I forgot a major piece of advice when I wrote last night: TIP AS GENEROUSLY AS YOU CAN! Once restaurants and bars are forced to close, our extra dollars now will be meaningful later. Not to mention the fact that restaurant workers are particularly vulnerable right now while they interact with guests as safely as possible and continue to provide the best hospitality that they can.
One reader wrote in asking about food safety. Scientists are saying that there’s a very slim chance the virus will be present in food, especially cooked foods. As Becky Krstyal reports in the Washington Post, we should be practicing the food hygiene advice we’ve always known, including washing your hands before eating, washing your produce, keeping your kitchen clean, and cooking food to the proper temperature.
If you’re ordering delivery, take any extra measures that’ll make you feel safe, such as requesting that your food be dropped at your front door and leaving out a cash tip for your delivery person or adding it digitally within whatever app you’re using.
Here’s Peter Meehan for the LA Times sourcing advice on how we should think about eating in the time of coronavirus. This is another great piece from Amanda Null in The Atlantic on How You Should Get Food During the Pandemic.
The places people order from make a difference too. A local restaurant is a better choice than a start-up that sends gig workers with no health-care benefits into crowded big-box grocery stores to fight over dried beans on your behalf. The restaurant delivery person interacts with fewer people, lessening his or her individual risk, and the money you pay for the food goes toward keeping a restaurant’s staff employed through a crisis.
More Ways to Help
Service Workers Coalition
A group of employees from Andrew Tarlow’s restaurant group founded the Service Worker’s Coalition to encourage patrons to “spare your money, time, and/or resources to soften the blow for Brooklyn’s service workers who are staying home because they are sick or quarantined.” Donate on Venmo to @bkservicecoalition or email email@example.com to find out how to help.
Food Pantries & Hunger-Fighting Organizations
Locate your local food pantry here and donate if you can. Support organizations that feed the hungry such as City Harvest, God’s Love We Deliver, and No Kid Hungry—whether that’s with $ or by contacting senators to help get legislation through.
Whole Foods doesn’t need our support as much as our local bodegas do. When you place orders for food and goods online, try to buy from your favorite purveyors directly. This past week, Rome-based food writer Katie Parla has been encouraging folks to purchase goods from Italian businesses such as Gustiamo and to drink Italian wines. I bought some canned tomatoes—the best stuff!
I loved this Instagram story yesterday from Ops: stay calm and choose wisely. We can only eat so many meals and snacks, so give your money and your stomachs over to the spots you adore the most.
Updates & Solutions
Eater is doing an incredible job reporting on the impact of coronavirus on the industry.
At 232 Bleecker, chef Suzanne Cupps is sending diners home with bags of fresh veggies and ideas for how to use them. In LA, Jon & Vinny’s is packing up dried pasta and sauces to go.
Sadly, longstanding restaurants like SF’s Bar Agricole and NY’s Gotham Bar & Grill have closed permanently. We should take this moment to recognize that hot, new restaurants aren’t the only spots worth visiting. If we forget about the old standbys that continue to be great, times like this will force them to go under.
I’ll end on a happier note. Samin Nosrat is launching a podcast for these dire times and asking us to record our quarantine cooking questions and email them to firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m looking forward to listening and maybe even participating myself.
I hope this is helpful and informative. Stay tuned for uplifting reads, recipes, snacks, and the like coming soon.