Quarantine Brings New Meaning to Comfort Foods

Jaein Kim and Kelthie Truong

Whether it be the joy that comes from birthday cake or the childhood nostalgia from a box of Kraft Mac & Cheese, food is often associated with certain emotions, one of which is comfort. The quarantine chaos spurred new emotions for many, who turned to the comfort of food to cope. 

For some students, baking began as a time-filler once lockdown measures were in place.

“During the summer, I didn’t have many plans, so I ended up forcing my dad to take me to the grocery store to buy ingredients and started baking,” senior Ashley Presnell said. “It’s been really nice as both a hobby and for stress relief.”

With productivity looking different in distance learning, baking also provided some students the tangible result of hard work. For senior and baker Laci Kim, her culinary journey is one of growth and discovery.

“Quarantine felt like the perfect opportunity to refine my skills and try things I’ve never made before, like patisserie and French style,” Kim said. “Because it’s a skill that I’ve been mastering for over 10 years, it’s crazy to see my growth as a person.”

Others used baking as an avenue for emotional connections while socially distancing.

“I like to deliver desserts to friends during quarantine to remind them all that I love them, even though we can’t see each other at the moment,” senior and baking enthusiast Katie Liang said. 

With the help of more families working from home, baking has also rekindled bonds within households.

“My parents don’t bake a lot, so to have me pick it up on my end led us to spend more time together in the kitchen,” Presnell said. “We became a lot closer… usually on a normal day [without being in the kitchen] I would speak around five words to my parents a day.”

As quarantine comfort foods continue to support people through unprecedented, pandemic-invoked emotions and foster personal and familial growth, eating one’s own feelings gains a whole new meaning.