A Divine Restaurant Experience

Recently, I was on a short road trip with a friend and I saw a sign for a restaurant that I adore from back home in Arkansas, Cracker Barrel.

I know, it’s a chain restaurant, but so what? I generally stay away from chain restaurants, but Cracker Barrel is very consistent all across the country and, in the end, I’m a Southern boy far way from home without anything close to Southern food nearby.

As we were driving by Sacramento, California, I did a quick search for where this Cracker Barrel was located in the city. Unfortunately, it turned out that the restaurant was on the opposite side of the city and I wasn’t willing to turn around on this leg of thew trip. I figured we would just have to make plans to stop by on the way back.

Just when our hopes were dashed for the day, and stomachs grumbling, there was a new hope. The skies parted, the sun shown through, and I spotted the divine brown and golden sign of Cracker Barrel a mere 30 minutes away in Rocklin, California.

Could it be? Yes, it was a second location in the Southern food desert of West Coast. I had already missed the interstate exit for that restaurant because there was no warning ahead of time that this glorious establishment resided there in Rocklin. This time, I wasn’t going to resist turning around. It was going to happen. We had been in lockdown far too long to pass up the chance to go to Cracker Barrel.

I took the next exit, turned around, and sped back to the previous exit, cautiously making sure to take the correct part of the exit to ensure that we had no more barriers between us and that simple comfort food housed behind that humble exterior lined with rocking chairs.

We pulled into the parking lot and I wanted to make sure to set our expectations low and told my friend that we may just have to get a to-go order and eat in the car. However, as we got closer to the door, I saw the magnificent message on an outdoor banner saying “The Dining Room In Now Open.” Yes, you read that correctly, it was a restaurant where you could eat inside of the establishment in the state of California.

Whiskeyriff.com

After we walked through the door — with masks on — we felt like kids in a candy store, but I guess we were literally in a candy store too. We were seated promptly, walking through the dining area with walls adorned with the typical antique kitsch. We found a dining area with every other table closed off in order to give diners space between each other. Aside from the spacing, cutting capacity down by half, the dining experience was the same. We both had to order our obvious choice, Chicken Fried Steak with gravy. What else would you order at Cracker Barrel after having not had that luxury for so long? It was a no-brainer.

Cracker Barrel, Chicken Fried Steak

What struck me as odd, after the fact, was our absolute elation of being able to do something that used to be normal and mundane. Eating at chain restaurants were just a given and a way to end being hungry while driving across a state during a trip. Now, it feels like a luxury or a event to simply go sit inside of a restaurant and have some sort of semblance of normal life which we have had stripped away from us after six months of a virus changing everyday life across the globe.

I look forward to the time, hopefully soon, where we can go back to doing the things that were just normal, assumed, uneventful, and taken for granted. We don’t know what we have until it’s gone. Don’t take your Chicken Fried Steak & Dumplings for granted.

Cracker Barrel, Chicken & Dumplings

We all deserve to be able to enjoy time with our friends and family eating in America’s restaurant, Cracker Barrel.

Masking The Truth

I get it. No one WANTS to wear a mask. Well, not unless you’re attempting to hold-up a stagecoach or fight ninja turtles.

Around a month ago, I bought a cloth mask on Etsy. We already had some surgical-type masks purchased from Walmart just before panic buying started happening, but I didn’t want to wear one of those out and about because it makes it look like you are the one who is sick. After all, here in America during flu season, we put on a mask when visiting a doctor’s office if we have symptoms. The point is, I could tell that masks were going to be a necessary clothing item soon, and I wanted to be prepared.

Since then, a friend and his wife here in Chicago have begun crafting and selling high-quality masks, and I bought some for my family. I can highly recommend for an excellent fit and color/fabric choices.

My first venture with the mask was into a liquor store. I’ll be honest that sitting in the car I was having second thoughts about putting it on. I’m highly self-conscious, but in this case, I bit the bullet and just did it. Because I knew it was going to be the right thing to do.

Walking in, I immediately looked around to see whom else was wearing a mask. First employee I spotted no. First customer I spotted no. But I still went about my business, highly self-conscious to how I looked, but shopped for my booze anyway.

