Flex to Trump, Caviar cops, Media moves, Nuance needs, and more...
Family Meal - Friday, June 5, 2020
Let’s get to it…
The Relief – Per Garrett Snyder in the LAT: “The Senate on Wednesday passed legislation giving more flexibility to recipients of the Paycheck Protection Program… The largely bipartisan bill, which overwhelmingly passed in the House last week and is now headed to President Trump, is expected to be signed into law soon.” Reminder: “Under terms of the new bill, the minimum portion of PPP funds that must be spent on employee payroll would be lowered to 60% from 75%. The remainder can be spent on rent, utilities and other business-related expenses. The amount of time loans can be used has been extended to 24 weeks from eight, while those businesses whose loans aren’t converted into grants now have five years for repayment instead of two years.”
The Delivery Frontlines – Video from Kristi Karttunen on twitter last night shows what appears to be a Caviar delivery worker getting arrested for violating curfew mid gig. Not enough details to tell what exactly is going on here, and parent company DoorDash reached out pretty quickly to help, but this comes three full days after Eater NY’s Tanay Warerkar and Erika Adams wrote earlier this week, “Confusion and concern are swirling among local legislators and restaurant industry representatives about New York’s emergency curfew order as Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office releases information in a patchwork fashion.” Infuriating.
On the West Coast, Seattle’s Eric Rivera posted a note from Caviar saying that in markets “with active curfews, please note that we are following local guidelines and shutting down delivery on Caviar when required due to curfews or safety in the area.” OK, but in the absence of clear local guidelines, you might need to beef that up with a statement on worker protections, team!
The Media – Seems departing SF Chronicle editor in chief Audrey Cooper has done some hiring on her way out the door. Eater NY editor Serena Dai tweets: “Some personal news: I'm moving to the Bay Area to join the incredible team at the San Francisco Chronicle. I am going to miss New York and Eater so much, but am SO EXCITED to do this. See you soon, California!” The Chronicle announcement says, “Dai has been named a senior editor overseeing food, travel and magazines.” Congrats, all!
Back in NYC, Amanda Kludt writes: “Incredibly proud of all the work Serena did here at Eater and so excited to see what she does out in San Francisco. We'll be starting our replacement search soon.” Good luck, all! (This newsletter serves as both cover letter and CV, as per usual. Fingers crossed.)
The Word Choice – Headline in LA Times Opinion: “Op-Ed: The Mozza ‘corner’ got trashed. Don’t worry about us, send your sympathy to George Floyd’s family instead.” Question from authors Nancy Silverton and her partner, writer Michael Krikorian: “How many of the losers wrecking Melrose even knew the name of the man the protest was about?” Follow-up from LA Times Food editor Peter Meehan on Twitter: How did this even get published? Krikorian, who dedicates much of his personal writing to dad-joke fan fiction about Silverton and her food-famous friends, has apologized for the parts of the piece where he refers to looters as “roaches” and jokes about us all forgetting “that Wuhan, China, bat thing,” — the type of phrasing NYT California critic Tejal Rao called out on Twitter as “flip, inaccurate descriptions of covid-19 [that] led to an increase in hate crimes against Asian-Americans.” Farley Elliott wrote up the mess for Eater LA.
Maybe you think this is small potatoes; poor word choice and a few quick edits away from fine. I think at minimum it shows just how much care and thought white restaurant people need to be putting into their words and actions right now (and… ever after).
And P.S. – This isn’t to say I’m an incredibly smart reader with an eye for truths hiding deep beneath the text, but I’ve never read a first person article that included some version of “this isn’t about me” that wasn’t definitely, entirely about the author.
The Critics – Who is Hunter Edison? The new restaurant critic and dining editor covering DC’s nearby cities and suburbs for Northern Virginia Magazine had no previous bylines or online presence until Washington City Paper’s Laura Hayes started asking questions and got the magazine to admit they were running reviews under a pseudonym. Turns out Hunter Edison is food writer Alice Levitt, who, like many new critics, is young enough to be very visible online. Charleston critic and AFJ board president Hanna Raskin tells Hayes that writing under a pseudonym “is a violation of the Association of Food Journalists ethics code and good journalistic practice.” In other words, the last of the anonymous critics are almost certainly the ones writing right now. (But personally I think critic names from now on should be handed down like the title of the Dread Pirate Roberts. “The real Pete Wells has been retired 15 years, and living like a king in Patagonia…”)
And last but not least: Some Virtue Signaling – I’m getting some notes from non-Black readers who feel some critical reactions to genuine expressions of support have been unfair or counterproductive. People posted black squares on Instagram, and then were told that was stupid. People tried to shout out Black creatives, and then were told that was tokenism. People used a word they thought was a synonym, but it turned out to be one degree too far off the original. That stuff is hard, but I tell everyone the same thing I tell myself when I get in similar situations: You are going to have to take your lumps. Not everything you do with good intentions will be received as a gift. It may even be thrown to the ground and stomped on in front of a crowd. A person in pain, who has seen you causing or ignoring that pain (wittingly or not) for a long time, cannot be expected to say “Thank you!” or even “Finally!”
It sucks as the giver, and I can get as indignant about it as the next person (and sometimes I’m right!), but I try to learn from it. And then I write things like this and DUCK.
And that’s it for today.
I’ll see you here Tuesday for next Family Meal.
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