Last Call: Are there any food-related silver linings to 2020?

Chef Brandon Fay delivers meals to hospital workers on Mother’s Day
Chef Brandon Fay delivers meals to hospital workers on Mother’s Day
Photo: Alexi Rosenfeld (Getty Images)
Last CallLast CallLast Call is The Takeout’s online watering hole where you can chat, share recipes, and use the comment section as an open thread. Here’s what we’ve been reading/watching/listening around the office today.

It’s the standard opinion that everything about 2020 has been complete shit. I’m going to try to be an optimist here and say that not everything has been shitty since March, when COVID effectively put an end to regular daily life. Since I’ve been working from home and don’t have to commute, I can sleep later. I can also spend more time with my dog (who is currently whining at me to stop working and take him outside, since we have lost all sense of boundaries). I’ve assembled a really nice collection of face masks. I have not had a single cold. The weather during much of the early summer and fall was beautiful, and I could do my work outside and enjoy it. The people in my neighborhood came together in a really wonderful way to make sure everyone was fed and cared for.

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Janelle Bitker and Justin Phillips, two staffers at the San Francisco Chronicle, have decided to look back at 2020 in optimism as well. Since they are both food writers, the 12 items on their list of silver linings are all food-related and can apply to almost anywhere in the U.S. Yes, it’s true the restaurant industry as we knew it pretty much tanked, but the challenges have brought out the best in some chefs: we’ve seen more experiments with pop-ups with more creative food, which in turn led to more progress in legalizing cottage industries. Chefs have been cooking for people other than those who normally eat at fine-dining restaurants—low-income people, homebound older adults, essential workers—and, by converting their restaurants into grocery stores, have made their food more widely available. Artisanal ingredients and fine wines that would normally go to restaurants became available to home cooks. The greater reliance on takeout has exposed just how predatory the delivery apps are and has inspired legislation to limit excessive fees.

How about you? Have you had any wonderful food discoveries this year? Have you enjoyed spending more time in the kitchen? Have you learned how to make something new really, really well? Have you developed a greater appreciation of your neighborhood’s takeout options? Have you witnessed some extraordinary acts of food-related kindness? Let us know in the comments.

Aimee Levitt is associate editor of The Takeout.

DISCUSSION

brickhardmeat
Brick HardMeat

I became a better tipper. I was a decent tipper pre-pandemic for dine in. But I now tip 20% for takeout and delivery, rounded up so usually more. I was definitely not doing that pre-pandemic. If things return to “normal” I don’t believe I’ll stop.