Not even a minute later, an employee one aisle over (not wearing a mask) asked if I needed help finding anything. I asked for what I was looking for (a special barrel-aged Jeppson’s Malört!), and he led me over to the aisle where it was. I kept my distance, briefly commented on the peculiar liquor, and thanked him for his help. I quickly realized, wearing a mask was no big deal after all. I’m just keeping to myself, doing my own thing. At that point it really didn’t feel different than wearing something unusual for me like a hat. Would you wear a cowboy hat out running errands? No? Well it’s ABSOLUTELY normal for a good chunk of the population. In some locales, you might even look out of place for NOT wearing one.

giordanos.com

Two weeks ago, I ordered a pizza from one of our favorite places (Giordano’s!). I ordered over the phone for “pick up”, drove there, walked inside wearing my mask, signed my credit card receipt, and took home my pizza. No big deal.

Last week, I ordered a pizza again for “pick up”, drove there, walked inside (not noticing new signs on the door), and was immediately stopped by an employee who jumped up and said I had to wait outside. As someone attempting to follow the rules, I suddenly felt scolded and a bit ashamed, not gonna lie. But what changed was a new local ordinance that said only employees were allowed inside of a restaurant. The manager was apologetic, and for my part I felt compelled to explain my confusion because on the phone no one said anything about not coming inside. Nevertheless, I sheepishly went back to my car, waited for him to come out and take my credit card, ring it up inside, and give me my pizza. Lesson learned.

Last night we ordered pizza again, but this time the person on the phone explained they can only do curbside pickup, and asked if I wanted to pay over the phone, which we did. My wife and I together went to pick up the pizza this time, pulling right up to the curb at a numbered spot, with me on the passenger side. When we arrived I called the store to tell them we were there. I put on my mask, my wife in the driver’s seat put on her mask, and an employee wearing a mask and gloves handed me my pizza through the passenger side window. All was well, and we drove off.

THE POINT OF THIS STORY: wearing a mask is a courtesy to those around you. In the 5 seconds I’m interacting with this employee, I don’t want to spread my germs to him at his place of work, and he doesn’t want to spread his germs onto the food I’m buying. At this point, I’d personally feel more out of place NOT wearing a mask walking into someone’s business. They have to be there to serve their customers; I don’t need to be a jerk and make them worry that I’m unnecessarily spreading my germs to them.

Because to me, this boils down not only to respecting others, but also science. Do you believe in asymptomatic spread? Science says it exists, and the testing results indicate it exists, so if you simply don’t, that’s another conversation. So now that we’re dealing with how to prevent asymptomatic spread, why are you against face coverings? We teach children to cover their mouths while coughing, sneezing into their arm to stop the spread of germs when they are sick. But now we have a virus where it cannot be known at any given moment if we have it or not, and therefore anyone could be unknowingly spreading the virus at any time. Cloth face masks aren’t perfect, they may not block 100% of the virus if someone is infected and is out and about in society, but the mask will block a portion of it, reducing the spread. Compare that to someone who has the virus and is out and about in society and is spreading 100% of whatever is coming out of their mouth. There’s no contest.

webstaurantstore.com

Now, you may then bring up Constitutional rights and freedoms and whatever, but bear in mind that “no shirt, no shoes, no service” is a thing, and so “no mask” can be easily added to that for the time being. Private businesses have no obligation to entertain you as a customer, especially when local ordinances are backing up the mask requirements. The truth is, having a face covering helps slow the spread. It’s the same reason we’ve socially distanced for 45 days…to slow the spread. Don’t want to slow the spread? By all means keep rebelling against wearing a mask. But at least acknowledge that you’re consciously not helping slow the spread of this coronavirus.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, syfy.com

Food Disruption – The Strange New Normal

It’s May 2020 and most people have been pretty shocked by recent supply disruptions. For reasons still unknown, it started with toilet paper and bottled water. Then soap, bleach, detergent, and even vinegar disappeared off of shelves. And when restaurants were ordered closed, entire sections of grocery stores were emptied.

For those that live in areas where blizzards or hurricanes are frequent, they are more familiar with this behavior. For many though, this is a new and strange reality.

Photo by Orlando Leon on Unsplash

Pre-Corona society in the U.S. was a remarkable study in efficiency, reliability, and profitability – largely thanks to “Just in Time Inventory”. We all took for granted that the stores would always be stocked, that the Starbucks would have coffee, and that Waffle House would always have a seat for you.

This hasn’t always been the case. In the 1970’s OPEC launched an oil embargo against the US. Gasoline was rationed to a few gallons, cars lined up for miles at stations, and traffic ground to a halt.

