Reflections


I try to keep this blog free of extensive quoting and writing about other people’s writing, but Jennifer Gonnerman‘s brilliant piece on the plight of the city’s food delivery people in this week’s New York Magazine gets a special exception.

If you haven’t read it I ask you to do so now — it’s riveting and you won’t want to put it down. We’ve all seen the protesters outside Saigon Grill. I, for one, have never bothered to look into the specifics of the dispute too much. I’m glad New York did, as it’s one of the most revealing and important situations we’ve recently faced in our food-obsessed city. This isn’t some run-of-the-mill labor dispute. These guys, and several others from several other restaurants around town, are routinely verbally abused, stiffed on their pay (some earning a shocking $1.70 per hour), forced to pay their own medical bills when they’re hit by cars, and forced to pay for their own meals while at work which takes a big cut out of their meager tips.

And yes, I know there’s not much you can personally do about these modern robber baron restaurant owners besides boycott the joints. That’s why I’m writing here today, to talk about what we can do, and that is to aggressively, immediately address the tipping situation.

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It does seem like forever, but the holidays have finally died down and life in our fair city has resumed a relatively normal pace, and that means it’s time for us to resume waxing gastronomic for your reading pleasure. The staff has run out of holiday excuses for not turning in their essays on time and those will soon be appearing here. As for me, I’ve had a few days to unwind from the seemingly incessant bus travels, meeting people in bus stations, eating bus station food, and also the few odd days of working when neither I nor the rest of the world was on vacation.

During these weeks of trying to keep to deadlines, juggling credit cards, and making sure everything was just right on the days when everything needed to be just right, I never had a chance to stop and notice that I had lost track of time, and therefore lost track of myself. It’s a familiar feeling in this eat-pizza-in-the-cab-on-the-way-to-a-meeting culture — that anxious bug that drives people to incessantly jab at elevator buttons or huff and puff when caught behind a slow-moving person on the subway stairs. In overscheduled times, we lose sight of the reasons why we’re here to begin with, and life becomes strikingly less pleasurable. But I was thankfully reminded during a few special, almost imperceptible moments.

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All You Can Eat NYC took this week off to celebrate the best holiday of the year. I was going to leave this space blank, but on second thought, that would be a pretty conspicuous absence. Thanksgiving is the one nationally observed feast day we have in the U.S. and that makes it extra special and worthy of note. And since we’re in the business of noting these sorts of things, the crew prepared some food for thought for you on this grand holiday week. I hope you enjoy it despite our departure from strictly New York City environs.

First up is a little (well, maybe medium-sized) bit of journal muck that I wrote this week, reflecting on why I love this day so. Second is an oldie but goodie from Saucy Kate who loves dessert but especially loves it when made by mom. Her essay includes the highly valued recipe for the trifle she writes so eloquently about.

I know some of you may still be celebrating Thanksgiving, or wishing you were, so please dive in to these and post your own favorite Thanksgiving stories, from this or any other year.