God bless Ina Garten. The Barefoot Contessa and Food Network queen is not only a cooking goddess, she’s single-handedly saving the sanity of a good many of us right now. Just when headlines are encouraging people not to ransack grocery stores and parents are agonizing over the hazards of picking up take-out, Garten descends like a doll-faced, spatula-waving cherub with the most useful Instagram posts ever: Ina Garten's pantry staples for quarantine survival (and how to use them).
It all started with her post on Wednesday, a quick shot of her own pantry and the following message:
“I know so many of you are very anxious about what’s to come because I am, too. The one thing we CAN do, though, is cook for the people we love who are sheltered in place with us. Over the next days and weeks, I’ll post lots of ideas for delicious things to make from your pantry and fridge - along with substitutions if you only have granulated sugar and not brown sugar, or onions and not shallots! Please stay safe and we will take care of each other through this crisis. Tell me what’s in your pantry and I’ll think of recipes for you to make!”
Can we say, "I feel seen!"? Yes, yes I do. What has followed thus far are daily recipes from Garten sharing with her followers how to adapt to social isolation by using what’s already in our cupboards.
On Thursday that meant a recipe of Broccoli & Bow Ties using neither broccoli nor bow ties. The savvy chef instead substituted broccolini and cavatappi, an easy fix, then explained something more exhausted parents need to hear right now: “Instead of making three things for dinner — meat, vegetable & starch — I’m loving just eating one thing for each meal. Who else is doing that?”
Hear that parents? We’re living in a freaking pandemic. No need to stress yourself out further by following the food pyramid and providing your family with a multi-dish feast for every meal. Instead, take Garten's advice and ditch the three-course meals for a simple one-dish dinner that’s filling, healthy, and doesn’t take the better part of an afternoon to prepare.
If that's not enough to calm your anxiety, our girl also posted an easy Tomatoes and Lentils recipe today because lord knows we all have a bag of lentils sitting around in the pantry just waiting to be found behind the boxes of Fruit Loops and Saltines.
Garten also assured fans that she’s well aware people are worried about wasting fresh fruits they bought in their pandemic panic, writing, “What’s in your fridge that you’re afraid will go bad? Apples? Bananas? I’ll post recipes for you to use them.” Thank you, Ina. Why yes, I have two pears slowly morphing into brown slime. By all means, please tell me what the hell to do with them.
And ya know what, we bet she will. Because that’s the kind of gal Ina Garten is. Not all heroes wear capes. Some wear aprons.
To get all of Garten’s pantry recipes, visit her instagram account at @inagarten.
If you think you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus, which include fever, shortness of breath, and cough, call your doctor before going to get tested. If you’re anxious about the virus’s spread in your community, visit the CDC for up-to-date information and resources, or seek out mental health support. You can find all our Romper’s parents + coronavirus coverage here on this page, and Bustle’s constantly updated, general “what to know about coronavirus” here.