With the coronavirus pandemic now upon us, people in Egypt like others worldwide are spending weeks of quarantine at home. So, what supplies should you have on hand to carry you through the quarantine period?
If you have a baby, you should ensure you have enough formula, baby food, snacks, diapers and the rest depending on the baby’s age. The same goes for pets: make sure you have sufficient pet food and other supplies on hand. It’s also crucial to make sure you have enough of any prescribed or over-the-counter medications you use regularly to last for the quarantine period.
You’ll likely be limiting your trips to the grocery store, but the most important thing to remember while shopping is not to stockpile. Take only what you need and leave the rest. Some of us probably have too much of what might be needed at home already, so there’s no reason to clear out store shelves when others may need these supplies.
Here are some essentials to restock your kitchen cabinets during the Covid-19 crisis:
Water: If you don’t have safe and clean running water at home, get a two-week supply from the store.
Pasteurised milk: Make sure you have the exact quantity of cartons you need to consume.
Drinks: Make sure you have some coffee or tea on hand to brew while staying at home.
Dry goods: Think about beans, olives, rice, salt, flour, sugar, pasta and essential baking ingredients.
Canned food: This includes tuna fish, tomatoes, sweet corn and other items.
Butter and oil: Butter can last in the fridge for months.
Eggs: Fresh eggs should be stored in their original carton to protect them. They will last for three weeks after purchase when refrigerated properly. If you boil the eggs, they will last for up to a week in the fridge.
Cheese: Both block-style and shredded cheeses should last for about two weeks, as long as you seal the packages properly after opening them. Harder cheeses like cheddar can last for a month in the fridge, while softer cheeses like Gouda and brie last for about two weeks.
Bread: While certain bread products can become mouldy in a few days, you can extend their life by freezing them. Freeze bread in its original packaging. When you want to eat it, let it thaw at room temperature and then toast it.
Fresh food: Try to pick fruit and vegetables that will last a while so you can parcel them out over your stay indoors.
Potatoes and sweet potatoes: Both sweet and white potatoes are potassium-rich all-stars and will last at room temperature for about two weeks.
Garlic and onions: Both of these flavour-boosters can be used in hundreds of recipes, and they last for a very long time. Stored at room temperature, these savoury bulbs will last for up to two months.
Carrots: These are high in beta carotene, which is necessary for skin and eye health. In a one-cup serving, carrots provide nearly four grams of fibre. A bag of unpeeled carrots will last for at least two weeks in the produce drawer of your fridge.
Cucumber and tomatoes: Together with lettuce and your choice of green leaves, these can make up a healthy salad bowl.
Oranges and lemons: Bursting with Vitamin C, citrus fruits will keep your immune system humming and last in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. The zest and juice from these fruits will also help brighten up the flavour of a variety of marinades and sauces.
Meat and poultry: Pick your choice of fresh meat, chicken and fish. Freeze all of them well.
Frozen food: Buy a variety of green vegetables. Frozen meals might be a good idea if you don’t feel up to cooking every day.
Frozen pizza: If you have room in your freezer for these, they’re probably worth the space. While not essential for basic nutritional needs, pizza can be a welcome week-night treat.
Dried fruit: These contain plenty of nutrients and can be used to top cereal, oatmeal and yogurt.
Nuts: These contain heart-healthy fats, as well as essential minerals. They’re also full of plant-based protein.
Fun food: Crisps, sweets and other snacks like popcorn are a nice idea for a film night to cheer you up during quarantine.
Frozen treats: Staying at home for a two-week period can be stressful, so pick up a few pints of ice cream and a box or two of your favourite flavours.
Cleaning and hygiene supplies: Make sure you have a couple of weeks’ worth of soap, laundry detergent, and, of course, toilet and kitchen paper. In addition to the kind of soap you’d use to wash your hands, you can also buy hand sanitiser.
*A version of this article appears in print in the 2 April, 2020 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly