COVID-19, physical separation, grocery shopping and children


COVID-19 is here, though so far our family are doing ok - it has been eight days since our last venture out of the house and we're not showing symptoms, so it's so far so good.

We've actually been wondering how to handle a scenario where both my wife and I become ill, and how to manage grocery shopping and food preparation for our three children. There's potential for us both to fall ill and be unable to cook for everyone for two-ish weeks.

There are a few aspects to this.

Firstly, COVID-19 can take up to two weeks for symptoms to show up. Every time we go out we want to wait two weeks to ensure we weren't infected from our last exposure.

Secondly, many people (including some folks I know) have full-on symptoms for two weeks, or longer, where they're unable to do anything, never mind if you need to go to the hospital. If we fall ill towards the end of a two week grocery period we could be out of action for another two weeks.

Put together, that sets us up for wanting to shop every two weeks but having two additional weeks worth of food, so that if we both fall ill by the end of a two week grocery period there's still food in the house for the kids to eat.

Towards that goal we've started focusing more on cooking fresh food instead of processed food, with the goal of freezing half-or-more of it per batch. We're labeling everything that goes in the freezer with the date so the food can be eaten in order.

So we're going to focus on cooking fresh food while we have it, try to freeze some of each meal, and then if/when we're ill our kids have something they can take out and heat to eat.

Ultimately I'd like us to have four weeks of of food between the fridge, freezer and pantry; we'd favor cooking fresh when available, then cycle through frozen stuff while leaving a two-week buffer of "mom and dad are both ill" time.

This is made all the more complicated because of my wife's ongoing health problems. She has been nursing her gall bladder for two years and is currently trying to improve it. Part of this process involves juicing vegetables and fruit to make them easier for her to get the nutrition (and throwing the pulp/fiber left over into chicken broth). Because so much fruit & veg only lasts a week-or-so she found a technique to prolong their shelf life by putting them in baskets of wood shavings, separating each item so that if one starts rotting it won't affect the others. This has been helping so far, e.g. instead of one rotten apple in a bag causing the rest to rot, when one apple started showing signs we could spot it and the others weren't affected.

Even so, fruit and veg can still go off fairly quickly, some items only lasting a few days before they start going off. As a result, it becomes hard to only shop once every two weeks and keep fresh fruit & veg in your diet. To help with this we signed up for Misfits Market a company that ships you a box of fresh veg & fruit every week. They're super busy right now so our first delivery won't be for two weeks, but it looks like deliveries will start on our grocery week off, so I think it'll help.

I should also note that we are in a very privileged position of being able to do this. I work from home and still have a job, and thankfully we're able to fund these efforts. I know lots of people who aren't as fortunate, hopefully the government funding will be able to help people.

Anyway, be safe, stay home if you can, and take care of yourselves.

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