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15 Ways Quarantine Has Changed Our Kitchen Habits

We've changed the way we cook since COVID-19 hit. But along the way, our staff discovered some quarantine cooking tips that have changed their habits for the better.

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Taste of Home

No doubt about it: The pandemic has changed the way we grocery shop, dine out and cook at home. While COVID-19 is hard to deal with, we have to admit that staying home more has changed our cooking and kitchen habits for the better.

Find out how Taste of Home staffers have changed up their routines during the pandemic—and why they’re going to keep up these new habits even after life begins to normalize (this is what we can’t wait to do after quarantine ends).

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Embracing Online Grocery Shopping

“When the pandemic first started, we quickly jumped on the online shopping and delivery options our local stores started to offer. As things have started to loosen a bit, we’ve ventured to the store a bit more. However, if we manage to plan a whole week of meals out ahead of time, we still place large orders online and pick them up. It’s just so convenient to have someone do the shopping for you!”

James Schend, Deputy Editor

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Making Good Breakfasts

“The best new habit that I’ve adopted is making myself a full breakfast on workdays, rather than something fast like microwave oatmeal. So there’s lots of egg-eating going on in my apartment.”

Annamarie Higley, Associate Editor

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Becoming Meal Planning Pros

“We have become diehard meal planners. Each weekend, my spouse and I sit down and compare calendars for the following week, look at the weather (yes, it’s that serious) and write down what we’re craving. Then we check out the grocery flyers to see what’s on sale, choose meals based on that and make our grocery list. We also add a few pantry items that are on sale to guarantee our shelves are never bare. Then one of us goes grocery shopping while the other one stays home and cleans the bathroom.”

Ellie Martin Cliffe, Executive Editor

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Eating Less Meat

“Quarantine led to one change in our household: way less meat in our diet. When stores started limiting how much chicken and other meat you could purchase (along with an increase in prices), we sought out more meat-free recipes. We have enjoyed the change! Now, we eat primarily meat-free meals during the week and make one dish with meat on the weekends. Honestly, we don’t really miss it.”

Shannon Norris, Senior Food Stylist

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Trying Mise en Place

“When I would make dinner, I typically prepped as I went along. I thought this was a time-saver since I could chop one ingredient as another cooked. This led to some cooking mistakes and a pretty harried pace in the kitchen. Since I’ve been cooking at home every day during quarantine, I’ve been trying to embrace mise en place—or prepping all the ingredients in advance. It takes a little more time upfront (something I have plenty of), but it makes cooking dinner less chaotic.”

Lisa Kaminski, Associate Editor

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Chocolate Almond PizzellesTaste of Home

Buying New Gadgets

“My dad and I bought a pizzelle press recently and I’m stoked to make some homemade stroopwafel and pizelle. Since I’m home all the time, I’m willing to invest in some fun new pieces to try out and use as entertainment.”

Katie Bandurski, Associate Editor

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Kneading dough for giant cinnamon roll 197738Taste of Home

Trying More Time-Consuming Bakes

“Like so many, I have been baking bread, bread and more bread. I was a bread baker before COVID, but now I am taking the time to learn new-to-me bread methods that require more steps and more time to develop flavor and texture. English muffins were my first project in that realm, but now I’m knee-deep in sourdough, experimenting with different recipes and methods to find the most flavorful loaf with the crispiest crust and the biggest holes in the crumb.”

Catherine Ward, Prep Kitchen Manager

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Visiting Outdoor Markets Regularly

“Since our local farmers market started in June, we haven’t missed a Saturday. It’s been a lovely way to be among people, but at a safe distance. We’re buying most—if not all—of our produce from local vendors, and I’ve been making some unexpected purchases, too. In September, I picked up a half bushel of peaches and used it to make two kinds of jam and some absolutely delightful peach turnovers.”

Lara Eucalano, Senior Editor

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Treating Yourself

“I’ve been treating myself a little bit more. If there’s a new product I want to try or some gorgeous fresh flowers or an incredible Aldi find, I try not to feel guilty about buying it. Life is crazy right now, and it’s important to treat yourself once in a while.”

Katie Bandurski, Associate Editor

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Embracing Food Trends

“I totally jumped on the sourdough train! I still try to make a loaf or two each week.”

—Margaret Knoebel, Culinary Assistant

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Cold-brew coffeeTaste of Home

Trying New Coffee Routines

“Now that I’m not going to the Taste of Home offices every day, my morning routine has definitely changed. No more break room coffee or coffee runs in the morning! Now I’m making cold brew at home for my husband and myself. It’s a great way to greet the morning, plus we enjoy customizing our cups. A little maple syrup and cream is our favorite combo.”

Lisa Kaminski, Associate Editor

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Taking a Few Shortcuts

“I’ve made a conscious effort to give myself permission to take shortcuts in the kitchen. Semi-prepared meals, convenience products and meals that aren’t as well-rounded as I’d like have been OK with me. It’s a stressful time and sometimes a walk or reading a book or watching Netflix has been more relaxing than preparing a meal.”

Peggy Woodward, Senior Food Editor

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Using Lunch Breaks as Prep Time

“I do find myself planning my meals more regularly. Since I’m working from home, I can pop into the kitchen and start prepping dinner at lunchtime.”

—Jullie Schnittka, Senior Editor

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Enjoying Family Meals

“At the beginning of quarantine, all of our kids were home which meant that we were back to nightly family meals, which was awesome! We always ate together when the kids were young but as they grew up and moved out, those meals were much less frequent. Being together 24/7 reminded us how much we missed that family time, cooking and eating together. Nothing makes me happier than a full table.”

Catherine Ward, Prep Kitchen Manager

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Making Deliberate Takeout Choices

“For about the first three months of the pandemic, my husband and I made all our meals—no takeout of any kind. When we started ordering from restaurants again, we were deliberate about who we wanted to support. We’ve been choosing local restaurants we don’t want to see close. Delicious food and supporting small businesses—it’s a win-win!”

Emily Racette Parulski, Senior Editor

Lisa Kaminski
Lisa is an associate editor at Taste of Home where she gets to embrace her passion for baking. She pours this love of all things sweet (and sometimes savory) into Bakeable, Taste of Home's baking club. At home, you'll find her working on embroidery and other crafts.

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