6 fixations getting us through isolation

The coronavirus has changed my kitchen. Though I’ve missed planning for dinner parties, having friends pop by for drinks, and hosting my neighbor for TV and pizza marathons, I’ve found a new kind of joy in repurposing my pantry and refrigerator for the long haul. Between stocking up on old favorites and new treasures, it’s been a fruitful time. Here are six staples I’ve been enjoying while in quarantine. 

Paltrinieri Radice Lambrusco di Sorbara
This effervescent Lambrusco from the Paltrinieri winery in central Italy is wonderful. With buoyant notes of citrus and grapefruit, it’s a great, sharp wine to sip on while cooking, eating or just chilling out on the patio with a good book. It gets me in the zone. I’ve been buying it with my wine orders from Little Fox’s market, which always has something fun and new to try. $19. Little Fox

Valentina Salsa Picante
In my opinion, this is the best mainstream grocery store hot sauce. I keep a 34 oz. bottle of it in my house at all times. It balances its chiles and vinegar super well, and has significantly less sodium than most hot sauces, which makes it a very refreshing addition to almost any appropriate food. The extra hot version is also good, but I stick with the OG for daily use. $3. Jay International Foods

Pastaria Birthday Cake 
I’ve never been a dessert person – usually, I’d rather have another slice of pizza when people start thinking about sweets. But I’ve picked up food from Pastaria a few times during quarantine and have been ordering their Birthday Cake, which for some reason I had never tried before. It is incredible. Like, it’s a perfect dessert. Madagascar vanilla beans, silky vanilla buttercream, crunchy shortbread cookie crumbles on top. Now I am sometimes a dessert person. $8. Pastaria 

Caputo ‘0’ Nuvola Super
It’s been hard to find flour around town. Even my local imported flour hookup is out of the stuff I like. But I’ve been making a lot of pizza, so I hollered at a friend who does the same to see what he’d been using. He had just bought a massive bag of Nuvola Super, a flour good for high hydration dough that’s just a little less refined than the ‘00’ flour I normally pick up. I’ve been enjoying experimenting with it ever since – it’s good on its own, but cut with something a little denser, it makes a very fine slice. 5-pound sack: $19. Amazon

Diet A&W Root Beer 
I drank a lot of soda as a kid, but then I gave it up. I didn’t keep it at home or order it for over a decade. But when I started working at Sauce, there was always soda around, so before I knew it, I had become accustomed to a new after-lunch treat: an ice cold Coke Zero. After about six weeks of quarantine, the soda wall came down yet again, but now it’s root beer. It takes me back to childhood, I guess. I mean, what’s better than root beer? Nothing! $5. Available almost anywhere that sells soda

Tutto Calabria Crushed Calabrian Chili Peppers 
These are just awesome. They’re real-deal Calabrian chiles, and they’re crushed to save you having to cut up whole peppers, which usually come packed in oil and make a big mess when you prep them. You may prefer cutting whole peppers for the texture or aesthetic of your pizza, but give these a try – they taste great and the spice really hits. I picked them up on a recommendation from our art director, Meera Nagarajan, and do not foresee a time when I won’t have a jar in my apartment. 10-ounce jar: $13. Amazon