Assorted Articles about Covid-19 and Food

I keep coming across pieces related to the novel coronavirus/Covid-19 that are at least tangentially related to food. Figured a thread dedicated to such would be appropriate.

Please add additional links as you find them!

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Grace Dent is one of the reviewers for The Guardian; I found this piece to be poignant (and, as we are shopping for some self-isolating friends/neighbors, I can identify with the discomfort of being privy to how others really eat - I shudder to think of what I’d put on my list, knowing others would see it).

"Seven hundred people died in Italy today, another window on my laptop says. A whole generation is fading. “Don’t worry, they were probably all auld bodies,” mother says. “It’s done a lot of us buggers a favour.” I check out her order quickly, adding some Cornettos, which we used to eat together in the 1970s when the ice-cream van came before Corrie. My order being accepted is a tiny glint of positivity in what has been a very odd day.

Millions will be in my position right now, choosing groceries for the isolated. It’s a delicate process. What we eat at home, behind closed doors, is personal. Our secret snacky peccadilloes do not bear scrutiny. When I was young enough to work at the Guardian Guide, we once covered our go-to TV dinners; my love of cheap tinned soup with marge-slathered Ryvita and mini pickled onions was shameful to admit.

Similarly, it takes days of gentle questioning to reveal the things the isolated actually want, once they’ve got over refusing help or being grateful. “A jar of beetroot, sliced, not whole,” she says eventually. “Some microwave meals for the freezer, but none with fish. Heinz chicken noodle soup, but not cream of chicken.” “No fish,” I write on my whiteboard, where, via columns of to-do lists, I aim to ride out this planetary blip."

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This is poignant, as well.

"I am writing to you from Italy, which means I am writing from your future. We are now where you will be in a few days. The epidemic’s charts show us all entwined in a parallel dance.

We are but a few steps ahead of you in the path of time, just like Wuhan was a few weeks ahead of us. We watch you as you behave just as we did. You hold the same arguments we did until a short time ago, between those who still say “it’s only a flu, why all the fuss?” and those who have already understood.

As we watch you from here, from your future, we know that many of you, as you were told to lock yourselves up into your homes, quoted Orwell, some even Hobbes. But soon you’ll be too busy for that.

First of all, you’ll eat. Not just because it will be one of the few last things that you can still do."

Unsure how I feel about David Chang after reading this: I appreciate his blunt honesty, but wince at how he speaks of his staff - there is concern, but at the same time I found myself thinking, “What are you doing for them now? Why don’t they have health insurance? Why don’t they have money for food?”

Anyway …
“I’m not being hyperbolic in any way: Without government intervention, there will be no service industry whatsoever. There’s so many people that work for me whom I am incredibly concerned about. Where are they going to get their next meal? Do they have health care coverage? How are they going to pay their bills?”

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I like him for a lot of reasons but the above quote is why I couldn’t read the article and kind of left off with his podcast. It’s hard to find him not speaking in hyperbole and that makes it difficult to anchor a lot of his statements in objective context.

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Chang does offer health insurance. Or at least he did before this shutdown. Most chefs can’t afford this right now.

I’m really happy he’s being so blunt. As fucked up as it is, it’s the truth. I’m a nobody but I worked for chefs who were somebodies. No one knows how to navigate this situation. The restaurant industry truly cannot survive it, especially if there might be another lockdown when wave two of coronavirus comes back.

“What’s getting missed here is that just because we shut down, doesn’t mean we stop paying. We already provide healthcare for all employees 25 hours or more a week. Given all of that and looking at our projections until the end of May, that’ll be $250K in the hole. If this ordinance goes through, every independent business in this city whether a restaurant or bar will be affected, but at that cost employees won’t have a job to come back to. You want to see record unemployment, this is the way to do it.”
Lincoln Carson, Bon Temps (This ordinance was amended to be more realistic, by the way. As harsh as “more realistic” sounds.)

Krissy Lefebvre spoke about going from 90 employees to 3

Josef Centeno shut all four of his restaurants and is currently fundraising to pay for employee healthcare.

“We’ll be completely out of money in like a week and a half,” he said. "I’m mentally preparing to pretty much lose everything.”

