My sincere apologies if the idea of cooking from the pantry — and the mere mention of beans — is already wearing on you. But though the days and hours seem to drift together, we’ve really only been at this stay-at-home, work-at-home thing for a week. (Or is it two?) And while I really hope some of you might be a in a place far, far away from the reach of coronavirus (Antarctica?), I also know that many of you are in New York and other places where venturing out is suddenly fraught.

Here on the Vineyard, our towns voted yesterday to adopt a strict “stay at home” order, so my mission is now clear: to make cooking with what’s on hand easier for folks. (Yes, we can still grocery shop, but the less frequently the better. More on that below.)

To that end, I’ve put together two things for you. The first is a Stuck-at-Home Bean Chili recipe based on pantry ingredients plus whatever meat you choose (hopefully from the freezer). The chili is plenty tasty for a starter recipe; my partner happily ate two variations of it over four nights. We particularly liked the chicken and white bean version. Leftovers of the ground beef and black bean chili made great burritos. Experienced cooks can noodle with this recipe, but it's also a good one to send to that 20-something child who suddenly has to use the kitchen in his apartment.

Susie Middleton

Secondly, I wrote a piece for you about my favorite pantry essentials. But instead of insisting that you go out and buy things, I’m suggesting that you might already have what you need to make delicious meals. Because flavor-boosters fall nicely into groups (acids, fats, sweets, salts, spices, umami condiments, etc.) — if you don’t have one, you can use another. Out of lemons? Use a dash of vinegar, juice from a pickle jar, or hot sauce. Read Your Pantry is Stocked with Hidden Flavor for more tricks and substitutions.

Susie Middleton

I also heard from cookbook author Cathy Walthers this week. She saw our post about pantry cooking on Instagram and offered to pass along some of her quarantine-cooking tips and some recipes. Thank you, Cathy!

Alison Shaw

For moms making lunch at home every day, she suggests Classic Tomato Soup (with grilled cheese, of course). For the rest of us, an easy Carrot-Ginger Soup, perhaps with Chickpea Burgers with Yogurt Sauce. Or the Asian Peanut Noodle Salad that she and her son (home from college) made together.

If you’d prefer a nice distracting baking project, don’t forget about our Baking Together recipes from baker Abby Dodge: cupcakes, pound cake, scones, cookies, and more.

Susie Middleton

Or you could have an all-hands on deck family pizza night. Or make these rustic tarts (sweet or savory).

Now about that grocery shopping. My advice is threefold: Keep a running list and limit trips to once a week, both to cut down on stress and to relieve pressure on the grocery stores. For the same reason, please don’t overbuy. Give the stores a chance to restock. (Check out Cronig's Steve Bernier answering questions about supplies on these videos.)

Jeanna Shepard

Lastly, if you’re on Island, consider doing some of your shopping at local farm stands. The Grey Barn has plenty of meat and cheese (above), as well as daily bread, and is open every day, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Ghost Island is open and well-stocked on the weekends. Both have new protocol in place for safer shopping. You can also find eggs on the porch of Morning Glory Farm, at North Tabor Farm, and Blackwater Farm.

Whether you’re here or there or anywhere, please check in with us if you have any cooking questions. We can’t see into the future, but we can see inside the pot, and those caramelizing onions look like comfort to us.