During WW2, strict rationing was implemented – everything was needed for the war effort. Households received a coupon book entitling the user the right to purchase certain items. Most families could buy one tire per year. Sugar was the first thing to be rationed. Steel aluminum, rubber were almost impossible to come by. Howard Hughes had to build his largest airplane out of wood because metal was unavailable, hence the name “Spruce Goose”.

Many more supply chain disruptions have been reported this week, massive disruptions, with food supply. Pasta and frozen potato products have been in short supply this week, and just today a major grocery chain, HEB, announced limits on meat purchases. Dozens of huge meat packing plants for chicken, beef, and pork have closed due to Corona infected workers in the last two weeks.

Photo by Stijn te Strake on Unsplash

We saw on the news this week milk producers pouring milk down the drains, farmers tilling under entire crops of potatoes, lettuce and tomatoes. It saddened me to read that 2 million chickens would be “humanely euthanized” and destroyed. At the same time the WHO is forecasting multiple major famines, and Americans out of work and hungry, are lining up 5,000 at a time at overwhelmed food banks.

These perverse outcomes harken back to the great depression of the 1930’s when farmers couldn’t sell food because the people who were starving had no jobs or money. Sometimes capitalism results in a deadlock, and it took major government intervention to right the ship. We aren’t quite there yet, but we do have some perverse outcomes from contract farming and “Just in Time Inventory”.

The idea behind Just in Time Inventory means companies try to avoid as much cost as possible with storing, maintaining, and paying taxes on idle inventory. The idea is to have inventory arrive only at the precise time it is needed. The flip side is that it results in very little elasticity in supply chains – options are severely constrained.

As of April 24th, the National Potato Council estimated there was about a billion dollars worth of potato products backed up because of closed distribution channels, like restaurants. The farmers grow specialized varieties for a limited number of buyers and can’t readily pivot when the buyers stop buying. They have to make the difficult choice of continuing to invest additional labor and costs into a crop or cutting their losses. In essence, it comes down to their individual short term financial decisions, which can sometimes be at odds with the national or global need.

Photo by Jyrki Nieminen on Unsplash

With chickens it’s a bit different. Major brands like Tyson hire growers to raise batches of chickens on a contract basis and provides the chicks and the feed. The growers compete with each other for bonuses, and can only supply those chickens to their contracted partner. The meat processing plants began to have their labor affected by Corona virus and had to shut down, leaving the contract growers in a bind. It costs a lot of money to maintain grown chickens, or ‘idle inventory’.  They also can’t sell to anybody else, so they (or the meat company) make the only financial decision they can – destroy the chickens. The chickens were eventually going to be killed for food anyway, but something just seems very wrong about creating life just to destroy it without benefit.

The end result is that grocery stores are now starting to ration out meat and other items as supply chains start to seize up. Indeed the President has invoked Defense Production Act this week to compel the plants to stay open. I’m guessing this will sort itself out in a month or two as workers recover and get back on the job and wait the 8-10 weeks for new chickens to be raised.

These outcomes were not completely unforeseen, and there are many lessons to learn from all of this. A plastics plant in Pennsylvania was able to get volunteer workers to live isolated at the plant for 28 days in order to insulate from outside infection and produce critical raw material for masks and other PPE. Maybe this is something that can done on a larger scale a meat processing plant for a short time. Issuing workers N95 masks and instituting strict controls and daily testing to help slow infection between them would be another alternative.

The reliable hamburger isn’t as reliable anymore, but we won’t starve, and we will have to roll with the Strange New Normal that is 2020 and beyond.

A fitting quote:

“I do. ‘Cause we’re not talking about sushi, it’s hamburgers.

I’m not kidding around,

it’s… these things. The everyday things.

The everyday American things.

The 99 cent things

that, when you suddenly have to be afraid of them, strike at the center of our equilibrium.”

-Aaron Sorkin, aka Toby Ziegler, West Wing

Al Fresco

On the lighter side, no one knows how restaurants will be able to operate yet, to keep their customers safe but just as importantly their serving staff too.

Here is one restaurant in the Netherlands that has an idea for diners outside.

One thing I particularly enjoy about life is serendipity. In fact, the reason I’m contributing to this blog is because of a connection that goes back to my college days.

When something like the above comes along, curiosity gets the better of me, and I simply MUST know more about it. What language is that? Where is this place? Who thought of it, the owner or the waitress? I appreciate cleverness, and this is both timely and clever.