(I would give you both hearts but I wanted to see how many I could give over the past day and discourse won’t let me heart anything else for 13 hours.)

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Yes, Momofuku offers full benefits if you work there. I know people who wanted to work there due to this.

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We’ve already got a lot of discussion about how the pandemic is affecting restaurants here:

The reality of what the Uber Eats/Grubhub/Postmates/DoorDash delivery people are experiencing in NYC:

The takeaway: don’t use the delivery apps - if you can, do your own pick-up and save the restaurant some money.

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"Allison Robicelli, staff writer at The Takeout
What to cook: Guys, I’m struggling to muster the energy to cook. There were two days when we ate nothing but bologna, cheese, and potato chips. We didn’t even use bread or a plate—we just left the bologna and cheese in their packaging, then spent the day lying on the couch watching CNN and stuffing our faces with bologna rolls. I want to drown myself in pudding and cry big fat tears containing 40 percent milk fat. I want to scoop peanut butter out of the jar with bars of milk chocolate and eat them in the shower. I want to eat pie directly from the pan and drink half-and-half straight from the carton.

When I am getting up to cook, I’m going full Robicelli. Been sketching out a lot of batshit comfort foods that I want to eat to keep me occupied and kill me with cream. I’m not worried about my weight, my cholesterol, or anything, because what’s the fucking point? I’ll think about all that shit again once this nightmare is over. I’m working on some banana cream pie eclairs for The Takeout right now. I’m cooking with a lot of schmaltz. I wrote this recipe last week, which is crazy good and very useful, because hot doughnuts really are one of nature’s greatest painkillers.

Right now, my cooking is partially driven by my horrible, self-destructive impulses and by whatever groceries I can actually get. I’m not planning anything because who knows what the fuck is going to happen? I’m just hoping to get to tomorrow and hoping I snap out of this shit soon, because there are so many people who need help, and I need to do something about it."

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If you have the ability, please, please donate to food banks and other organizations: the situation is bad now and it’s only going to get worse.

http://www.cafoodbanks.org/

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In addition to supporting food banks, you can also support organizations like Frontline Foods with their “COVID Clinician Meal Support Program” (and if you’re a restaurant owner or a hospital worker, you can register to donate or request meals).

Los Angeles participating restaurants:
Osteria La Buca
Great White
Highly Likely
Kismet
Little Prince
The Nice Guy
Rockenwagner
Stella Barra
The Rose Venice
Fundamental
Elephante
Little Ruby
Redbird
Milo + Olive
Employees Only

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More information on food bank shortages, this time in Washington state.

Unless CNN was running a Bourdain marathon, what the fuck, lady? Watching TV news is a mistake in the best of times.

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Really big grin I completely agree, @robert (and would be thrilled to watch a Bourdain marathon right about now!) - that was actually a quote from the linked article.

(As cord cutters, we don’t have CNN, MSNBC, etc. Instead, we get our news from PBS, NPR, and mainstream-ish news organizations.)

Right, I knew it was a quote.

I didn’t realize CNN was one of those cable-only networks. I stopped watching TV news decades ago, after I realized that the business model was for the news to give you a headache or upset stomach so you’d buy the sponsors’ products. I get my news from reading and John Oliver.

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I think it’s good to have a balance of news from all viewpoints, and to go in with a strong filter using your own judgement to consider what might be true or false.

Tv was originally created, just to sell advertising. Things like CNN, Msnbc, Foxnews, etc… They’re all trying to get you to buy products using scare tactics. They also report so many conflicting stories, that it’s not longer possible to gauge an accurate assessment of the situation. I also dislike how they’re too entirely supportive of one political party and whatnot, and it skews what would otherwise be impartial journalism.

The most unfortunate part of all this, is the viewer at home, so many of them are driven by fear/emotion, that they’ll believe anything hook line and sinker. Then when they hear something in contrast come up, they’ll confront/attack anyone else who has opposing viewpoints.

So I like to go into an article online about Covid with an open mind, and not make immediate conclusions based upon what some guy trying to clickbait from a clever headline says.

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Fuck covid. I’m so sick of the shit already
Everybody has a opinion. Don’t you start this fucking crap which goes round and and round . Bottom line . Use your best judgment.