.