Now for the serendipitous part: the language is Dutch and a friend helped track down the visual clues to a restaurant in Amsterdam.

Wait…Amsterdam? I was there 3 months ago! In fact, I stayed in a hotel only 1.3 km away from this place. It was my first time in that part of Europe. Rainy and gloomy that time of year, but I’m sure the canals are beautiful in the summer. Hopefully I’ll get to go back to Amsterdam when the world begins traveling again, and when I do, this restaurant will have a new customer.

That’s what I’d humbly suggest everyone takes away from this ordeal; that this may be our new normal, and we haven’t figured it all out yet. So try to recognize and relish the little things that you would not have ordinarily encountered in your pre-COVID-19 existence. For instance: outside of Italy, “al fresco” dining simply means eating outside, like the video above, loosely translating from “in the cool [air]” according to Wikipedia. Italians though, say “fuori” for outside or “all’aperto” for “in the open [air]”. If you were to say “al fresco” in Italy, the expression means “in prison.”

Photo by Krisztina Papp on Unsplash

How apropos for us now.

The New Normal In Food

Photo by Ethan Hu on Unsplash

I vividly recall my last dinner at a restaurant in SF in early March. I was with my wife, Sarah, along with hundreds of diners before the shelter-in-place, and before any of us understood the impact COVID-19 would have on our lives.

So much has changed since then.

In the last few weeks, we’ve all seen restaurants that we love struggle to adapt and even shut down. Locanda, Delfina and many others that we know and love in the Bay Area will not return. Large and small restaurant owners I’ve spoken with are down 60% or more from their usual sales, and as a result, have had to let most of their staff go.

As part of brainstorming solutions to help get people back on their feet, I’ve found myself considering the inevitable lasting impact COVID-19 will have on the food industry. The food and restaurant landscape is one that has long fascinated me. I led an investment in Grubhub while at Lightspeed in 2011 partly because I loved its mission to help small independent restaurants more effectively compete with larger chains. The last month however, has brought a dislocation in the restaurant space that no one could have predicted and I believe will permanently change how we eat, the ways in which we order food at home and the ways in which restaurants interact with their customers.

While its certainly early in the broader cycle of change, here are my thoughts about how the industry is likely to evolve over time and what I am seeing from innovators in the space. A number of these were emerging trends pre-COVID, but have been radically accelerated by the consumer behavioral shifts we will continue to see.  Some others are unexpected changes that have created opportunities for the most flexible merchants to still serve customers’ needs regardless of size.

It’s hard to imagine dining in the same way again.  Here is what I expect we will see in the coming months and years as we try to re-enter day to day life post shelter-in-place.

Dining in at restaurants become a luxury, and a far more infrequent occurrence

While there are likely to be pockets of the country that don’t take the health implications as seriously and will continue to dine out with regularity, most urban environments will see dramatically lower dine-in traffic for the next 2-4 years as the emotional overhang of shelter-in-place and likely aftershocks weighs heavily on us.  

Photo by Erik Mclean on Unsplash

Three factors will drive the success of most restaurants (particularly the high-growth sector of fast casual)

  1. Drive-thru, pick up and curbside availability. This is must have for most restaurants going forward. In just a few weeks, it’s been incredible to watch restaurant owners add these capabilities where there were none. For example, Jamba Juice franchisees created a new “pop up” drive-thru by setting up a tent outside of the store in the parking lot.  These additions are significant in meeting consumers and addressing their need for convenience and safety.
    1. Rationalized rents and square footage per unit. Smaller ones will likely be able to survive more easily while larger per unit footprints will struggle to replicate their pre-COVID traction particularly if they lack drive-thru capabilities as foot traffic and table density are unlikely to be what they were before (e.g., Cracker Barrel)
    1. Customer acquisition and communication. Restaurants that can communicate with their customers directly without reliance on “passerby” foot traffic or third-party aggregators will be advantaged.

