COVID-19: The Bread Baking Renaissance

Food is one of the few things that can unite, sustain, and soothe us no matter where we are in the world. In these troubling times, many people have turned to bread baking and vegetable gardening both to feed themselves and to pass time. In this week’s Notes from the Field, we asked our participants what their go-to comfort food is.

Emma Pratt, Tbilisi, Georgia

Khachapuri is a traditional Georgian bread filled with cheese and egg.

Most Georgian food makes good comfort food. There has been a popular social media challenge of people around the world making adjaruli khachapuri or khinkali and posting photos of their results. I think I will try to make my first adjaruli khachapuri soon.

Jesse Smeal, Rome, Italy

Any pasta dish. Cheap, easy and delicious.

Ann Merrill, Kyiv, Ukraine

Carbs, carbs, carbs.

Jessie Labov, Budapest, Hungary

My child has been sustained largely on “mákos tészta,” or poppy seed noodles, which is spaghetti or fettuccine coated with butter (or duck fat if you’re my mother-in-law), then sprinkled with a mix of ground poppy seeds and powdered sugar—the proportion of each depending entirely on the level of bribery necessary to get the child to eat. If you grew up in the U.S., you will probably find this weird and off-putting. If you grew up in this region, you will wolf it down like manna from heaven.

Eric Bednarski, Warsaw, Poland

We have been eating a lot of traditional homemade Polish pierogis in my household. Although I have been eating pierogis for most of my life, I’d never made pierogis myself until this pandemic struck, so it has been fascinating to see the whole pierogi-making process from start to finish. A lot of people I know in Warsaw seem to be baking their own bread now too. Many of them are baking bread for the first time.

Lyudmila Skryabina, Moscow, Russia

A meat and fish counter remains open in an empty St. Petersburg supermarket.

I can’t say anything about my fellow countrymen, although I think many are cooking now. Personally, I have been making more soups in quarantine. Yesterday I made borscht. I am also trying to remember the recipes for all kinds of yummy dishes. I recently made the mini-khachapuris Dr. Brintlinger taught me to make several years ago. I have to admit that I’ve been eating better and healthier food in quarantine.

<<Check back in next Monday, May 25, to learn more about how countries in Central and Eastern Europe are dealing with the pandemic.

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