Three local teens and their quirky quarantine cuisines

Josh Hill, Staff Writer

Through the past two months since social distancing policies were enacted, people have struggled to maintain order in their chaotic daily lives. With nearly all restaurants closed, and trips to the supermarket proving tedious and risky, food has certainly become one of the most troublesome facets of life to regulate. Many people who are used to having a wide selection of ready made food to choose from are now having to make do at home with minimal supplies. Three Hollis Brookline Students in particular have come together to share their stories, and give you an inside look into the perilous dietary adventures of a typical teen in quarantine.

Before the coronavirus ravaged across the United States, Jack Duval ‘21 enjoyed a staple breakfast of waffles every morning, supplemented by eggs and occasional salads from the school cafeteria. However, with his daily routine disrupted by social distancing, his eating habits have begun to suffer.

One of Duval’s signature frozen pizzas moments before he digs in. He often experiments with different brands and toppings to make his meals a little more interesting. “Quarantine has made my diet worse overall… I’m eating a lot more chicken nuggets, fries, and frozen pizza and a lot less salad,” said Duval. (Jack Duval)

While Duval acknowledges that many people are struggling to maintain healthy diets during this time, he says there are a multitude of easy dishes that anyone can whip up, as long as they’re willing to put in the time. Specifically, he recommends eggs, especially scrambled, for beginner chefs, and hamburgers for newbies looking to put their culinary skills to the test.

Arjun Senthil ‘21 finds himself to be in a sustenance situation similar to that of Duval. Even before quarantine, Senthil found there were aspects of his diet that he strongly disliked. “For lunch at school, I usually have pizza, which I don’t like very much. so lunch is pretty awful,” said Senthil. He also had curry almost every night, although he’s never really had a problem with that. “Dinner is like ‘hmm, what curry am I having today? Is it cheese curry, or zucchini curry, or fish curry, or peanut curry?’… There’s a wide assortment of curries. What can I say, I’m Indian,” said Senthil.

Since social distancing began, Senthil has stopped eating breakfast entirely, and has started making barotas from scratch, which are a sort of flaky pancake that can be dipped in curry.

Senthil has started adding hot sauce to his curry and just about everything else he eats. With a rather limited diet in terms of individual foods, he’s doing whatever he can to spice up his meals. “My diet has grown worse as a result of quarantine, because when my mom’s too lazy to make food, she just orders dominos or chipotle,” said Senthil. (Arjun Senthil)
Despite his seemingly limited diet, Senthil says he’s not averse to branching out with his food choices, for he likes almost all fruits and vegetables. For example, Senthil finished off this entire watermelon by himself in just two days! For any readers looking to adapt their diets, Senthil advises, “I’d recommend inexperienced chefs try cooking cereal. Maybe grilled cereal, with milk.” (Arjun Senthil)

Clara Bronfine ‘21, a rising senior at HB, has had an entirely different experience with her diet amidst social distancing. Unlike Duval and Senthil, she believes the corona virus has actually led to a positive shift in her eating habits.“Now I have time to cook, so now I can cook healthy and delicious foods that I don’t usually have time to eat, like tacos and empanadas. Lot’s of actual meals, y’know, rather than random things that I’ve thrown together,” said Bronfine.

Bronfine loves Spanish cuisine, so she has gone to great lengths perfecting her favorite recipes, such as these cheesy empanadas she made from scratch. “I’m sure that if we had chips, I’d be eating chips, but we don’t have chips. It’s the same food in our house, it’s just now I have time to do things with it,” said Bronfine. (Clara Bronfine)
Though her diet may have improved overall, Bronfine certainly isn’t immune to the gluttoning gorging that has lended itself to other socially distanced individuals like Duval and Senthil, though she is careful to keep everything in moderation. In celebration of completing her AP Physics exam last Thursday, Bronfine indulged in a Frosty from Wendy’s. “Here’s something that I learned: putting your heat higher doesn’t make something cook faster, it just burns the outside but not the inside. That’s just some little physics for you,” Bronfine cautions. (Clara Bronfine)

While it’s necessary to maintain our social distancing during this pandemic, it’s also important that we don’t let our healthy habits at home devolve into overindulgence. Therefore, if there’s one tidbit of advice to glean from these teens’ narratives, it’s probably this: everything in moderation.