Food for the Self-Isolating: TOG’S Guide To The Pandemic Pantry

20th March 2020

In these strange times, food seems more important than ever. Panic buying has reminded us how we need food to live. Also how dependent we are on our shops. It might seem obvious, but it doesn’t normally cross our minds. 

We’ve realised how important it is not to waste food (or toilet paper). We are starting to appreciate its true value. We are tightening our purse strings.

The possibility of not having access to our health service has reminded us we need to take action to stay healthy. Our health depends on what we put in our bodies.

Restaurants and pubs are closing, laying off staff. Some are finding innovative ways to survive.

Here are some resources that could change your life, perhaps in a small way, but, we hope, for the better: 




1. Foods that can help keep you away from the doctor.

Vitamins A, C and E boost our immunity. Protein, water and ‘good bacteria’ from fermented foods are also important. Great are oranges, blueberries, grapefruit and strawberries, veg like broccoli, spinach, sweet potato and carrots. Almonds, hazelnuts and peanuts have Vitamin E. Dark chocolate… turmeric, oily fish. The list is dull – so here are some recipes from Delicious that could help boost your immune system:  Delicious.com: 45 quick and easy immune-boosting recipes

TOG Pandemic pantry



2. Frugal, storable and nutritious meals during uncertain times. 

Times are uncertain, no doubt. But not for the first time. Throughout history, we’ve come together and found wonderful ways to get through challenging times. During the World War II we came up with frugal, storable and nutritious meals that kept us all going. Cooking some of these now could help us understand what people went through then, as well as cutting our spending. The 1940’s experiment: 182 Wartime Recipes



3. Become a food prep master. 

Huge video resource from the BBC to up your food prep game: bbc.co.uk: Food Prep Techniques



4. Expand your Culinary Repertoire 

Loads of free online cooking classes, organised by theme, from Tastemade. Classes on Mexican cooking to gluten free baking to making your own pasta. Tastemade.com: Free Classes

Mexican cookery video



5. Introduction to meal prep

Preparing multiple meals in advance can reduce the time, thinking and money required to feed your family. Here’s an interesting and comprehensive guide for beginners:  Thekitchn.com: How To Meal Prep For Beginners

Meal prep recipe



6. How to get your freezer in order

No idea what’s at the back of your freezer? Here are some ideas for making the most of the space (and reducing plastic at the same time): Sweetpeasandsaffron.com: Plastic Free Freezer Storage Ideas



7. Recipes to cook while you self-isolate

“In times of uncertainty, cooking is both a means of grounding yourself – chopping and stirring, using your senses and judgement – and of engaging in normal routines… There is nothing frivolous about eating well in a time of crisis… Food is comfort, food is self-care. Sometimes, that self-care can look like eating Nutella out of the jar with a spoon; sometimes it can be turning otherwise bland long-life ingredients into something spirit-lifting and delicious.”  Recipes to cook while you self-isolate from Spectator Life



8. Support your struggling local restaurants – Order takeaway

Restaurants and pubs, staffed by many of TOG’s customers, are already closing. Some are innovating – very fast. Try Deliveroo, Just Eats or Uber Eats to support your local businesses but also see which of your favourite independents might have just started delivery. Here are lists for Bristol stuffed265: How To Support Independent Local Businesses Safely and London Rocketandsquash.com Eating In The Time Of Covid 19



9. Sharpen your knives

No better time to learn to sharpen your own knives. It can be frustrating at first, but once you’re over the hump it’s empowering and addictive. We will be adding to our sharpening guide over the next few months. And launching some amazing whetstones. 

TOG’s guide to knife sharpening How To Sharpen Your Kitchen Knives

Sharpening knives with Whetstone at home



10. Teach your kids to cook

Listening to many top chefs over the years, most say their parents kick-started their love of food. With kids not at school, they can learn to cook with you. Then who knows.. maybe for you?

bbcgoodfood.com: Top Tips For Cooking With Kids

Good luck.

Bert and the team