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Food in the time of a pandemic


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I've mentioned before I'm involved with a local soup kitchen. Our numbers are way up because of the pandemic, even though we're just handing out bag lunches, not cooking and serving buffet style with a chance to sit down, relax and eat. Sadly, our budget is NOT up.

 

Kroger stepped in to rescue us. I now pick up every Friday morning, the donations of bakery and deli foods that are about to go out of date. This always includes a full shopping cart of breads, cookies, and other desserts; at least 30 pounds of sliced deli lunch meat and cheeses; probably 30-40 pounds of fried and rotisserie chicken; and a couple of dozen of their "home chef" meals, both the meal kits for two and the heat-and-serves for one.

 

It's made the difference. We haven't missed a beat in serving the hungry folks. And as well as our soup kitchen, some of the other food goes to a couple of halfway houses and the Salvation Army homeless shelter, and some gets given away by the food pantry.

 

Here's this week's donation, a typical one:

 

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Just wanted to take an opportunity to give a shout-out to Kroger.

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Don't ask. Eat it.

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On 8/30/2020 at 4:03 PM, TicTac said:

As an aside, green tomatoes are fantastic 'marinaded' - a very Italian method - slice them, salt heavily, pat off, then add oregano, vinegar and olive oil - sometimes garlic - enjoy.

 

Was just reading through Rawia Bishara's "Levant" and one of her recipes is for a shakshuka with tomatillos — which she mentions she originally developed to use up green tomatoes at the end of the summer. She pairs them with green chiles (hot and poblano) and a zucchini-like arabic squash.

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So I think I've officially exited food in the time of a pandemic. We've, thankfully, remained amazingly apart from the virus here and I hope that continues to be the case. Most I've talked to about it are well aware of how lucky we've been with that. The only remaining effect locally on the grocery supply situation is having to wear a mask in the store and potentially having to stand in line if you're dumb enough to go on a Friday evening... because a lot of people seem to be determined to not alter their traditional "grocery shopping day" even to avoid standing in line to get in because of the limit on how many can be in the store at once. There is no real shortage in quantity or quality and there are no longer any limits on quantities, even for paper goods. If it suddenly explodes and things become hard to get again, I'll probably have to start all over again because I've begun using up a lot of the things I stockpiled to free up freezer and cupboard space. So I'll still be buying and cooking food and this is still the time of a pandemic but the two are, for the moment, no longer intertwined here. I hope that soon becomes the case for everybody else.

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It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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29 minutes ago, Tri2Cook said:

So I think I've officially exited food in the time of a pandemic. We've, thankfully, remained amazingly apart from the virus here and I hope that continues to be the case. Most I've talked to about it are well aware of how lucky we've been with that. The only remaining effect locally on the grocery supply situation is having to wear a mask in the store and potentially having to stand in line if you're dumb enough to go on a Friday evening... because a lot of people seem to be determined to not alter their traditional "grocery shopping day" even to avoid standing in line to get in because of the limit on how many can be in the store at once. There is no real shortage in quantity or quality and there are no longer any limits on quantities, even for paper goods. If it suddenly explodes and things become hard to get again, I'll probably have to start all over again because I've begun using up a lot of the things I stockpiled to free up freezer and cupboard space. So I'll still be buying and cooking food and this is still the time of a pandemic but the two are, for the moment, no longer intertwined here. I hope that soon becomes the case for everybody else.

 

Oh no - over is not a realistic mindset but availability for delivery is still good. I knew your tag line reminded me of something. Lillian Jackson Braun's main character located "400 miles north of everywhere".

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6 minutes ago, heidih said:

 

Oh no - over is not a realistic mindset but availability for delivery is still good. I knew your tag line reminded me of something. Lillian Jackson Braun's main character located "400 miles north of everywhere".

 

I always thought it was "400 miles north of nowhere".  Loved those books.

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25 minutes ago, ElsieD said:

I don't have the books anymore either.  I did some googling and it returned with "everywhere" some "nowhere" and there was also an "anywhere".

 

Well we get the point ;)  My sheep rancher love in Wisconsin often uses similar phrases when asked where he tends his sheep.Have not visited yet.

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While the supply chains remain in pretty good shape, all things considered, I hope that as a business model, many of the wholesalers who have pivoted to retail during the pandemic will continue to do so, if and when the pandemic ever ends.

 

I, for one, certainly don't mind shopping this way as part of my shopping routine. Exposure to different distribution channels has been fun. And some of the stuff...let's just say I wasn't always getting the same quality with the same regularity.

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Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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15 hours ago, heidih said:

 

Oh no - over is not a realistic mindset but availability for delivery is still good. I knew your tag line reminded me of something. Lillian Jackson Braun's main character located "400 miles north of everywhere".


It's a realistic mindset as applies to the pandemic's influence on (my) current local food availability, which is the discussion at hand. The tag line is in reference to my location relative to pretty much anywhere else, I've never heard of that author and don't know the books being referenced or the characters within. :D

 

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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15 hours ago, ElsieD said:

 

I always thought it was "400 miles north of nowhere".  Loved those books.


The Cat Who books center on the life of former newspaper reporter, James Qwilleran, and his two Siamese cats, Koko and Yum Yum, in the fictitious small town of Pickax located in Moose County "400 miles north of everywhere." (from Wikipedia)

 

And to keep on topic. Food and other grocery items are also in good supply here. I, too, am now trying to use more of the items in our full freezer and pantry.

