• Leila Roker

What I’m Doing (And Eating) During Mandatory Confinement

Updated: Apr 24

French President Macron announced on Monday, March 16 at 8 PM that he will begin enacting mandatory confinement starting Tuesday, March 17 at noon. The confinement mandates that everyone in France must stay home, and can only leave for mandatory reasons. These include: groceries, pharmaceutical reasons, to get medical help, or a small amount of solo exercise. To do so, one must carry an “Attestation De Déplacement Dérogatoire”. Another viable source of proof is a signed letter from your employer requiring you to go to work.

This mandate came after a record number of Parisians flocked to the public parks after the announcement that restaurants and bars would be closing. Macron stated in his most recent address that not enough people followed orders to minimize contact, and some restaurants stayed open. In efforts to prevent contact less than 1 meter. He explained that “we have to be more disciplined”. Gatherings among friends and family are no longer permitted. For the next 13 days, police will be patrolling the streets, asking for residents’ attestation papers. Failure to have one can result in a fine of €38.

So, that leaves me in my studio with nothing but time on my hands. Before the mandatory confinement, I made sure to stock up on snacks, non-perishables and a fair amount of proteins. I’ve also gotten creative with a few time-killers, exercise recommendations and recipes. So, if you’re looking for some easy pandemic recipes and activities keep scrolling!


This is a great breakfast and helps you feel like you’re a little more “in control” starting your day.

1 Banana

Handful of Spinach

2 Dates

Sprinkle of cinnamon

1-2 cups of Almond Milk



I actually found this recipe on my trip to Tunisia. Tuna, harissa, and bread is an easy, cheap meal for many of the locals. They often pair it with olives. But this is a good lunch or snack that has protein and a bit of a kick with the harissa spice. The Harissa I use is Phare du Cap Bon. It typically sells for around 50 cents. You can use any kind of canned tuna. I use about half a can and then dab harissa to taste and mix it with a spoon.


I used Arrabiata sauce, but regular tomato sauce will do. I also added an eggplant because I didn’t want it to go bad in my fridge. You can substitute any veggie to throw in there.

First, cook your sausages a bit (I chose chicken because I don’t eat red meat) on medium heat. And then put them to the side for later. Then add oil, minced garlic and your veggie. Put it on medium-low heat until the veggie’s soft. While you’re sautéeing, begin boiling your pasta. When the veggie’s soft enough, add your tomato sauce with a bit of water. Add salt, pepper, and a sprinkle of sugar to give it a sweet and spicy flavor. Let this cook on low heat.

While that’s cooking down, cut your sausages into small pieces, and wait til your pasta’s ready. Add the sausage to the tomato sauce and stir on low heat.

Drain your pasta, and add to the tomato sauce. Keep on very low heat and stir until all the pasta is coated with sauce. Then you’re ready to go!


Since there’s no takeout, I found an inventive way to satisfy my Chinese food cravings.



Soy Sauce

Chicken Cutlet




In a bowl, stir together ¼ cup of soy sauce, 2 tablespoons of honey, minced garlic, and a sprinkle of chili flakes. Pour that in a plastic back and add your chicken cutlets (I cut mine so they’re smaller). Let that marinate for an hour or overnight.

Cut broccoli so it’s ready to be steamed. I steam my broccoli for 7 minutes. Then prepare rice. Take out your chicken and place the chicken in a sautée pan, don’t discard the leftover sauce. Keep it for later. Cook chicken on medium heat until firm, cut a piece to make sure it’s fully cooked.

When broccoli and rice are done, plate and add chicken. Pour the leftover sauce in the sauté pan on medium heat, add flour and gently stir. When it begins bubbling, pour over chicken as desired.

Then it’s ready to eat!


This recipe can feed two! All you need is 2 eggs and a can of lentils. I added truffle oil to spice it up a bit.

Boil two eggs, and let them cool. While letting the eggs cool, take a pan and add olive oil or truffle oil. Put it on medium heat. When the pan is hot, add lentils. Add salt, pepper, and a dash of chicken stock if you have that handy. Bring the heat to low, and add a lid to let cook. After 10 minutes, uncover and stir. Taste and add additional spice to your liking.

Peel eggs, transfer the lentils to a plate and put an egg on top. Voila!



If you have a mat handy, find a space in your apartment or living area and try to make it your own. Add a candle, or if you have an essential oil diffuser, use that. There are plenty of YouTube videos with simple guided flows. Some are as short as 30 minutes for a lunch break, or a quick way to start your day. I’ve added one below. Don’t be intimidated, and find what works for you. Even if that’s some stretches, push-ups or squats.


There are also plenty of free circuit workouts out there. Google the area you want to target and ‘workout’ and you’ll find plenty!


I recently downloaded the app ‘Calm’, it offers guided meditation and even methods to help you fall asleep. It’s subscription-based, but in this time of craziness, $5.99 a month may be worth it to keep you centered.


With all the craziness going on in the world, I've been opting for more comedies as of late. If you're looking for a light-hearted romantic comedy, I Am Not An Easy Man (Je Ne Suis Pas Un Homme Facile as its original title) is the right movie for you. It's a French film that ponders about what things would be like if gender roles were reversed.

The main character, Damien, is a player, that is an all-around dog towards women. One day he hits his head on a pole, and suddenly he finds himself in an opposite world, where women have the upper hand. It's not exactly a movie that will have you in deep thought, but it's a good movie to curl up on the couch with a glass of wine and suspend disbelief.

With these time-killing recommendations aside, it’s important to keep in mind this change of pace in life is temporary. Life will eventually resume as usual. I hope everyone takes this time to concentrate on what matters and loved ones. Also, make sure to check on those people in your life that this may be taking an extra toll on. If you’re missing happy hour with friends, maybe try and do it over FaceTime. We have so many forms of social media at our fingertips, so try and use it to stay connected!


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© 2020 by Leila Roker.

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