Quarantine Panic Baking! 3: Bread

It’s going to be okay, everyone.

Chuck E. Cheese is open for carry-out.

Or, as my mom calls it, “The place where the coronavirus probably started.”

I have so many questions about this. Who exactly is saying, “Honey, I don’t want to cook tonight. Let’s get pizza! But not just any pizza. I want pizza that tastes like freezer burn and warehouse cardboard seasoned with a secret blend of Adderall and despair.”

When you pick up your carry-out, do they make it worth your while by replicating the full Chuck E. Cheese experience and blast carnival music directly into your ears while a dead-eyed giant robot stares into your soul and a sugar-crashing child hucks a plastic ball that has never EVER been cleaned right at your mouth?

Suffice it to say, I have not indulged this craving. I’ve been doing what everyone else in the entire world is doing, “distractibaking” with bread. I can’t sleep because I have constant anxiety nightmares (wait, now I have to fulfill a scuba diving requirement to get my degree? NO!) and the dog goes on strike after three walks per day.

So I’m not just making just ANY bread. I’m going gourmet. I’ve made cornbread, garlic bread, flatbread, you name it. I’ve gotten this down to such a science that I can time my proofing around my virtual therapy appointments.

My new favorites are cinnamon bread:


And this mozzarella and pesto babka, which tastes like running into the kitchen of an Italian restaurant and eating everything you can before running back out.

I don’t eat all the bread, of course . . .  just most of it. I’ve been giving most of it to my parents and talking to them through the garage door.

My mom has been making fudge—and then hiding it as a fun scavenger hunt activity for my dad.

Dad claims, “Fudge is really important at a time like this—the smoothness helps the lungs!”

“Maybe fudge is anti-viral,” I said.

“We can’t afford not to take that chance!”

When this all started, my sister started tracking my parents on Find My Friends and texting them, “Mom, you should be at home. Not joking.”

Now that everything has been shut down for a while, she’s relaxed and become very sage about this whole thing.

“I’ve never felt more proud to get takeout than I have the last few weeks,” she said.

While working from home, the highlight of her day is seeing a single car go the wrong way down the one-way street in front of her building.

She also said, “I’ll know things are really bad when I actually want to do a puzzle.”

I’ve already done EIGHT 1000-piecers despite the best endeavors of the cat to stop me. IMG_2132





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