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The Week in Food: February 1 – 6, 2021

Happy Super Bowl weekend. As you countdown to kick off here is the fork pitch weekly update on the world of food. This week Grape Nuts were scarce but heavy metals in baby foods were not, we read how politicians behave badly in restaurants, which are the worst place to be during COVID and the worst place to be in a restaurant is cooking on the line. We also have a story about the loss of taste and smell and the glories of Pimm’s Cup.

MACRO

RETAIL AND CONSUMER

  • Trader Joe’s steps up, Kroger weasels out in latest pandemic moves.
  • A Grape Nuts shortage!
  • Costco continued to kill it in January. I live with two immune compromised individuals and so I am very careful about how and where I shop, depending heavily on delivery. Costco manages better than just about anybody the physical aspect of COVID prevention. Fewer trips plus more confidence in store safety is a winning combination.
  • Toxic heavy metals are being detected in baby food, including organic. Among the magic things it does not do, organic produce does not shield you from environmental degradation.
  • ¬†Uber to acquire Drizly, an alcohol delivery service.

RESTAURANTS AND FOODSERVICE

  • Fine dining follies in political Washington. We all know politicians can be jerks. Some of them are just worse than others.
  • Speaking of Washington I remember this Wendy’s and thought it was either the worst or best location for a restaurant. Apparently after 40 years the verdict is the latter.
  • Line cooks have the highest death rate for COVID. Related: a study shows Restaurants are the worst place to be in an epidemic.
  • As discussed in a fork pitch article this week, the $15 minimum wage is becoming inevitable. Oops. Well, I said inevitable, not imminent.

FOOD SUPPLY CHAIN

  • Gene banks are going to play a very important role in the future.
  • Horrifying nitrogen leak in chicken plant in Georgia kills 6. Times story gets into the difficulties the mostly immigrant work force faces inside and outside the plant.
  • Fun dive into the ingredients of some common prepared foods and how they are made. Rennet, gelatin, cochineal I expected. Shellac and isinglass, not so much. Less fun – every thing you drink is bad for you.

LAGNIAPPE

  • I love Pimm’s Cup. Yes, the cuke and fruit juice version from The Napoleon House in New Orleans, but we mix it any number of different ways at home. The article suggests in in a martini, but I’ve made manhattans with it. And juxtaposed with ginger syrup and whatever fruit juice you have on hand. Did you know that Number 1 refers to gin and that there were other Pimm’s Cups with a different number for each base liquor? You do now.
  • To celebrate the Superb Owl, here are mostly uninspired recipes from gentlemen who may or may not have CTE.
  • What is it like to lose your sense of taste and smell? What is food was really important to you? Some report long term distortions to taste, which feels almost worse – creepier – to me than loss.
  • The grammar of food. How you eat and how you describe it is highly bound in both language and culture.

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