For many of us, eating out or indulging in a takeaway is a normal part of life, with one in ten of us doing this at least once a week. But with Covid-19 bringing down the shutters on all restaurants and many of our favourite takeaways, we’re now embracing our inner-chefs.
With no choice and an abundance of time, home cooking has seen a revitalisation. People are having to brush up on their culinary skills and be inventive with their creations as supermarkets struggle to maintain stocked shelves for basic items and ingredients.
So what are people cooking in quarantine? We looked at the most Instagrammed dishes around the world and found them under the hashtags #coronacooking #quarantinecuisine #covidcooking and #quarantinecooking. From this research, we’ve discovered what the top ten meals are under lockdown.
Although pork is purportedly the most eaten meat in the world, chicken has taken the Instagram top spot. It was found to be the main ingredient across a wide array of dishes across the world, from BBQ chicken to chicken pies and chicken burgers.
Cakes came in second place as people seemingly have the time to take up baking as a new hobby. Surprisingly, cookies have pipped pizzas in popularity whilst in quarantine. Pizza usually dominates food posts on Instagram with over 44 million posts, compared to cookies with 22 milion posts. Perhaps the technicalities of making homemade pizza is out of the realm of possibility for many.
Looking at food posts on Instagram pre-pandemic, it seemed many people only shared their fanciest creations. But as the virus has changed our way of life, many of us have gone back to basics. Simple bread loaf recipes are proving popular just as in the wartime era. With Google searches on how to make bread increasing six-fold, you’d think it was impossible to buy a loaf in-store. The combination of time and concern seems to be leading baking enthusiasts to clear the supermarkets shelves of ingredients, with grocery sales of flour up by 92% in the four weeks to March 22nd.
This limited supermarket stock has encouraged home bakers to get creative. With many of the staples running dry, it’s the basic recipes that people are looking to and the alternative ingredients that can be used when all the eggs seem to have been stockpiled. These substitute ingredients have become a necessity now the shelves are sparse and this caused a noticeable spike of 7,140 extra Google searches around egg substitutes and how to bake without eggs.
The lucky ones that have managed to acquire eggs have been sharing their favourite ways to cook them, with fried eggs being the dish of choice. But for the more health conscious egg-thusiasts, boiled is not far behind in second place. Poached came last in our Instagram research. Perhaps the risk of a poached egg going wrong is too high in times where they’re harder to come by.
It seems that people aren’t just cooking to stave off hunger. Sweet treats such as cakes and cookies made it into the top ten quarantine food posts. People searching for “cake recipes” on Google doubled in March compared to an average month and waffles have seen a 48% jump in searches since orders to stay home.
If your social media feed is full of banana bread pictures, that could be because 474,100 extra Google searches were conducted in March for variations of banana bread recipes. This may seem like the favoured food millennials, but historically it was born out of another period of crises, the Great Depression. Housewives didn’t want to waste overripe bananas which were an expensive item at the time. Although we’re not quite in the same situation as then, people are making more of a conscious effort to waste less and work with what they have.
Typically a household in the UK only spends 5.9 hours per week in the kitchen. But now as whole families are confined to their homes with each member of the household requiring three meals a day, the time spent in the kitchen is inevitably more.
Unfortunately, all this extra time spent at home cooking does have its negative side effects. Utility bills are inevitably rising in line with the increased energy usage and it’s estimated that homes will be spending an extra £52m a week on their bills due to staying home. So it’s worth seeing how your energy supplier can support you in these unprecedented times and whether you can lower your gas and electricity bills.
Quarantine food posts on Instagram prove that there is a newfound pride that people have in their cooking capabilities.This sharing of dishes from around the world helps as inspiration for others. Jamie Oliver is an example of a high profile figure who has brought together amateur cooks under the hashtag #keepcookingcarryon.
A positive that’ll come out of this experience is that we’ll all be better cooks and appreciate the abundance of ingredients at our fingertips. But that’s not to say that we won’t be back in our favourite restaurants as soon as we can.