There will be an explosion of new “products” offered by traditional restaurants:

Restaurants will need to be creative around what “products” they offer their customers. The decision people made to dine out was often driven by one or more of a number of “need states”: wanting to get out of the house, to experience great service, to try new foods that are often more complex than what they could/would make at home, or to simply avoid the burden of shopping, food preparation and cooking. Sophisticated restaurants will recognize those needs and do what they can to serve as many of them as they can. While COVID mitigates the ability for restaurants to replicate the great service that people enjoy from dine-in restaurants, there are a number of ways that restaurants are creatively addressing the other “need states”

Photo by Scott Warman on Unsplash
  • Restaurants will morph into mini grocers, meal kit providers and grab-and-go providers: Many grocers have become mini-restaurants over the last few years with enhanced hot food offerings and their own fast casual concepts.  Get ready for the trend to swing the other way. You can easily find ramen shops selling “ramen kits,” sandwich shops like McAlister’s Deli starting to sell cold-cuts, Moe’s Southwest Grill selling taco kits and restaurants adding “grab and go” offerings of pre-made best sellers. It’s happening across independents and national chains. It will continue.  They have the labor, the ingredients and the brand credibility and have a need to optimize revenue per square foot and make up for lost revenue from reduced dine in transactions and more space required between tables for social distancing purposes. This is not only tapping into the “meals at home” trend but it also expands the restaurant dayparts to give traditional lunch concepts a real platform to drive nighttime and weekend business.
  • Restaurants will seek to drive more delivery and take out volume but reduce their dependency on third party aggregators: The first area that many restaurants will try (if they haven’t historically) to maximize is delivery and take out volume. Many will weigh whether to double down on working with delivery aggregators (Grubhub, Uber Eats, Doordash). While this is a short-term band-aid, I am hearing increasingly from restaurants that the commissions (which have reached >20% on some platforms) have become unbearable. I expect to see a set of new tools that are architected around driving the restaurant direct consumer traffic, providing them better tools to manage those customer relationships and avoid the 3rd party commissions. I also expect this to have the impact of putting pressure on those aggregators to lower commissions across the board
  • Safety will be table stakes but can represent opportunities for branding or even unique experiences: We will see restaurants go far beyond the typical requirements and operations of a restaurant with increases in protective equipment and processes in order to build reputation for being clean and safe.  These will be important drivers of employee retention and customer satisfaction/loyalty. This will show up in employee uniforms, lights and innovations that automatically disinfect surfaces, anti-viral surfaces, innovative packaging and even new employees that do nothing but “sanitize”. It will require added investment, operational execution and storytelling of those enhanced capabilities. In the way that news of a foodborne illness has crippled sales for independents and national chains alike, stories of illness that are believed to be caused by operational negligence will drive customers and employees to competition to build more trust around safety.  In the last several weeks, I’ve spoken to one head of a well-known high-end restaurant group that is actively looking at cost estimates to build private booths for every table in the restaurant which would potentially include protective shields.  In general, I expect to see a much more rapid adoption of contactless dining technologies from scannable QR codes that unlock menus for mobile ordering to attempts to replace waiters and waitresses with robots.
  • Ghost kitchens (and iterations of them) will thrive: Ghost kitchens are food preparation and cooking facilities that are delivery only. They have been the source of a lot of venture capital investment and buzz over the last few years and I believe that they will play more of a role in the food world after current dislocation. What will be interesting to see is how they show up: Restaurants that close could themselves be repurposed as small ghost kitchens if the location and economics work. They will be well positioned to dynamically launch brands, optimize merchandizing through data and ultimately build big businesses in a way that many independents and even larger chains are unable to. They still require density, as the volume is off premise only via third parties (and less profitable as a result, but it does feed the opportunities for ghost kitchens)
  • It’s time to let people cook and sell food out of their homes: This is the time for an Airbnb for home chefs/cooks to thrive. I know it sounds crazy, but I still recall the skepticism in investment partner meetings about how crazy it was to get in a stranger’s car through an app in 2011.  COVID has displaced or will displace tens of thousands of restaurant employees in the United States. Chefs, cooks and others that love to prepare food for others and will have nowhere to do it. But what I think about are the millions of people, many of whom may now be unemployed or underemployed, that love to cook food or for whom food is a core part of their culture. In fact, there are likely far more people with a passion for cooking who would happily make and sell food than there are restaurant owners or people that work at restaurants. The issue is that opening a restaurant is hard and scary for most people: securing space, hiring people, securing licensing and insurance and having faith that you can attract customers is not for everyone. Even working at a restaurant as a chef or a cook can require a big-time commitment each week and often rigid schedules.

