Cooking during the coronavirus, students strengthen skills, family bonds


Midway file photo

Junior Chloe Ma’s family prepares dinner together. Extra time at home has allowed students to share more moments cooking and bonding with family.

Anathea Carrigan, Opinion Editor

Over the sound of the mixer, sophomore Sarina Zhao barely hears her brother yelling “Heads up!” as he throws a big bag of chocolate chips her way. It creates a cloud of dust as it lands on the flour-covered counter.
Before picking up the chocolate chips, Sarina finishes measuring out the sugar she needs to add. In between classes, they’re whipping up their favorite sweet treat, chocolate chip cookies.
Students at Lab have been using their extra time at home to hone their cooking and baking skills, strengthening their familial relationships in the process.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Sarina has been trying to find ways to be more creative. Noticing that her family had been eating at home more often, she decided that cooking and baking would fit her need for a creative outlet.
“I’ve cooked dinner for my family several times, which is something I’ve never done before,” Sarina said.
The meals she’s cooked have had varying degrees of success.
“When I cooked chicken soup with my family, it turned out well,” Sarina said, “but my brother and I tried making a dish out of mung bean pasta once, and that ended pretty badly.”
Sarina has also found her new creative hobby to have practical uses.
“Cooking is definitely a skill I should develop at some point,” she said. “Cooking dinner is just also a great way to help out around the house.”
Senior Zach Sharp has also been cooking for his family, but he has been focusing more on strengthening his skills for upcoming years.
“I’ve been learning knife techniques and meal prep from my mom,” Zach said. “I am going off to college soon, so I believe that it is an important life skill. I want to know how to cook so I can cook for other people, and so I won’t have to eat out all the time.”
In addition, Sarina finds cooking and baking to be beneficial to her mental health.

It’s a great way to take your mind off of things since you have to focus on what you are doing. It’s pretty stress relieving.”

— Sarina Zhao

Oftentimes, she’s the one helping her parents cook. But when she’s cooking alone, she notices she has a helper of her own: her 9-year-old brother, Kingston.
“Sometimes I’ll be cooking something and my brother will be following me wanting to help. So I’ll have him cut vegetables or something like that,” Sarina said. “It’s like having my own personal sidekick.”
Sarina’s favorite foods to cook are those where the entire family can get involved, whether it’s tossing chocolate chips, chopping celery, or stirring the soup pot.
“One of my favorites is chicken soup. There’s so much to do; everyone can get involved,” she said. “It’s always a fun, family food.”