This post originally appeared on February 27, 2020 in Amanda Kludt’s newsletter “From the Editor,” a roundup of the most vital news and stories in the food world each week. Read the archives and subscribe now.
Last March, the museum was on the verge of debuting its latest exhibition, African/American: The Making of the Nation’s Table at the Africa Center in Harlem when the pandemic hit. We started talking to them this past summer about publishing a package tied to the themes and ideas of the exhibit when they were finally ready to open. As it became clear this fall that we’d be waiting a long time for that day, we decided to publish this collaboration timed to the museum’s virtual celebration of Black History Month.
The museum’s curator shared the full text of the exhibit, which includes a impressively deep exploration of African migrations and foodways and Black influences on the culinary arts, beer, barbecue, and more. Our editor Monica Burton chose five pieces to pursue inspired by this work: A report on discrimination against Black farmers; a look at the pop-ups celebrating Blackness in food; an exploration of Black-led efforts to feed underserved communities; a piece examining the narrative of Black brewing; and an interview between Osayi Endolyn and Toni Tipton-Martin on the legacy of cookbook author Malinda Russell, all tied together with an introduction from Jessica B. Harris.
We hope you enjoy these stories and get to experience the exhibit that inspired them when the world opens back up again. In the meantime, consider donating to MOFAD’s efforts.
— The latest round of the Paycheck Protection Program will only be available to businesses with fewer than 20 employees for the next couple of weeks. And solo proprietors can now access larger loans.
— Relatedly, beloved little LA Korean restauarant Spoon By H announced it would close after falling victim to a chargeback scam but now has over $50,000 in GoFundMe money so … maybe not?
— Salesforce, San Francisco’s largest private employer, announced employees can work from home well beyond the pandemic, a shift that will have a massive impact on the food businesses that catered to its 10,000 workers.
— Famous Brooklyn steakhouse Peter Luger is borrowing wax celeb statues from Madam Tussaud’s to fill its empty tables.
— Down in Texas, mutual aid networks sprang into action when the government didn’t, AOC volunteered at the food bank and raised millions for those in need, and the owners of Olamaie in Austin connected struggling farmers with hungry residents at warming centers.
— Seattle is considering loosening the rules for at-home food businesses.
— D.C. in enjoying a yeasted doughnut boom.
— LA’s 83-year-old Firestone Tire building, a former car service station, has been fully overhauled as a do-it-all space for tacos, beer, and more.
— A guide to 20 pandemic pivots and pop-ups in Chicago.
— Watch: The guy responsible for bringing the best avocados to New York restaurants and residents.
— Listen: This week our Chicago editor Ashok Selvam hosted a panel with Tejal Rao, Korsha Wilson, and Devra First about the future of restaurant criticism.