Social Distancing and Food | The Food Party! | Laura Stec | Palo Alto Online |

Local Blogs

The Food Party!

By Laura Stec

E-mail Laura Stec

About this blog: I've been attracted to food for good and bad reasons for many years. From eating disorder to east coast culinary school, food has been my passion, profession & nemesis. I've been a sugar addict, a 17-year vegetarian, a food and en...  (More)

View all posts from Laura Stec

Social Distancing and Food

Uploaded: Mar 13, 2020

Social distancing is not a term that fits in well with the food world. Whether at home, a restaurant, summer music festival or wherever, food is meant to share with others. Macrobiotics teaches us that the energy of the food goes into the cook, and the energy of the cook goes into the food. Unfortunately we are all wondering first hand-live if viruses do too.

There are so many ways this virus will affect our food system. I thought about the first one yesterday when I started to write this piece. It was going to be Local Flavor, featuring two restaurants we recently Food Partied! at: Rooh in Palo Alto (see a review by my colleague Elena Kadvany) and a Mountain View gem, Everest Cuisine you must discover with Asian fusion/Nepalese cuisine. (Order online or call for takeout - they are both now open updated 3/24/20). But people aren’t going out to eat now anyways, so why write a restaurant review? The REAL story now is people aren’t going to restaurants, and many food workers will not get a paycheck for god knows how long. I’m an hourly worker in the food industry who’s already feeling the pinch so this hits home. But who’s getting the federal subsidies? The oil and gas industry? So my first social distancing thought is please go and support a local restaurant in the next weeks even if you go takeout – your support will be greatly appreciated.

And then today I was in the grocery and I asked clerk Lou “how does it feel to be on the front lines? (these workers interact with 100’s of customers daily) Boy she went off with a story of how some people actually sneeze right at her, and over the food while it sits on the check out belt. “It’s like they don’t even see me; some don’t cover their mouths or say sorry.”

This situation sucks for everyone, but if there is any silver lining, it may be that the entire world wakes up and realizes we are more interrelated than we knew, more connected than ever imagined. What I do affects you. So maybe, just maybe, there will be a human awakening of how our lives and actions directly affect those we do not know, and the world will become a more respectful place for everyone.

In these trouble times, please remember the folks on the front lines of the food system, keeping society moving. Support them. Don’t sneeze on them.

You might even say "thank you for your service."



We are all in this together.



We need your support now more than ever. Can we count on you?

Comments

 +   7 people like this
Posted by Laura Stec, a resident of Portola Valley: Westridge,
on Mar 15, 2020 at 9:00 am

Also, please throw away the antiseptic wipe, if you use it to wipe off the handle of your grocery cart. Don't just leave it in the cart for the next person to pick up and throw out.


 +   2 people like this
Posted by lindera, a resident of Stierlin Estates,
on Mar 17, 2020 at 1:43 am

lindera is a registered user.

Thanks for the post and nice to see this here.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park,
on Mar 17, 2020 at 4:57 pm

According to the EFSA / European Food Safety Authority, food is not a source of a transmission route for COVID-19 / coronavirus.

Coronavirus: no evidence that food is a source or transmission route: Web Link


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Laura Stec, a resident of Portola Valley: Westridge,
on Mar 17, 2020 at 10:27 pm

I hate to say it but when you speak, spit often projects from your mouth and you don't even know it. Cooking and talking over food? It's been known to happen in kitchens. I learned that the hard way teaching cooking classes in sunny California corporations with lots of windows. I haven't heard a specific temp it is killed at. But no matter, food comes to us at many temps.

I've also just heard about the virus discovered in human stool.

I'll research both more.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park,
on Mar 17, 2020 at 11:19 pm

There are s few things that I heard or thought about lately.

1. Some markets in SF are cleaning everything down during the night,
and then opening in the morning for a few hours only to high-risk
and older people to shop without being exposed to a huge crowd.

2. Markets and other businesses are only letting a few people inside
at a time.

3. Markets should post signs at the checkout counters to stand
back from the person in front of you by 6 feet if possible. Forming
a one long line perhaps cordon it off with rope and let one person at
time go to the cashiers which is the quickest and fairest way to
check out, and doesn't encourage people to push.

4. Also, put a limit on certain items, bread, pasta, toilet paper, etc
so everyone can get some until stocks replenish.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park,
on Mar 17, 2020 at 11:24 pm

Oh, that is a good point, I'm pretty sure they don't mean food that has not been kept safe.

I keep seeing who serving utensils dropped in food trays are Whole Foods too. It is really hard to
believe there are people so unthinking that they do not pay attention to where they replace the
spoon or spatula, but there are.


 +   2 people like this
Posted by member, a resident of Old Palo Alto,
on Mar 18, 2020 at 10:33 am

"But who's getting the federal subsidies? The oil and gas industry!" True and this absolutely makes me sick.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Anon, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Mar 18, 2020 at 1:20 pm

Well, I suppose this is just too big a stretch for most people, but, this would actually be a good point in history for people to reinvigorate the community with some of the pre-antibiotics "sanitation" technique that became popular 100 years ago, when people finally "got it" with respect to microbe-caused illnesses. There was a real movement to keep food preparation and medical facilities clean and sanitized, and, lots of people in food service began to be indoctrinated in how not to cross-contaminate stuff. As recently as the 1970's, people in food service actually had to be certified in the basics.

Here is an online textbook on microbiology. Section 6.3D is regarding Aseptic technique in a laboratory setting.

Web Link)

Here is an online food service manual. What the employees at Whole Foods and others, mentioned above, should be doing. Now would be a good time for everyone to review what they should have been taught already, but possibly were not:

Web Link


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by C, a resident of Palo Verde,
on Mar 18, 2020 at 3:12 pm

PAO should post an article of local restaurants offering take-out. (:


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Laura Stec, a resident of Portola Valley,
on Mar 18, 2020 at 3:40 pm

Hey C, We just did this AM! Look at this weeks Food Party! Please add more places


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Susan, a resident of Barron Park,
on Mar 19, 2020 at 7:11 pm

I love this!

"...If there is any silver lining, it may be that the entire world wakes up and realizes we are more interrelated than we knew, more connected than ever imagined. What I do affects you. So maybe, just maybe, there will be a human awakening of how our lives and actions directly affect those we do not know, and the world will become a more respectful place for everyone."

May it be so.


Follow this blogger.
Sign up to be notified of new posts by this blogger.

Email:

SUBMIT

Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields


Get fact-based reporting on the COVID-19 crisis sent to your inbox daily.

Black Lives Matter: on the topic of protesting and looting
By Jessica Zang | 25 comments | 12,820 views

'All of us can do something.' Local black restaurant owners react to George Floyd protests
By Elena Kadvany | 13 comments | 7,194 views

Power Lines, Pipelines, and the Limits of Eminent Domain
By Sherry Listgarten | 24 comments | 4,957 views

Such delightful city employee perks
By Diana Diamond | 45 comments | 4,038 views

Ready for Nothing
By Cheryl Bac | 0 comments | 1,035 views

 

Who is your local hero?

Whether they're grocery shopping for a neighbor or volunteering for a nonprofit, you can spread the joy and support our journalism efforts by giving them a shout-out.

Learn More