Create a family plan for the coronavirus crisis

By Angela Shelf Medearis

Roasted tomato soup cooked with organic heirloom tomatoes and served with grilled cheese sandwich. (PHOTO CREDIT: Depositphotos)

KITCHEN DIVA:  Like many families, we’ve been trying to process all of the information about the coronavirus outbreak and stay in good health. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website ( contains guidelines and information to help your family through these tumultuous times. Here are some guidelines from the CDC:



The coronavirus outbreak could last for a long time in your community. Depending on its severity, public health officials may act to help keep people healthy, reduce exposures to COVID-19 and slow the spread of the virus. Creating a household plan can help protect your health and the health of those you care about. Your plan should be based on the needs and daily routine of your household.


Practice everyday preventive action that can help prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses:

— Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

— Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care.

— Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue.

— Clean frequently touched surfaces and objects using a regular household detergent and water.

— Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.


Choose a room in your home that can be used to separate sick household members from those who are healthy (if possible).

Avoid sharing personal items like food and drinks. Provide your sick household member with clean disposable facemasks to wear at home. Clean the sick room and bathroom, as needed, to avoid unnecessary contact with the sick person. Learn more about caring for someone with COVID-19 at home at the CDC’s coronavirus website.


Plan ways to care for those who might be at greater risk for serious complications.

Data suggests older people are more likely to have serious COVID-19 illness. If you or your household members are at increased risk for coronavirus complications, consult with your health care provider for more information about monitoring for symptoms suggestive of COVID-19. The CDC will recommend actions to help keep people at high risk for complications healthy if a coronavirus outbreak occurs in your community.


Take care of the emotional health of your household members.

Outbreaks can be stressful for adults and children. Children respond differently than adults to stressful situations. Talk with your children about the outbreak, try to stay calm, and reassure them that they are safe.

Create an emergency contact list.

Ensure your household has a current list of emergency contacts for family, friends, neighbors and teachers. Create a list of local organizations that you and your household can contact in the event you need help, including mental health or counseling services, food and other supplies.

Here’s a comforting recipe for Roasted Tomato Soup that uses canned goods and pantry items to create a delicious meal. During these challenging days, try to stay calm, take care of yourself and your loved ones, and remember, by the grace of God this too shall pass.



After roasting the tomatoes, you can coarsely chop them to use as a sauce for pasta dishes instead of blending them into a soup.

2 (28-ounce) cans peeled whole tomatoes, drained, halved and seeded (such as Muir Glen, Hunt’s, Contadina or Red Pack)

14 large fresh basil leaves, torn or 2 tablespoons Italian Seasoning

1/2 medium onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice

5 large cloves garlic, coarsely chopped or 1 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 cup olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves or nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes


  1. Heat oven to 300 F. Spread out the tomatoes, basil, onion and garlic cloves in a large shallow pan with sides. Sprinkle with the oil and the spices, turning to coat the tomatoes evenly.
  2. Bake 2 1/4 to 2 1/2 hours, basting and turning the tomatoes several times, until their color deepens to dark red. Don’t let them brown; nor allow the garlic to brown, it will turn bitter.
  3. Transfer the tomatoes and their juice, the oil, garlic and onions into a blender or the bowl of a food processor. Blend until smooth. Or mash the ingredients with a potato masher until smooth. Allow tomatoes to sit for 20-30-minutes to mellow.
  4. Reheat soup on the stove or in a microwavable bowl for 2-3 minutes. You can freeze this soup for up to 3 months. Serves 4-6.


Angela Shelf Medearis is an award-winning children’s author, culinary historian and the author of seven cookbooks. Her new cookbook is “The Kitchen Diva’s Diabetic Cookbook.” Her website is To see how-to videos, recipes and much, much more, Like Angela Shelf Medearis, The Kitchen Diva! on Facebook. Recipes may not be reprinted without permission from Angela Shelf Medearis.


© 2020 King Features Synd., Inc., and Angela Shelf Medearis