The Crestone Eagle • May, 2020

Food in the time of corona

by Anoushka Perkert

Well, I would say the world isn’t what it was a month ago when going to the store seemed like something you could just do about any time. COVID-19 has changed everything. Putting food on the table is still a necessity, but all of us who struggle with the sudden loss of income will now think twice about what to buy. Food banks are overwhelmed. Stores are struggling to keep the supply chain going. People are starting gardens again. The anxiety we all feel is ever-present.

Inviting friends over for dinner is out of the question, but we can still create a warming meal for our family and ourselves. And with all the abundance of time on hand, we can be creative and perhaps try things we haven’t tried before. Cooking is a great way to do something with your hands, get a break from the ever-devastating news and engage in something fun and creative. Cooking simply takes us back to the moment by engaging our senses for the things we crave and love.

However, we will need to give some thought to the way we shop and handle groceries and produce. Shopping time equals possible exposure time to the virus and should be reduced to the minimum. Make a list for a week or two ahead. Knowing exactly what you need will speed up the time you spend in the store. Not lingering at the store is absolutely important for your health and the health of others.

I know we have all heard it one too many times, but it cannot be emphasized enough: Wash your hands—especially before and after handling groceries. You touch many surfaces while you are out there, from doorknobs to keyboards to shopping baskets. Wash your hands after you get back from shopping and again after you have put all your groceries away. You cannot get the virus through your skin, but you may touch your face and from there it’s easy for the virus to enter through mouth, eyes or nose and settle in the airways. From there, as we know, it’s only a short way to the lungs.

A lot has been said about disinfecting food packaging. The Corona virus can live on cardboard for up to 24 hours and up to 3 days on stainless steel and plastic, but its potency drops dramatically within a few hours. According to the FDA there is currently no evidence of transmission through food packaging. If you feel anxious about contaminated food packaging, you can take the item out of the box and spray/wipe cans etc. with a disinfecting cleaning solution.

Wash all fresh produce thoroughly with water. Use a vegetable brush, but do avoid bleach or soap—it can do more harm than good. Soaking or spraying your produce with a mild peroxide solution will also help to kill the virus. Rinse the produce after you soaked or sprayed it.

Keep your kitchen and especially the counters meticulously clean. Wipe them regularly with soap and water and/or spray with a mild bleach/disinfectant solution. Don’t forget handles, knobs and buttons on machines. We touch those all the time.

And remember: The biggest threat for catching the virus is other people, not food. Limiting your time in the grocery store should be your number one priority. If you are self-isolating and need food delivered to your home, contact the Elephant Cloud or Mercantile for food delivery. They are working with the local CERT Team that will deliver food boxes to your door at no charge. It’s a great thing for Crestone and the Baca. And here is a big thank you to the Mercantile and Elephant Cloud for keeping us alive!