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The Week in Food: November 9 – 15, 2020

The bright autumn is about over and the gloomy one begins. Better to stay inside and catch up on the world of food. This week we learned about the acquisition of Clearview Fisheries by Native Peoples, Beyond Meats growth and the Door Dash IPO. We want to try Costco Scotch and Pizza Montanara. And explored the weirdness of cheese powder.


  • Pfizer vaccine provides hope for a relatively normal 2021.
  • Markets move higher; Jobless claims fall a little.
  • Covid-19 reaches new records: 150,000 daily infections. More closings, restrictions inevitable.


  • The Beyond Meats rocket to the moon has less fuel than thought.
  • Consumer movement is toward luxury brands and premium products. Stuck inside, it is time to indulge.
  • While they are at it, they can pick up Scotch at Costco. I am a big fan of Kirkland vodka (not Grey Goose, probably better) as it is remarkably cheap and really functional, which is all that needs be said about a vodka. But anyway, there are 4 Kirkland scotches. The basic one is American and aims to taste like Dewars (why?) but the other three are Speyside (think McCallan’s, Balvenie, etc.), one blended, two single malt. The review gets into it but they sound great and I might do a trial of my own.
  • Meat sales are very strong, particularly premium cuts as people recreate restaurant meals.
  • 81% of shoppers say great in-store experience is not enough to lure them in; more than half of consumer plan on not going into a supermarket for the holidays. Wow. Although you wonder how attentive respondents were when 1 in 3 said they would wear a mask while on-line shopping.


  • While much of the economic and human concern over COVID restrictions is for restaurants, the non-commercial foodservice sector has probably been hit even harder. Providers of food for schools and businesses have little flexibility when buildings are closed or highly restricted.
  • Restaurants looking at HVAC design to minimize COVID spread.
  • Restaurants are getting squeezed by delivery services and trying to find ways to interface directly with patrons. At the same time, the services aren’t really profitable. Maybe the gig economy isn’t a solutions to all our problems.
  • It is a struggle to find non-pandemic stories about restaurant. Here’s one: maybe the next trend will be Pizza Montanara; a Neapolitan innovation using deep fried dough.


  • I am starting to become a crank about this but I am tired of reading headlines about the plight of farmers, only to open the story and find someone quoted with the title of CEO. Agri-business is an important industry. But it is misleading to call them farmers.
  • Mini trade war will put tariffs on US sweet potatoes, grapefruit and other stuff as EU accuses US of subsidizing Boeing.
  • Issues of guest workers, from a Canadian greenhouse grower. These are real human beings.
  • Indigenous people of Canada have purchased Clearwater Seafood. Additional article, tangentially about food but really just interesting, on Native Peoples and their relationship to reindeer.
  • The Trump Administration pushes one last time to speed up lines in poultry plants, which exacerbate conditions that have caused rampant COVID infections


  • What is cheese powder? Is it food? Should food have substrate in it? Should a food be immortal? However the molecular gastronomy crowd embraces it for their showoff-y stunts.
  • Confession: I am a Thanksgiving hater. I like the idea of a day of being grateful. (Thank Lincoln, not the Pilgrims) I love hosting parties and serving food. I even enjoy the football, though I am not sure what the Cowboys and Lions do now is technically that. But the meal itself SUCKS. Turkey is the 96th best meat in the world. Most of the sides are of a single flavor note, loaded with carbs and have to be served hot. Several dishes are simply not eaten at any other time of year because they are terrible; looking at you green bean casserole. I have de- and reconstructed a few dishes like cranberry sauce and stuffing, tried different methods to get flavor into Turkey (smoking, deep frying, sous vide), jazzed up mashed potatoes with feta and garlic and added less mainstream things (squashes, pumpkin bisque, roasted turnips) but most of my joy has come from pie that isn’t pumpkin. And martinis. Perhaps this is the year we can reform it.

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