For years, people have leveraged platforms like Facebook, Nextdoor and Instagram to build private gray market “restaurants” and sell food that they prepare in their homes to local community members.  There has never been a better time aggregate all of these talented cooks and chefs onto a single platform providing them a way to earn a living while staying at home and doing what they love.  If done successfully, this will serve a core need of the customers to try different (and more complex) forms of food that they can’t cook themselves and offer a variety unmatched by the current restaurant landscape. The regulatory environment has been the key hurdle for this approach historically but with record unemployment and restaurant closings this may be the time it can finally break through. This is also an enabler of another form of independent work that can empower those often left behind in times of crisis.  If successful, this has the potential to be one of the more scalable and disruptive models that may emerge on the other side of COVID over the long term

Breaking Bread

The history of bread is fascinating. We don’t know the precise time that humans started making bread. We’ve found evidence that perhaps materials were stone-ground to make it long before the remains of bread and dough were found in places like Egypt and Rome.

What we do know is that bread has historically been an important part of human history and culture, with types of bread going in and out of vogue much like suntans. There were periods of history where the whitest bread was sought after while poorer people had whole grained versions with seeds. Eventually, white bread became associated with being poor as it was enriched with vitamins and things that were missing in children’s diets. There’s a great TED video about the amazingness of Wonder Bread. I was in the audience for this talk, and the talk wasn’t the only thing that impressed me. I fell for classic group think. The speaker asked who in the audience loved Wonder Bread and nobody raised their hands. Even me, and I love Wonder Bread. I looked around the room fearing being judged while others looked around doing the same. My childhood nostalgia of Oscar Mayer meats on Wonderbread with yellow mustard started feeling like a dirty secret.

She then asked who likes artisanal organic bread and overwhelmingly, everyone raised their hands. She then shamed us all for damning much of the world to starvation. One, it could not be made at any scale that could feed the world and two, lacked the nutrients of factory produced white bread. In many parts of the world, the inexpensive nature of such bread could save so many lives.

Some of us right now have the ability to shelter in place for Covid-19 and those who have turned to bread making in overwhelming numbers. Every chat, photo sharing site etc. has photographs of people making bread and pizza dough. If you try to order yeast right now, you’ll quickly find that you won’t be able to get it. There are packaged yeast shortages everywhere. However, for those who are patient, you can catch and cultivate your own yeast starter. There’s a myriad of ways to get yeast as it is all around us.

In the early days of bread making, a lot of yeast was cultivated from wine or beer, which gave bread a variation of flavors. Before the introduction of yeast in bread making however, bread was harder and not fluffy often looking kind of like pita bread. The crafty romans turned bread making into an art form.

So, why now, of all the things we could make when we have spare time in the kitchen, are we turning to bread?

I’ve asked a few people and here are the thoughts that were shared with me.

  • It is challenging to make bread, but not overly challenging. So, when you succeed at making a good loaf, you feel incredibly accomplished.
  • Bread photographs well. It makes you feel safe when you look at it.
  • Reminds you of a time where there was abundance. Now things feel scarce.
  • Makes you dream of eating out in restaurants again. It’s often the first thing that gets served – the bread bowl and bread is known for being shared socially.
  • It smells good while it is baking.
  • It’s a conduit for other things – avocados, jam, butter, vinegar etc.
  • Everyone else was doing it, so…..

There isn’t a shortage of bread in the grocery stores, so the rush to bake it from scratch is incredibly interesting. It isn’t as interesting as the need to have an abundance of toilet paper or bottled water during dark times, but interesting enough to ponder.

I do know that the future holds more bread. As dietary fads come and go, bread in its various forms is here to stay. We now have breads made out of everything you can imagine. We’re able to get flours that the Romans never dreamed were possible.

However, while we ponder this, we shouldn’t make the mistake of thinking that this is the “healthy” way to make bread. It is actually a luxury or a product of circumstance to make bread this way. If you are making it this way because you *have* to, then I suspect you are also spending many many hours in fields and doing other types of hard labor. If you are doing this because you don’t have to, be mindful about the bread, think of the history and be thankful that it is so abundant. Like a lot of human miracles, the mass production of bread is actually a really beautiful thing that has prevented many people from dying, while also freeing up time to do other things.

What are your thoughts on bread right now? Also, do you have any recipes you want to share with everyone? I’ve also seen funny posts about people stapling yeast to lamp posts in the street so that people can come grab a starter with social distancing. Let me know what sort of bread trends you might be seeing in the comments.