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Thursday, September 28, 2023

University of Florida students and Gainesville residents seeking comfort during this stressful time have taken to cooking and baking at home, documenting and sharing their efforts through social media. 

Vivian Nguyen, a 22-year-old recent UF graduate, has been sharing her recipes on Instagram stories @viv.nguyenn. 

“Cooking and baking has helped me pass time and keep busy, and also given me purpose,” Nguyen said. “It also allows me to be creative and gets me excited to try new things and be resourceful with the ingredients I have every day after working from home.”

Nguyen has made everything from crepes and brownies to mini pink heart protein beet waffles. She’s compiled her kitchen trials into a TikTok account, @viv.nguyennn, which she calls her “quarantine passion project.”

“So many people have asked for my healthy cooking tips and recipe tutorials that I’ve combined it with what’s popular in this time and made a TikTok,” Nguyen said.

Richard Forbes, a 19-year-old UF public relations senior, has shared his new recipe attempts on Twitter @Richard_Forbes_. He’s made a homemade pizza, garlic honey salmon, chicken parmesan and has also baked brownies, a cake and cupcakes.


Richard Forbes has shared his many recipe attempts, like this garlic honey salmon, with his followers via Twitter.  

“I’ve been trying to get inventive and use whatever’s in my fridge or in my cabinet,” Forbes said. “(Cooking) serves as a stress reliever, you know, just the same way people go outside or exercise.” 

Another student, Claire Hendrick, a 20-year-old UF international studies junior, has stepped up her baking game.

“Cooking and baking give me a hands-on, detail-oriented task that I have to dedicate attention to, which provides a great distraction from all the chaos,” Hendrick said. 

Hendrick experimented with making sourdough focaccia for the first time.


In order to distract herself from present circumstances, Claire Hendrick has started to polish her baking skills. 

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“I usually bake round country loaves, so working with the focaccia dough was definitely more difficult since it’s a lot stickier,” Hendrick said. “It tasted great, but it got stuck to the pan … not one of my finer moments, but I’m working with limited equipment since I moved back home to isolate.”

Editor’s note: Though spending more time in the kitchen can be a helpful release, it’s important to stay updated on the facts with COVID-19. Keep up to date with The Alligator’s COVID-19 coverage.

Contact Julia Collins at Follow Julia on Twitter @JuliaAnnCollins.  

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