Quarantine in the Kitchen

In an always-busy society, taking time to go to the kitchen to bake is rare. There is always an appointment you need to go to or a friend you are meeting up with. When COVID-19 shut the world down, those busy schedules disappeared and baking became a source of entertainment during those endless hours stuck at home.

Some aspiring bakers tried new diets. Others experimented with viral baking hacks from TikTok. Long-neglected kitchens became filled with the smell of rising bread, flour-dusted countertops and the sound of sizzling onions on the stove.

“I improved a ton over quarantine and it almost became a hobby,” Isabel Poggenklass, fr., said. “I got very experimental when working with frosting and colors for my cookies or cakes.”

Along with the rest of the world, coffee shops closed down in March 2020. Instead of stopping at Starbucks on the way to work, whipped coffee — sweet iced coffee brewable in the safety of one’s home — went viral.. Whipped 

coffee is a combination of instant coffee, sugar and hot water whipped until fluffy and placed on top of a glass of ice and milk. 

Some who didn’t enjoy coffee hopped aboard the trend as well. The most popular non-coffee variations included whipped strawberry milk and whipped hot chocolate. These variations replaced instant coffee with another drink powder such as hot chocolate mix or Strawberry Nesquick.

Olivia Riley-Schmelzer

Others found they could be more creative in the kitchens. One of the most popular concoctions was the pancake cereal trend. This combines two staple breakfast items, cereal and pancakes, in a new breakfast item. Pancake cereal is a collection of small, cereal-sized pancakes. It is served with either milk, like cereal, or syrup and butter, like pancakes.

The trends that went viral around the world were not just a way to fill empty hours, but to stay connected throughout these times of social distancing. Millions shared their attempts at baking on social media. Others cooked with friends and family through the computer. Food became a point of connection for people across the globe.

“I used baking as an excuse to go over to my friend’s and hand them part of a cake of some failed cookies,” Poggenklass said.

Being in the kitchen has helped people across the country to cope with the immense amount of changes in the world around them. The joy of cooking has been discovered by a new generation.