Anza home recipes help with quarantine food and fun shortages

Lori Jo Woods is making her signature hand-milled soaps with new patterns and ingredients. Anza Valley Outlook/Courtesy photo

The “stay at home” order, which Gov. Gavin Newsom issued Thursday, March 19, to protect the health and well-being of all Californians and to establish consistency across the state to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, is creating renewed interests in gardening, crafts and self-reliance.

Residents of Anza are no exception. Known for its resilient people, the Anza Valley is chock full of clever, thrifty, artistic and self-sufficient residents.

“We planted tobacco seeds, and we’re planting loofah sponges,” Joelle Budzynowski said. “We keep a white cotton washcloth with a few drops of bleach and a couple drops of detergent by the sink to wash our hands instead of using lots of wipes.”

With the future uncertain in these strange times, conservation of resources and planning for the coming weeks and months are very much on the minds of people in the Valley.

“I made curtains yesterday for my kitchen,” Cindy Watson said. “I am collecting seeds for a future garden. I ordered some heirloom vegetable varieties and also harvesting seed from vegetables and fruit, like tomatoes, chili pods, cantaloupe and bell peppers.”

The quarantine order has affected people that normally would be working every day. They continue to make the best of the circumstances.

“I am definitely growing lots of veggies, so I don’t have to buy those,” cosmetologist Justin Carter who is unable to work at this time said. “I’ve been making bread. I make my own lip and foot scrubs. I don’t measure it, but I mix water, sugar and aloe juice into a liquid paste and add a couple drops of lemon juice. Boom.”

Nail technician and beauty consultant Breana Schmidt is also having to adjust to not being able to work at her profession. She has reinvented herself, creating items so local women can still properly pamper themselves.

“I make sugar scrubs for face and full body with our local sage and rosemary, plus other natural ingredients,” she said.

Many people said they were worried, but a great majority were positive and confident that things will return to somewhat normal in a few weeks or months.

Teresa Miller has been cooking and crafting at home, producing homemade soaps, candles and pies.

“So on the whatever day of quarantine we’re on, I said, ‘let there be pie,’ and with the twitch of my finger and the help of the internet, there was enough pie to eat for the remainder of the quarantine,” she said, jokingly.

“This is Teresa’s version of preparing for the apocalypse,” her husband Randy Miller said.

Bartering is making a comeback as well, as residents with certain items, such as flour, yeast, toilet paper and wipes, trade with residents who need them. Social media boards are full of posts advertising items for barter and even free items available.

Lori Jo Wood has been making hand-milled soaps for many years, but during the outbreak, she has added a new twist – trading her scented bars for items she needs, such as coconut oil, and other materials for curing her soaps.

Diane Sieker can be reached by email at