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The Top 5 Lockdown Dinner Recipes for When You Have Zero Food

Five divine dinner ideas fit for our times...
2022-04-19 20:00:00

My friends, if there's one thing that weeks and weeks (and weeks) of lockdown has taught us, it's how to get creative in the kitchen. Greeting each bright new morning with the invigorating constant struggle of trying to order food on supermarket apps only to get shafted once again has really opened our eyes up to lots of exiting newpossibilities and flavor combinations when it comes to throwing a meal together.

Really feeling some great energy, here. It's been a blast!

If you've been looking for some everyday inspiration in the kitchen but are running up against the wall of having absolutely nothing of nutritional or even caloric value in your pantry at all, read on. SmartShanghai has you covered with our five favorite lockdown dinner recipes for when you have zero food, like for real.

These luscious lockdown feasts will have your tastebuds singing freedom, and the best part is you don't need any skills in the kitchen to do these — or even any actual food!

Aprons on!

Lockdown Recipe #1: "Freezer Ice Shavings with PS4 Cartridges"

Prep time: 12 mins

-Freezer Ice Shavings
-PS4 Cartridges

Here's an easy peasy lemon squeezy summer recipe you can throw together in just 15 minutes after getting home from a long hard day of sitting on your couch watching YouTube videos and not showering.

Using common household ingredients in a heavenly new twist, "Freezer Ice Shavings with PS4 Cartridges", is a lively but casual warm weather favorite, great for entertaining guests, which will only be you probably forever.

The beauty of "Ice Freezer Shavings with PS4 Cartridges" is that it's entirely customizable to your own tastes. Here, we're doing a playful zombie-themed flourish, using cartridges from "The Last of Us" and "The Last of Us Part II" — but feel free to substitute any of the classic PS4 cartridges you're craving.

Seconds anyone?


Lockdown Recipe #2: "That TCM Thing They Gave Us and My Bali Vacation Tickets, Shredded"

Prep-time:7 mins

-(1) box of whatever those things are
-(1) non-refundable economy class flight ticket to Bali, shredded

Aww, kale yeah!

...Is what we would be saying if we had any kale.

But we found a great kale substitute — and a substitute for all other foods — with this box of that TCM medicine stuff that they gave us, like, I dunno, am I supposed to take this now? Or if I get sick? No one knows, man. WTF.

Garnishing it out, for this zero-cal meal, we sourced some great farm-to-table plane tickets for my vacation to Bali that I'm not going on, that are absolutely exquisite and totally non-refundable. This toothsome salad-ish recipe will absolutely "wow" you with its subtle flavor combinations. Everything here comes through here: The minty-ness of the TCM medicine is nicely balanced out by the natural, mild sweetness of these plane tickets, which I will not be getting a refund on.

Perfect for people who have spent all day thinking about whether or not to even really bother changing their underwear, like whatever.


Lockdown Recipe #3: "That Potato I Fucked Up Like 4 Days Ago But Kept Around Because You Never Know"

Prep-time: 1 minute

-Your last potato
-Your last everything else (optional)

Finally, a slow cooked dish that lives up to its name. Lovingly repurposed from this really dumb idea I had to make my own barbecue chips, "That Potato I Fucked Up Like 4 Days Ago But Kept Around Because You Never Know" finds new life as something I just gotta eat now because... well, now I know!

We're kicking it up a bit here, keeping it light and funky with a McDonald's ketchup packet that's been sitting in my fridge since 2007 and that Kedi Mart Soju that the people who had my apartment before me left behind.

It's a smart combination of flavors. One element is never upstaging another others here. Really vibrant. Tastes like... summer in a bowl.


That's the beauty of cooking. That's the joy. There are no wrong answers.

***looks out window***



Lockdown Recipe #4: "Lying Under the Coffee Table Scratching ‘LET ME OUT' into the Wood and Letting the Shavings Fall into Your Mouth"

Prep time: 7 minutes

-Coffee table
-a deep and shockingly affecting existential crisis
-rug (optional)

Quick shout out to the new SmartShanghai photographer, "Alamy"!

Don't know what happened to the other guy?


Oh, here we go. Your favorite weeknight activity just took on a whole new, heartier format.

"Lying Under the Coffee Table Scratching ‘LET ME OUT' into the Wood and Letting the Shavings Fall into Your Mouth" offers a delightfully charred experience — juicy — and full of nuance.

This one's really simple to put together even if you're all thumbs in the kitchen. Because the prep work is mainly done in the living room or whatever room that has a coffee table in it that you feel comfortable pulling off a total and very righteous meltdown in.

Trust me. It's so worth it.

Plating suggestions: If you wanted to dress it up a bit we suggest wearing sunglasses and crying softly. Oh, and pro tip...

...go ahead and put on some Billy Joel. And turn it all the way up.

You're going to want to stew in your rage and frustration and really let your complete mental collapse simmer to the top. That's when you want to turn on the Billy Joel -- right there. And then turn it all the way up.


Lockdown Recipe #5: "Your Hopes and Dreams: Skewered, Fricasseed, and Barbecued"

Prep time: Ongoing... I guess?

-Everything... Just evertying.

You know the drill. There's nothing we like more than a classic outdoor barbecue in the summer breeze —- mmmm, that sizzle! — using use our plans, aspirations, hopes, and dreams as kindling. Pass the 'slaw!

This one's more of a potluck event. This one's all about you, my friends! What are you bringing to the BBQ 2022? Gym passes? Concert tickets? Something wonderful and life-affirming you were thinking of undertaking in the next little while?

Let's light it up!

You know what? Life's too short to eat poorly. And why let a little thing like the total collapse of society prevent you from expressing yourself on the dinner plate!

The end!

Happy dining, Shanghai!

hey, just kidding! We're all going to be more or less okay! Should be any day now right?


(But in all honesty, I do have a pretty great and sincere BBQ tofu recipe that I don't mind sharing if that piques anyone's interest...)