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I'm on the other tack...after a long summer's drudgery (trying to catch up from a poor first quarter), I'm just now beginning to restock against the resurgence we'll likely see when autumn and winter roll around.

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“What is called sound economics is very often what mirrors the needs of the respectably affluent.” - John Kenneth Galbraith

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

 

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I can't wait until my freezer is "empty," or back to normal again - so I can start really chilling my cocktail glasses. 

Also, I need to do a purchase from Great-Alaska-Seafood (I just think much of their stuff is great), and that's like 8 lbs. of assorted frozen seafood, so I need the room!

Edited by weinoo (log)
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Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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On 9/7/2020 at 7:51 AM, weinoo said:

While the supply chains remain in pretty good shape, all things considered, I hope that as a business model, many of the wholesalers who have pivoted to retail during the pandemic will continue to do so, if and when the pandemic ever ends.

 

Curious who your favorites are, with a few months' perspective?

 

As of yet I haven't really taken advantage, as I mostly looked at companies in March and April when they were just ramping up and supplies were really limited.

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46 minutes ago, dtremit said:

 

Curious who your favorites are, with a few months' perspective?

 

As of yet I haven't really taken advantage, as I mostly looked at companies in March and April when they were just ramping up and supplies were really limited.

 

Chef Collective excels - https://chefcollectivenyc.com/  If you're into cheeses and dairy, this is your lucky day.

 

DeBragga is just great.

 

Natoora works nicely, but can get expensive for certain things.

 

Now that I've become accustomed to Fresh Direct (and also occasionally going to Essex Market), Natoora isn't as important as it was at one point, but still a worthy addition. Fresh Direct surprises me, as some of what I procure is very good.

 

As mentioned, seafood from Great-Alaska-Seafood. Their frozen product is at least as good, if not better, than much of what I find being sold at retail as fresh. This isn't a pivot for them, but it's certainly a pivot for me.

 

All of the above are caveat emptor; since we can't handle and look at the product ourselves, experience leads you to the good stuff, and to stuff you won't buy again. (like, at Great Alaska, no need for their smoked black cod, which is nothing like the smoked sable from Russ & Daughters.).

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Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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Awesome, thanks! DeBragga will deliver to Boston, it seems, and obviously Great Alaska will as well. Sadly not so much for the other two.

 

Fresh Direct has been saying for years they're planning to expand to Boston (I said that recently somewhere, maybe upthread). I really look forward to that.

 

(My biggest disappointment has been Baldor -- there was a lot of press about them doing home delivery here, but every time I look at their website, nearly everything in their home delivery selection is sold out. I have no problem meeting their minimum dollar amount, but when e.g. 15 out of 16 of their tomato varieties are unavailable, it's hard to piece together an order.)

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8 minutes ago, dtremit said:

(My biggest disappointment has been Baldor -- there was a lot of press about them doing home delivery here, but every time I look at their website, nearly everything in their home delivery selection is sold out. I have no problem meeting their minimum dollar amount, but when e.g. 15 out of 16 of their tomato varieties are unavailable, it's hard to piece together an order.)

 

 

I have some friends who have used Baldor, and also not that thrilled with it.

Of course D'artagnan also delivers to you. They're great.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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Ohh, is there a Natoora in NYC now? When I was living in London (the UK forum was very active back then), around 2005 I was shopping from Natoora all the time, you would get daily deliveries from Italy and France. LOOOOOOVED it! Spiky artichokes from Sardinia and cheese from Corsica. Good times, plus Billingsgate market on the other side of the street. 

 

No Billingsgate market, after the last stop to the fishmonger, my daughter asked in panic when this all fish eating was going to stop, enough for her 😅😁 

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@Franci  Moving - never fun but you will survive the drama. BUT now you have me searching for Corsican cheese to order. Those ewes grazing on the maquis!  - the flavor  and aroma from those wild herbs

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10 hours ago, Franci said:

Ohh, is there a Natoora in NYC now? When I was living in London (the UK forum was very active back then), around 2005 I was shopping from Natoora all the time, you would get daily deliveries from Italy and France. LOOOOOOVED it! Spiky artichokes from Sardinia and cheese from Corsica

 

Yes, Natoora is in NYC! Expensive, but definitely good products. Nice people too.

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Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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On 9/7/2020 at 1:51 PM, weinoo said:

While the supply chains remain in pretty good shape, all things considered, I hope that as a business model, many of the wholesalers who have pivoted to retail during the pandemic will continue to do so, if and when the pandemic ever ends.

 

I, for one, certainly don't mind shopping this way as part of my shopping routine. Exposure to different distribution channels has been fun. And some of the stuff...let's just say I wasn't always getting the same quality with the same regularity.

 

In my country the wholesalers opened up to consumers as well, but have since closed for us regular folks again. It was less popular than I expected, there were barely any people there when we went shopping. We felt safer than at the supermarkets and visited several wholesayers over the course of our so called intelligent lockdown. As we barely went anywhere else and thoroughly enjoy food, this was a very nice and even exciting outing for us. Discovering new products, reminiscing stuff we knew, buying in bulk to save up, and having more time on our hands to cook and eat was quite a joy actually.

 

At the start of the lockdown we have seen some empty shelves, but if you knew your way around ethnic stores it wasn't that hard to get your hands on flour and yeast etc.

My SO finally saw the light and considered my slighty obsessive stocking in general a very nice feature, when he figured out that we could be ok for a few months if the suppliers couldn't keep up with the crazy demands or if a complete lockdown would occur.

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