Time to bake and cook

My job as an elementary art teacher is both rewarding and many times exhausting. Most of my breakfasts consist of a granola bar and a banana. My lunches are usually a boring sandwich, with trips to the school vending machine for chips and a candy bar. Dinners are occasionally satisfying, but lots of times I’d be too hungry to wait for a meal to be cooked and end up grabbing something to eat at the local Noodles, or nearby grocery store. Now that I’ve been spending a good majority of my time at home, I’ve been forced to learn how to utilize the kitchen. Since the lockdown began in Virginia, my wife and I have taken strict measures to be as safe as possible, only going out for groceries twice in nearly two months, and not eating out or ordering out. It was a drastic but welcome lifestyle change that will hopefully stay with us, virus or no virus. Having stocked up on a large amount of food both times I went out to get groceries, meant we had to get smart about what to eat first and save for later. My wife Kris was kindly persistent in getting me in the kitchen as well, if we were to eat decent meals while staying at home. I’m fortunate she’s such a good and knowledgeable cook and baker, and with the two of us at home, with more time on our hands , we had no choice but to make friends with the kitchen. We made tortillas and bread from scratch, and it tasted far better than anything we ever bought at the store. A favorite so far was the salmon shepherds pie we cooked together – a delicious and healthy meal assembled from seemingly disparate food items found throughout the kitchen cupboards. Kris also helped me learn how to make chocolate chip cookies from scratch as well, and after tasting them it’ll be hard to go back to anything store bought in a package. Cooking and baking together has far surpassed any dates we had eating out, and it’s good knowing what’s in our food. Part of the fun is the actual process, and I now realize that cooking and baking can be an art form in and of itself. I look forward to seeing what else we’ll make, and even more so to eating it.

Steve Loya

Location: Sterling, Virginia

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