Easter Quarantine: Don’t Ditch Tradition, Get Creative

Weaving family food traditions into each important holiday, even on our best days, can be a challenge. Throw a global pandemic, social distancing, isolation, and empty grocery store shelves into the mix and it can suddenly feel completely overwhelming and impossible. The good news—because there is always some good news—is that this is a perfect time to start new traditions or perhaps practice our patience and flexibility as we attempt to stick to what we know, with a few tweaks here and there. I had a chat with John Kanell, founder of the popular Preppy Kitchen, and Tiffani Thiessen, cookbook author, mother, and actress, to see how their families are celebrating the holiday this year. 

John Kanell—and seemingly just about everyone else on earth—has been relying on video chats to keep his family’s Easter traditions going. He tells me, "My mother and I always try to get together to make my hot cross buns recipe but this year we had to do it on FaceTime—we still had a great time and I think it's so important to try to maintain what we can in whatever way we can.” 

A glance at social media, or even the daily news, shows story after story of missing ingredients and empty grocery store shelves. Personally, I’ve had trouble finding flour and yeast, but for others it’s been sugar, eggs, dairy, or any number of things. I felt lucky to have a bag of bread flour at home already, which allowed me to bake sourdough bread and hot cross buns for friends and drop them at their doorsteps, but I did forego some other traditions because I simply couldn’t find the ingredients anywhere. Kanell tells me that the one thing he finds very different this year is that he "would normally have eaten mass amounts of Cadbury eggs and Reese's peanut butter eggs by now, but not this year. So instead I developed a recipe for a homemade version of the peanut butter eggs and had those instead," he says.

Especially for kids, this holiday feels a bit different as they adapt to a life without their friends, extended families, and usual routines. Tiffani Thiessen tells me, "I think there’s struggle for everyone through all of this, especially during a special holiday like Easter coming up. We normally have a big Easter celebration at our home with my extended family and close friends and that sadly won’t be happening this year. But we will of course still celebrate with our children and make it super special for them no matter what.” 

Rituals and traditions can be so important to families with children, as a way to pass on fond memories from older generations and share in so many joys. Kanell is still planning to decorate Easter eggs with his kids this year, "and they are excited to call our family on FaceTime to show them off,” he says. "Also, both their grandmothers made them Easter baskets and sent them ahead of time so they could open them on Easter day with them via FaceTime. Lots of FaceTime these days!”

Thiessen tells me, “the only thing that will be different is not having our close family and friends with us, but we will do everything else the same for our kids because I feel like, more than ever, they need that. They need to find comfort in what they are used to, especially since they aren’t getting their normal routine in many other places like school, playdates, etc. "

For those who have the space, starting a garden has been a very popular response to the food anxiety surrounding the pandemic, and for good reason. But for those who are really lucky, having the space for chickens, goats, or other animals to provide eggs, milk, cheese, and more has proven to be a lifesaver. For Thiessen, she’s lucky enough to grow beautiful produce in her garden at home and she tells me, "we are so extremely lucky to have chickens that give us [eggs] daily. I may have to trade eggs for toilet paper soon, though!” 

Even though the world looks a little crazy these days, it can be cathartic to attempt to keep important traditions alive this holiday weekend. Whether you’re quarantining with children, family, or alone, try to gather with your family or friends on a group video chat, or send a care package to other family members (or ask to receive one) and open it while speaking with them over the phone or video chat. Instead of giving up the traditions, get creative, and find a reason to celebrate—there is always a reason.


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