Coronavirus Quarantine Cookbook

Delectable ideas from our foraged cupboards

“Red Beans” & Rice

1 bag dried cannellini beans (kidney, pinto, & black-eyed were all super sold out weeks ago)

That last Jimmy Dean sausage biscuit from the back of the freezer

1 Himalayan Salt Block

1 packet Mexican Rice mix

Louisiana hot sauce

Soak cannellini beans to rehydrate, but do NOT let them sit overnight; flatulence is now categorized as free entertainment.

Sauté the holy trinity of onion, bell pepper, and celery. Just kidding! You can’t get fresh vegetables anymore. Combine beans with all the onion powder you can find in your spice rack, along with thyme or something green. Deconstruct sausage biscuit; cook the sausage with the beans as a ham hock substitute. Thaw the freezer-burned biscuit and eat with jam or jelly as an appetizer. (No one has yet run out of jam, and it’s getting harder to eat since the Great Bread Extinction of last Wednesday.) Using a hacksaw, cut off a 1x1-inch cube of your Himalayan salt block, which is now the only salt left in the house. Add to beans. Cook for a very long time; the smell of “food” is a nourishing illusion. Cook rice mix according to directions, replacing butter with tap water.

Serve beans over rice. Add Louisiana hot sauce to taste. If you’re out, use vinegar, sharpened with a splash of bleach (if by some miracle you still have any bleach).

Condiment Smorgasbord

Entire contents of refrigerator door

Panko breadcrumbs (expired)

1 egg

Mix breadcrumbs with egg; stretch using copious amounts of water. If you ran out of eggs weeks ago, replace with vinegar and baking soda, aquafaba, or peanut butter. Roll out mixture and cut into circles using a Mason jar, which still smells like whiskey even though Jesus the whiskey’s been gone for days. Put discs in the oven at 450° and bake until reminiscent of what crackers once looked like.

Serve as a feast with ketchup, weird mustards leftover from Harry & David gift baskets, soy sauce, expired horseradish, barbecue sauce, tartar sauce, fish sauce, and — of course — jam and jelly. Hold onto your napkin because yeah, toilet paper’s getting like that.

Bacon & Eggs with Hash Browns

½ bag beef jerky

½ box instant mashed potatoes (expired)

1 package of Peeps (Peeps never expire)

Soak jerky in water for 3–4 days until reconstituted; fry in a skillet until crispy. Make mashed potatoes according to directions; let cool; form into loose patties and fry with just a little bit of that butter your wife found stuck to the underside of the last frozen chicken. Or, if you lose the whole “goddamn jelly” argument and aren’t allowed to use any butter, leaven 2 tablespoons canola oil with 1 votive candle. Fry to a crispy, satisfying croquette.

Cut yolk-sized chuck off of each peep to form a “yolk;” turn the rest of the Peep inside out to form the “white;” now you’ve got eggs over easy. Serve with your family’s favorite stories of eggs.

Pasta Bolognese

1 bag of orecchiette pasta

1 can of red enchilada sauce (literally the last thing left in that aisle on “Lucky Monday”)

The last frozen burrito from your neighbor’s freezer (they’re still in post-cruise quarantine in California)

Thaw frozen burrito and deconstruct. Set aside tortilla to eat with the — yes, jam and jelly. You’re getting it.

Heat enchilada sauce in small saucepan with interior of frozen burrito; try not to notice if it was “beef” or “beef and bean;” protein is protein. Boil water, cook pasta. Get into yet another argument with your wife about the pasta shape, and claim that there “wasn’t anything left” even though she knows it’s been in the cabinet since December and she’d asked you to get something basic like fettuccini. Tell her for the umpteenth time that arctic explorers call this level of cabin fever “getting toasty;” duck to avoid flying spatula.

Pour sauce over pasta and serve in terse silence.

Fish and CHiPs

1 can sardines

Open can. Eat on couch while watching reruns of CHiPs. The show wasn’t that great, but it’s better than those expired sardines.

Mint Chocolate Chip Freezer Pie

Panko breadcrumbs (expired; why did we ever buy so much Panko?)

2 squares Baker’s chocolate

Crest Regular Paste

You can see where this is going. Don’t judge, we all need something sweet. Best with shots of Nyquil if you’re still holding.

Books: Killing Williamsburg, The Painted Gun. FIlm: #AnnieHall. Words: Bedford+Bowery. 13spinelli.com

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