Letter to the Good Food community

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Signage at the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market. Photo credit: Gillian Ferguson

I’ve been thinking a lot about comfort, and what that might look like or sound like right now. Usually when we talk about comfort on this show, we’re talking about a brothy bowl of beans, and yes, we will go there today. But for me comfort right now is knowing you are there, the Good Food community with whom I socially distance every week through the magic of broadcasted audio. What is happening to all of us is unprecedented, difficult and in constant flux.

A couple of weeks ago, I had a conversation with journalist Karen Stabiner on whether or not a certain kind of restaurant is over. It was just a polemic. But now? To call it uncertainty is an understatement. How can an entire industry that is one of the largest employers in the country recover from this? How do individuals who work in the business with no safety net survive? The answer is that we don’t know. Nobody does. In the coming weeks, we’ll interview chefs and restaurateurs about what lies ahead, but for now, it’s all just too raw, too new. As one operator told me yesterday, there are no good stories right now. My heart aches for our community of restaurant folks and the farmers on whom we rely for so much more than bodily sustenance. I’ve never shied away from sharing my personal story of restaurant closures and the debts I still shoulder. So for me, watching this story unfold, knowing the bottom line reality for my peers in the restaurant business, it’s gutting.

I know that like all of us here at Good Food, you get part of your joy in life from participating in this community, whether you’re an eater or a chef or a home cook. For a couple of decades now, we’ve come to rely on public eating establishments for not only our celebrations, but our daily hit of sociability and closeness. Restaurants, casual and fine, coffee shops and bars have become our de facto piazzas. They’re places to hang out, share food and drink, and catch up with each other in close quarters. That is gone for now. But we are social animals who do not thrive in isolation, so we will create new ways of expressing joy, blowing off steam with our besties, and even sharing all this around a table. It’s just that the tables and counters will be at home. And the social reach to family and friends out of our physical space? Well, we’d love for you to share how you figure that piece out.

All we can do is be there for our small communities in whatever form we are allowed. and maybe figure out ways to interact in new forms. Already I’ve seen Instagram stories of friends dining together over Google Hangouts. And many of your favorite restaurateurs are pivoting quickly, selling their larders to make some extra cash or offering rolls of toilet paper with to go orders. Here at Good Food, we’ll listen to you to discover what we can provide that would be most helpful. Cooking from the pantry is kind of my thing, so we’ll definitely be talking more about cooking and recipes than we did before. But please reach out and tell us what you want to hear.



Evan Kleiman