David Siegel, a dietitian who lives with his wife and 5-year-old son in a railroad-style apartment in Brooklyn, has begun an online chat about aquaponics. Mr. Siegel, 40, got a fish tank at home a year ago, both of them having something beautiful to look at and to fertilize plants and vegetables. He initially tried tropical fish because of their bright colors, but found them too difficult to care for. Now he has goldfish in a 20 gallon tank in the apartment’s central room, pumping nutrient-rich water into the multitier system above with lettuce, basil, parsley, and arugula.
Mr. Siegel said that he did not grow enough food to feed his family, but because he had reduced trips to the shop, fresh vegetables had made the food tastier. “We say, with the tongue on the cheek, that this is a pandemic hobby,” he said. “But right now we are hoarding frozen and canned goods and dry goods, and we can add, especially with herbs. It adds to the freshness that is very much needed in our food. “
For some people, the pandemic has added a new closeness to old hobbies. Stephanie Gravalese, a freelance writer in Del Mar, N.Y., is quarantining her partner, Max Clement, who cannot compromise with immunity and does not leave home. Mr. Clement, 32, always tries to make cakes. Now he makes sourdough bread every day to share with friends who have lost their jobs. The couple also produces homemade vinegar, pasta, ricotta and liquor, which they mostly sell for other items. The couple’s front porch has become a contact-free exchange zone, where they display their creations for local bread makers and farmers, who in turn leave their fresh meat, raspberry bars, and lemon bread.
“Making bread, and creating anything we can share is creating a community for us today,” Ms. Gravalese, 36, said. “It also turns the kitchen into a very special place for us. Today, the center of our life is in the kitchen. “
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