My Quarantine Hobbies: Recovering, Cooking, Sexualizing Animal Crossing

Photo: Zoey Deutch

I had the coronavirus early on, before the shutdown, and a group of my friends also got it. People keep asking me, “Where did you get it?” and I wish I knew. I feel like I could have spoken in a more eloquent way about my experience had I known. I continued testing positive for a month, which is longer than they’re saying you’re supposed to. I’m okay now. I’m so grateful for my health and I also feel guilty, in a way, for making it out okay. I think this virus is bringing up so many conflicting emotions. I have to say I’m also so grateful for my inherent neuroses, which caused me to stay inside before I was supposed to. I’ve been quarantined longer than there was a mandated shut-in.

The reason I want to talk about it now is because it’s so important to wear masks. So many people don’t show symptoms, and my experience was that me and my friends who got it all had such drastically different symptoms. I had a sore throat and felt totally delirious, like I was losing my mind. It was different than the normal “me feeling like I’m losing my mind.” One of my friends only lost taste and smell. One went to the hospital with the “normal” symptoms, but another friend had absolutely no symptoms at all. I stayed inside for almost two months, and I still very minimally go out, with a mask.

I hate to sound like I’m trying to be preachy, but it’s so important to wear a mask when you go out, even if you think you’re okay and think you don’t have it or think it’s allergies. You just don’t know if you have it or not. I really want to be able to donate blood and get groceries for people who haven’t had it and be more of service than I have been able to. I am so lucky to be healthy, that I’m safe and not immunocompromised and have access to doctors; I am incredibly privileged. But not everyone shares that privilege — so we need to be extra careful for those who don’t by wearing masks.

Anyway. Nobody has reached out to me to ask how I’m doing in regards to my two crushes, Alison Roman and Chrissy Teigen, who are engaging in an internet fight. I’m not kidding when I say I am distraught over it. I am torn apart. My No. 1 ingredient is shallots and, same as Chrissy, whenever I see my shallots, I cry. My greatest passion in life is food and eating. I’ve always had those passions, but I didn’t really show the world until now, on my Instagram. I’m getting a lot of accusations, like, “Who’s cooking for you? Who did this?” Nobody is like, “Wow, beautiful work!” Nobody wants to believe it’s me. But that makes sense, because I can’t do anything, so they’re confused that I can do this. The other day, someone was like, “You know, Zoey, you don’t, like, ‘do things.’ You don’t like games or sports.” I was like, “Am I the most boring person in the world?” But yeah, I have nothing else except food and — sort of — acting.

Photo: Zoey Deutch/Copyright 2020. All rights reserved.

Right now, it’s a lot of pasta and a lot of stews. I’m quarantining alone with my dog, so I’m cooking it all for myself, which is really sad. I’ve done cacio e pepe a billion times. I’ve been doing a lot of fresh pomodoro sauce, because the simplest things can be the hardest to master. I’ve been watching Alice Waters’s MasterClass, which is like ASMR. Her voice is so soothing. I hate making dessert, so that’s been minimal. I’ve made Alison Roman’s crispy pork chops, which are so delicious, if you’re looking for something that’s the opposite of low-fat. I made a homemade Crunchwrap Supreme, which is very TikTok-famous, as I found out when I posted it. I did a yummy bolognese rigatoni. Yotam Ottolenghi is one of my favorite chefs, and he has a great chicken and parmesan soup with tagliatelle, but I did it with other noodles I had. I had a skirt steak with a sort of chimichurri thing that I tried to re-create from a restaurant in L.A. called Antico, and I didn’t re-create it, but it was still delicious. I found the most insane Bon Appétit recipe for roasted potatoes, where they’re crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. I made those one thousand times.

Photo: Zoey Deutch/Copyright 2020. All rights reserved.

I made a Mrs. Fields giant cookie, topped with Reese’s and chocolate chips, which was psychotic. I make a sausage skillet with broccolini. A lot of parmesan chicken cutlets and penne vodka. I did homemade pasta with vodka sauce, and it was not good — it really does need a penne. Wine-braised chicken with artichoke hearts. Chicken piccata is my all-time favorite. And any dish that I can find that uses only one pan, because I hate doing the dishes. And I hate wasting food; I want to use every last thing in my fridge.  So I love making soups, and I’ve been making a lot of stocks, experimenting with that. My kitchen is very small. I have no dishwasher, no cutting boards. I have one counter — smaller than a New York situation.

Animal Crossing has also been addictive right now, but I will say, it’s not The Sims. It’s great, but not the same. A huge part of the problem is that I can’t make the characters have sex. I loved Sims because I could create chaos amongst them, and you can’t do that on Animal Crossing. It needs the love tub — the hot tub in Sims where you can have sex. I also need incentive to bring other animals to my island. Otherwise, it’s like, “Why do I want to muddy up my beautiful island?” One time, I did all this work and I collected a ghost, and it was like, “Do you want something expensive or something you don’t have?” And I said, “Something I don’t have,” and it gave me a beach ball. After doing all of that work! I was so devastated and confused at the lack of awareness of the amount of work I did. The culture is out of control, but I’m contributing to it.

I’m also watching The Sopranos. I’m on season five, episode three. It’s so fucking good. Carmela is such a genius. She’s the fucking greatest. And I love when Tony is like, to A.J., “Be nice to your mother!” And you’re like, “Tony, I do love you for a reason.”

Trying to get my dog Maybelle to socially distance hang with a photo of a dog. She hasn’t been able to see her friends either. Photo: Zoey Deutch

One of my therapeutic outlets I’ve been missing, which I didn’t realize was such a factor in my life, is loudly singing in my car. Like, I’ll sing in my house or in my shower or whatever, like other people, but I also spent two hours a day screaming pop music in my car. And I genuinely think it’s affected my happiness that I haven’t been able to do it. I think I’ve cracked the code for why, when I’m on-location, I also feel sad. So the other day, I just sat in my car for two hours and sang really loudly.

I love straightforward pop music so much. I grew up in a family where our dog was named Duke, after Duke Ellington, so I would hide my love of pop music out of fear of seeming not cool. But I’ve embraced it. Ariana Grande is, honest to God, I’m so obsessed with her. I sit and watch YouTube videos of her for hours. Especially the old ones. God forbid she gets involved in the Alison Roman/Chrissy Teigen feud, I swear to God. All of my internet loves. It will be too crushing. She is one of the greatest singers of all time. But she’s also a comedic genius. From an actor’s standpoint — her physical comedy is incredible. She introduced me to my ex-boyfriend, actually, when I was a teenager. I knew her back in the Nickelodeon days. I can tell my grandchildren that.

Anyway, the singing made me realize how disgusting my car is. I got my Prius when I first started working; it’s the only real big purchase I’ve ever made. It has no hubcaps. There is what looks like vomit on the roof. Coffee everywhere. I’ve never taken my car to the car wash, actually. I’ve never really realized how bad it was until now, when I’m sitting in there, just singing. I also have a suitcase full of clothes from Buffaloed, which I wanted, and the costume designer shipped to me, and I’ve just kept it in my car for a really long time — weird, sweaty polyester tracksuits I wore in the dead of summer in Toronto.

So, yeah. We are all retirees. I’m like, “I just started a new puzzle, it’s 1,000 pieces.” I’m gonna not go clean my car.

Buffaloed, starring Deutch, premieres May 19 on VOD.

Zoey Deutch’s Quarantine Hobby: Cooking, Crying at Shallots