What owners want isn’t necessarily what workers want

Plus scones and martinis and a candy poll

What’s up, people? I’ve been baking a lot, as per quarantine usual, working on a few things that I’m excited to share soon, and realizing that there are two kinds of people in this world: those who choose Junior Mints and those who choose Milk Duds. Who can guess me?

In the restaurant arena, things seem to be moving in a better direction for businesses desperate to survive. A vote on fixes to PPP that would extend the deadline for utilizing the loan and alter the terms for how much of it needs to go towards payroll might go down next week. Furthermore, the RESTAURANTS Act drafted by Rep. Earl Blumenauer of Oregon introduces the $120 billion stabilization fund that the IRC has been fighting for. More here.

On a local level, the longterm potential for bars and restaurants to offer alcohol for take-out and delivery is on the table, as is the fashioning of New York City streets as dining rooms.

For restaurant workers who want nothing but to return to their existing workplaces, even if that means in a strange and potentially risky manner, these are hopeful developments. But who is to say that’s the case? In a bracing New Yorker interview with Helen Rosner, the artist, cook, and writer Tunde Way says:

It’s super strange right now to see all this energy around organizing for the benefits of owners and the ownership class. If there’s anything I think should be done, it’s that restaurant owners should abandon entirely their pursuit of a bailout specific to the industry, and focus on policy and government programs that support people generally. If everyone had access to health care, housing, leisure, education for their children, education for themselves—all these things I think are rights—and if all these things they had access to were of high quality, I’m sure some business owners wouldn’t even return to ownership.

The only truly affirmative and sustainable response is a governmental response—one that’s universal, that’s agnostic of industries, at least initially, and that focuses on developing a really robust social safety net, so we don’t have to rely on unfortunate, fake safety nets like poor restaurant jobs.

Food for thought.

On a lighter note, I’m looking forward to watching Diana Kennedy: Nothing Fancy, a documentary about the 97-year-old author known for her deep expertise in Mexican cooking. The film was released today in conjunction with independent cinemas. Choose the local theater you want to support, then pay to screen it at home.


More worthy reads 🗞

Navneet Alang on how aspiration is synonymous with whiteness in food media [Eater]

These recipes for grilled chicken look great, but mostly I love Clare de Boer’s writing on the subject matter [NYTimes]

For the first time ever, Naples does pizza to go. Which got me thinking: NY-style works great as delivery, but Neapolitan… not so much. [Culinary Backstreets]

Alicia Kennedy on the chef coming into focus “as giver of nourishment, as font of knowledge, as promoter of biodiversity when they have a real connection to their land” [From the Desk of Alicia Kennedy]

I’ve been liking Maya Kosoff’s “some nice things” posts in her newsletter. [pithy outcomes]


From my kitchen 🍴

Remember when I said I wanted to make Sqirl’s scones? Well, I did and they were fantastic. I was singing their praises to my friend Chip, a big-time scone enthusiast, and we agree that most people have never had and therefore don’t appreciate the beauty of a true scone in all of its fluffy glory (check out the cross-section in the below shot). There’s an obvious Curb Your Enthusiasm reference here but I won’t make it. Bake this recipe—which can be executed in many different flavors, and with substitutions based on what you have on hand—and you’ll know. Mine had fresh strawberries and lemon zest.

Not a baker? Here are two tips for making the perfect martini at home.

  1. Partanna produces the best Castelvetrano olives and Chef Collective sells them in bulk (with plenty of brine).

  2. Nick and Noras are the vessels you need. Shout out to the Gotham Gal for showing me the way.

Wishing you all the best of vibes throughout the long weekend. Get some sun! Eat a hot dog! Hang in there!


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