As my longtime readers know, I shifted the focus of Some Meals Considered back in late March, when the pandemic meant restaurants were no longer what they used to be. How could I write about eating out if eating out wasn’t possible? Instead, I chronicled reactions and updates from across the industry, examined the various angles in which food media was covering the crisis, shared my own opinions, and offered ways to support. I even started recommending recipes.
Here’s where we are today: Restaurants have not gone back to normal. Although potentially (hopefully) for the better, they might never be the same. For now, there’s take-out and outdoor dining. Another wave of closings is likely on the horizon. Those of you that read food writers and keep tabs on restaurants and the people that power them have heard a million takes on what the future holds and are bearing witness to how the community is grappling with recent cultural events and demands to address deep-rooted inequalities alongside the looming challenges of an ongoing virus.
I’d like to take a step back and reset. As I think about how SMC should evolve and focus, your feedback would be much appreciated. Could you please take a few minutes to fill out this (very short) survey? It’ll help me make this newsletter better, and most importantly, worthwhile.
Here’s me, listening:
The power of a newsletter
Newsletters are on the rise, which is part of why I want to be sure I’m not just adding to the noise. Check out this post from Circus, a popular Paris bakery known for its cardamom buns and baguettes.
The unyielding grip of Instagram is something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately, and discussing with friends. It makes everything too easy, and in some ways, that’s good, like in the case of political organizing. It also makes it easy to perform instead of act, and it gives too much power to those that understand how to wield the platform. Not to mention the obvious pitfall of feeding data to Facebook.
I rely on Instagram to get inspired for where to get dinner from, to stay connected to friends who live far away, and for career-related leads. But I think we’d all be better off—more thoughtful, less lazy—without it. So I commend this move and I’m yearning for a world where individuals and restaurants and communities can “communicate with more elaborate content,” as Circus puts it. A good newsletter can be a great thing. I have a few recommendations for ones I like in the roundup below.
If you read one thing from this list, let it be this piece by Jonathan Nunn on the immigrant-powered “restaurant communities” of London’s Old Kent Road. [Eater]
And subscribe to Vittles, an excellent newsletter created and edited by Nunn.
It seems that a lot of restaurant critics share my sentiments on holding off on dining out.
Some of LA’s best chefs on what they’re cooking for July 4th (hint: it’s not hotdogs) [Bloomberg]
What it’s like to be Black and working in wine [NYTimes]
“We have a core of customers who are going to come and say hello — even if they just pass by, get a cannoli or something”—the transformation of Arthur Avenue during Phase II. [Gothamist]
Alicia Kennedy on the lack of translated food writing and what we miss out on because of it.
Subscribe to From the Desk of Alicia Kennedy, too!
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