Comfort food in the time of quarantine

Taken before social-distancing: Connie (on left):“I don’t normally wear a chef jacket at Tuck Shop but got to do a fun pop up with Chef Laurie”

Food is a cornerstone of the Dropbox culture — we gather around it, celebrate with snacks, or plan our days based on our favorite Tuck Shop (this is what we call our global cafes) meals. However, since we’ve been working from home, staying connected through food has been a bit more challenging. Through the magic (and kindness) of our chefs across the globe, Connie Collica, Senior Food and Beverage Operations Manager for the Tuck Shop, has been sharing recipes with Dropboxers on a newly created slack channel #foodathome to help pass the time.

“Once we got word that we would be working from home, our Tuck Shop team got a little restless!” said Connie. “We work with our hands in order to feel productive. Being in front of a laptop all day isn’t natural, so to help the team stay engaged, we started gathering recipes of some of our favorites. We have a folder full of them.”

The recipes that have received the most traction on Slack? Comfort food.

Left: Employee photo shared on Slack after making the Carbonara recipe; Middle: An olive oil yogurt cake; Right: Caramelized onions and sausage pizza

In these uncertain times, people tend to turn to the things that make them feel the most comfortable, but Connie thinks it’s more than that. “Comfort food means different things to different people, but one of the common themes is a sense of nostalgia. The chefs always talk about food they love because of experiences they had with them,” she said. She then told a story of how Chef Yanes’ favorite foods to make and share at HQ’s Mexican station are the ones that he ran home to eat after school — the ones made by his mom and grandmother.

“Like many of our chefs, he cooks from his memories.”

What she appreciates so much about working on this project is getting the chance to get to know our chefs even better. “Some of them are new parents who are beginning to cook with their kids for the first time, so you’ll even see a few recipes on our list that are easy to make with your family and allow you to hide a few vegetables!”

Left: Recipe posted to #thefoodathome channel; Right: Executive Chef Anthony Ippolito on how he cooks with his kids, and shared the Lasagna recipe

Most importantly, the key to great food is keeping things creative. Some assume comfort food has to be heavy and rich, but it’s what we make it. All food can actually be comfort food if you put a little bit of yourself in there. Connie suggests using flavors you already enjoy to create something new. For example, don’t like spicy food, but looking for a similar flavor? Use cumin instead! It’s a little more forgiving as a spice.

Connie said, “Food gives us a sense of security. It tells us that everything is going to be okay. I always find cooking is an important part of self care and being able to nourish your loved ones can be a powerful way to comfort them in times of crisis. We at least hope some of these recipes will remind you of the people who are most important to you and help us stay connected.”

Left: Completed kombucha; Right: Baby scoby (the cloudy layer of yeast & bacteria that form at the top of brewing kombucha)

This piece was originally written for the internal Dropbox intranet, by Taylor Robinson

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