Social distancing is not a term that fits in well with the food world. Whether at home, a restaurant, summer music festival or wherever, food is meant to share with others. Macrobiotics teaches us that the energy of the food goes into the cook, and the energy of the cook goes into the food. Unfortunately we are all wondering first hand-live if viruses do too.
There are so many ways this virus will affect our food system. I thought about the first one yesterday when I started to write this piece. It was going to be Local Flavor, featuring two restaurants we recently Food Partied! at: Rooh in Palo Alto (see a review by my colleague Elena Kadvany) and a Mountain View gem, Everest Cuisine you must discover with Asian fusion/Nepalese cuisine. (Order online or call for takeout - they are both now open updated 3/24/20). But people aren’t going out to eat now anyways, so why write a restaurant review? The REAL story now is people aren’t going to restaurants, and many food workers will not get a paycheck for god knows how long. I’m an hourly worker in the food industry who’s already feeling the pinch so this hits home. But who’s getting the federal subsidies? The oil and gas industry? So my first social distancing thought is please go and support a local restaurant in the next weeks even if you go takeout – your support will be greatly appreciated.
And then today I was in the grocery and I asked clerk Lou “how does it feel to be on the front lines? (these workers interact with 100’s of customers daily) Boy she went off with a story of how some people actually sneeze right at her, and over the food while it sits on the check out belt. “It’s like they don’t even see me; some don’t cover their mouths or say sorry.”
This situation sucks for everyone, but if there is any silver lining, it may be that the entire world wakes up and realizes we are more interrelated than we knew, more connected than ever imagined. What I do affects you. So maybe, just maybe, there will be a human awakening of how our lives and actions directly affect those we do not know, and the world will become a more respectful place for everyone.
In these trouble times, please remember the folks on the front lines of the food system, keeping society moving. Support them. Don’t sneeze on them.
You might even say "thank you for your service."
We are all in this together.