How Much Time Will Families Spend Feeding Themselves During COVID19 Shelter-In-Place?

Take a look at this. It’s a schedule that the Lazarovics made for themselves and their two children, ages six and nine, during the pandemic restrictions that closed schools.

Source: Sample Schedules For Kids Home From School During Coronavirus Outbreak, HuffPost, 17 March 2020

First, it’s great. Top notch parents.

Second, being the food person in my household, I’m looking at their food time.

From what I can tell:
Breakfast is about a half hour.
Lunch is about an hour: prep is a half hour, eating is 15 minutes, cleaning is 15 minutes.
Dinner same as lunch.

Is that right? Is that how much time a family of 4 typically spends on feeding themselves these days? About 2.5 hours a day? For three meals plus snacks cooked at home from scratch? That includes all prep, cooking, eating, and cleaning dishes, pots and pans, and any labor-saving devices like blenders and food processors.

I don’t know. Maybe it is. I couldn’t do it. Just roasting potatoes or cooking brown rice takes longer than a half hour. A stock pot of water for pasta takes about 20-25 minutes to come to a boil. Beans from scratch? Welp.

I think the Lazarovics may be underestimating the amount of time food takes.

5 thoughts on “How Much Time Will Families Spend Feeding Themselves During COVID19 Shelter-In-Place?

  1. Bix Post author

    They didn’t leave any time for baking. Why, then, has there been NO FLOUR at the grocery store for 2 weeks? What are people doing with all the flour? (Don’t get me started about the toilet paper.)


  2. forumholitorium

    A good trick to speed up boiling water for pasta: use an electric tea kettle to heat the water quickly, then add it to the pot. It takes less than five minutes. Electric tea kettles are a staple in most European kitchens. I don’t know how hard they are to find in the U.S. – demand is surely much lower because of the prevalence of coffee makers.

    As for the family, I assume they are not eating a low-fat, starch-based diet. High-fat foods can be prepared more quickly (I’m thinking eggs and cheese and lunch meat). And they are probably relying on a lot of processed food.

    Flour hoarding…despite the gluten-free zeitgeist, flour is a basic food on all emergency preparation lists I have seen – though what most people do with it, especially in an emergency context, I don’t know. I use about a pound of flour a week to make my own pizza crust (half whole wheat, half white). Now I have a sourdough starter that is bubbling and ready to go, so that will up the amount of flour I need as I plan to bake bread. Thankfully there is still flour to be had at the supermarkets in Vienna. I hope you have a good supply at home so you can keep baking.


    1. Bix Post author

      That’s interesting about electric tea kettles being more common in Europe. Maybe they will become more common here when gas hobs are phased out.

      I agree with your entire second paragraph.

      As to flour … I shouldn’t have said no flour. They do have some pricey off-brands and things like almond flour, rice flour, gluten-free flour. Now that they have begun rationing I hope the stock improves. Our grocery store now has a limit on 2 of many things, including flour, rice, frozen veg, bags of carrots & potatoes, toilet paper. I just checked again this morning. Really most basic items are being rationed.


      1. forumholitorium

        My Italian-American grandma made her own pizza crust/oil bread and my mom (not her daughter) used to make it more often too. My cousin has already recruited her 2-year-old into helping make dough following the family recipe.

        I’m still working on developing my sourdough skills and have a long way to go. As long as the store keeps stocking flour (or until my 4 kg/8.8 lb stockpile of whole wheat, white, and rye is gone), I hope to work on my technique in the next few months.



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