christmas table with decorations for holiday

The Week in Food: December 27 -31, 2020

Happy New Year and good riddance to the dumpster fire that was 2020. Normally on January 1, I am trying to recover as we have an annual party with >50 people. I may be the first person ever to miss a hangover. While I wasn’t partying, I was reading about John Kellogg, degradable bottles, caterers and their plight, bucatini and storing onions. Enjoy and best wishes on the New Year!


  • The main indexes of the financial markets will finish the year at or near all-time highs. One explanation is people saving money while staying home.
  • BUT unemployment is chronically high as is food insecurity.
  • Unemployment won’t be fixed until COVID is under control and while the variety and production of vaccines is increasing, the distribution and execution is a mess: 3.7 million doses as a opposed to the 20 million vaccinated (2 shot process) as promised by year’s end.
  • The $15 minimum wage gains momentum.
  • One year ago today:


  • A very brief biography of John Harvey Kellogg, inventor of the corn flake and all around loon.
  • There is pressure to get the FDA to loosen or eliminate definitions. At one level, I don’t care about how they define French Dressing which is trash but what stops someone from putting orange color in hydrogenated oil and calling it such?
  • Supermarkets chafe under the fees charged by Instacart – continue to explore building out their own infrastructure. I struggle with the concept of sustainable advantage for Instacart: the workers, vehicles and technology are the same for a grocery chain of any real size wanting to go direct. What are the advantages to scale?
  • Heinen’s is a great grocery chain in Northern Ohio and always on top of trends. Their latest: a robot that makes bespoke salads on-site. Supermarket salad bars have been struggling recently and one wonders whether the overall hygiene of the concept is no longer acceptable to many shoppers. This may change the equation.


  • Lack of Holiday parties crushed caterers. It is a difficult sector to measure but the anecdotes are sad.
  • Famous restaurants shuttered in 2020 but a lot of traditional diners and joints were lost as well.
  • Of course the rules of COVID don’t really apply to restaurants in Beverly Hills.
  • The Biden Administration has a lot of work to do to save restaurants.
  • National Restaurant Association will always take the most short-sighted position and always at the cost of stakeholders like diners and employees.


  • New plant based bottles that degrade within a year. Could help reduce mountains of plastic. Carlsberg Beer first to jump on board.
  • As always there is a lot of year-end list compilation going on. Though you may not have thought it possible, there were positive developments in 2020. One is the acceleration of lab-grown meat technology.
  • Girls sell Girl Scout cookies. Girls harvest palm oil. One thing is quaint and charming, the other is a modern horror.
  • The agriculture industry depends on H-2A visas for migrant labor. Agricultural workers are exploited and abused and COVID hasn’t made things any easier.


  • In following a story on the great Bucatini shortage – weird, less interesting than I hoped – and clicked my way to a recipe for Sugo Amatriciana, and now I am hungry.
  • Dalgona – or whipped coffee – is something I am going to have to try.
  • In another edition of you are doing it all wrong, you aren’t storing onions the properly.
  • An explainer video on the huge and complicated farmer strikes in India:

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