The Indian government ordered the lockdown and our plans went a little haywire. While we quickly adapted to an indoors lifestyle considering the gravity of the situation, our core home strength was taken away. For all Indian households, domestic help is a vital part of the team. For most of us, a domestic helper is a part of our family and we rely a lot on them for a variety of chores.
Covid-19 has put a lakshmanrekha at our doors and we all are missing the invaluable domestic help we are used to. From dusting to mopping and washing utensils to shopping, everyone is busy with household chores. And those juggling work from home and these responsibilities are stretched really thin.
So what can we do to make our lives a little easier and ease this burden of added housework?
Here are a few tips to juggle everything when the domestic help is unavailable:
1. Stock up on the few essentials like grains, lentils, spices and staples like onions. potatoes and tomatoes. These are versatile ingredients that can be cooked in many different ways.
2. Working from home might leave you with no time to wash your utensils during the day. Just soak them in warm, soapy water. This will make it easier to wash them later.
3. Stick to one-pot recipes and restrict the number of utensils you use. Boil pasta or noodles in one go and store it for further use. This will help you clean up way quicker. Additionally, these kitchen hacks and recipes that ensure limited use of groceries can surely help you survive this lockdown.
4. Cut, peel and wash the veggies all at once. Use a newspaper under the cutting board to collect the waste. It will help minimise the mess as well as the clean-up time.
5. Store veggies in airtight containers. For coriander, use paper napkins to prevent them from moulding. This tip will surely cut down your meal prep time.
6. If you absolutely have to make chapatis or rotis every single day, make the dough, refrigerate it and use a portion when needed. This limits the number of utensils used and therefore cutting back on your wash-up time as well.
7. Do you know something basic that changes a dish instantly? It’s ginger-garlic paste. Make some and store it in the refrigerator.
8. If you are running out of milk, it’s time to try diluted condensed milk. Adding cream to your tea and coffee is common in the US and you can use this tip during the lockdown. Make sure you whip the cream before adding it to your beverage.
9. For those with a sweet tooth, grab that chocolate spread in your fridge. You can make a variety of quick, microwavable recipes. You can jazz up a plain bowl of ice cream with some melted chocolate spread.
10. Dessert doesn’t have to be fancy and you can include easily available ingredients like honey, cinnamon and sugar syrup. Shahi Tudka is a great example of a recipe that requires minimal ingredients and tastes amazing.
11. For your mid-afternoon and evening hunger pangs, make some namkeen or chivda at home. This is something that can be stored for days. Add some diced onions, tomatoes and coriander to this and make it a hearty meal.
12. Cook for a couple of days at once. Chapatis and rice last a long time and can be used in a variety of different ways. Leftover rice with tadka and frankie made with chapati taste delicious.
13. Cook lentils and beans like rajma and chole. These can be used for different recipes and they are a high source of protein. Store them neatly and use them for subzis, burrito bowls, stews and so much more.
14. If you are running out of a surface cleaning liquid, dilute dish soap with water. Spray this on surfaces that need a good clean-up.
15. It’s time to open up that stock of tea bags you have stored. Using tea bags results in zero utensils that need to be washed. Plus, the flavoured tea bags cut back ingredients like lemon and ginger from your pantry.
16. Buy oats and instant food packages. Oats can be eaten in a lot of ways and instant food ensures you have minimum utensils to clean.
17. Make dusting and mopping fun. Pun on some music and dance away while to make your house, spick and span.
18. Allot a day, preferably during the weekend, to do your laundry. This means that you won’t have to run around looking for fresh clothes during the day. This especially is useful if your work requires you to do video calls.
19. Use cloth napkins instead of paper towels to clean the kitchen. These cloth napkins can be washed and reused for a long time.
20. Call your local grocery store or take the help of volunteers to bring you some groceries. This helps maintain social distancing and you don’t need to go on an adventure in the search of vegetables and groceries.
The absence of domestic help can be a huge hindrance for senior citizens or people with disabilities. Offer help if you have such neighbours after making sure you take all the necessary precautions. Take this up as a great learning opportunity and learn a few new basic skills. Remember, these simple do’s and don’ts of the lockdown will help you immensely with your daily activities.