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Pandemic or Not, You Can Still Cook for Others

Created April 15, 2020
Now more than ever, your loved ones need the comfort of your A+ chocolate chip cookies, your signature cheesy lasagna and your soothing chicken noodle soup.
Redirect the cooking energy that might have gone into celebrations and get-togethers. Instead, make a shareable meal or sweet care package for your nearest and dearest. It’s a great way to feel better and it’s not against the rules.

How to Take Proper Cooking Precautions

There’s no evidence COVID-19 can be transmitted via food, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Here’s how to take proper precautions:

  1. Wash your hands thoroughly before cooking and after handling food packaging, e.g. after putting away your groceries or after opening a package of chicken breasts and before handling them.
  2. Don’t touch your face while you’re cooking (or ever, if you can help it). If wearing a mask reminds you to avoid this maddeningly hard-to-break habit, wear one.
  3. Keep your kitchen clean, regularly disinfect high touch-point areas and follow everyday food safety guidelines.
  4. If you’re sick, focus on taking care of yourself. This is not pandemic-specific advice, by the way. (For the record, people who must cook while sick, such as parents caring for children, can wear face masks to lessen transmission risk.)
Want to be extra sure your intended recipient is open to accepting a home-baked treat? Why not start with a quick note along the lines of, “Hey, I overbought at the grocery, can I share with you?”

There’s no evidence COVID-19 can be transmitted via food, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
There’s no evidence COVID-19 can be transmitted via food, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Heat-and-Eat Meals

Know a heroic healthcare worker, a mom who’s doing it all on her own or a family with two kids under five? A meal dropped on their doorstep might be as close as we can get to hugging in this era of social distancing. Just don’t forget to follow up your contactless delivery with a message letting them know there’s something delicious waiting outside their front door!

Just don’t forget to follow up your contactless delivery with a message letting them know there’s something delicious waiting outside their front door!
Just don’t forget to follow up your contactless delivery with a message letting them know there’s something delicious waiting outside their front door!

Cooking for an expectant mother? Pregnant women seem to be at the same risk of contracting COVID-19 as other adults. Follow the guidelines at the beginning of this article and consult the CDC’s website for more information.

DIY Meal Delivery Kits

salted caramel chocolate banana skillet brownie

Create your own meal kit complete with recipe and ingredients—just like subscription boxes, but even better. With a DIY meal kit, you get to share the secret sauce that makes your lasagna the best in town or the cookie recipe everyone adores. A meal like this can double as a fun activity for bored teens or for families who enjoy cooking together.

  • Pizza night in! Make Betty’s foolproof pizza dough and pack it up with a can of pizza sauce, lots of shredded mozzarella and whatever other toppings you think will strike their fancy. Set them up for dessert too by adding in the ingredients for an easy recipe, like Salted Caramel-Chocolate Banana Skillet Brownie.
  • Nachos for dinner? No one will be mad about this, especially when you deliver the slow-cooked beef barbacoa, queso, chips and their favorite fixings, so it’s just a matter of assembly—sounds like a great job for a kid looking for something to do, right? Better yet, pack the makings for a dessert that’s easy enough for a kid to throw together, like three-ingredient Triple Chip Cookie Bars.
  • Dump-and-Go Meatball Lasagna is a low-ingredient recipe that’s totally adaptable. If you’ve got a bag of your signature Italian meatball in the freezer, now is the perfect time to share them. Stick to the theme by sending along the ingredients for Spumoni Chunk Cookies—this decadent treat is a breeze to throw together.

Sweet Treats That’ll Go the Distance

peanut butter cookies

Far-away loved ones might seem farther away than ever before. Bridge the distance with a care package stuffed full of their favorite homemade treats. We can’t think of a better way to brighten someone’s day. If you suspect kids might be the first ones to open your package, include a note reminding them to wash their hands before they dig in—you won’t be there to see the eyerolls!

  • Our Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies and Peanut Butter Cookies are two favorites that travel well. For more cookies that are sturdy enough to survive shipping, check out our How to Mail Cookies article.
  • Homemade candies, like Salted Caramels are also a great option when you’re sending a care package.
  • Since your treats will be unrefrigerated, avoid dairy-rich ingredients or delicate textures. Frosted cookies, meringues and the like are better saved for another occasion.

If you suspect kids might be the first ones to open your package, include a note reminding them to wash their hands before they dig in
If you suspect kids might be the first ones to open your package, include a note reminding them to wash their hands before they dig in

Tell us what you end up cooking and who you shared your homemade goodness with, and of course, ask any questions below. If you’d like more information about food safety and coronavirus, check the FAQs on the CDC’s website. Be well!