Web Exclusives #4: “It Wasn’t Tokyo, But It Would Do”

*For our recently published special issue, “Food in the Time of COVID-19”, we received more submissions than we could accommodate in the print version of the issue, so the following article forms part of a series of submissions which will be published as Web Exclusives which speak to the theme of Gastronomica 20.3.

By Dana Jennings Jelter

March 31, 2020: San Francisco, CA

Last year, we ate the freshest sashimi in Tokyo.

This year, we argued over how long we should scorch the pizza box.

We’re not food snobs. OK, he’s not a food snob. I get a little snobby, but only if it’s on one of three special occasions when we allow ourselves to have an “elevated dining experience.” He hates when I say elevated. Maybe I am a food snob.

Our anniversary has always been a time to splurge, a day to do something memorable and outside our comfort zone. For me, it usually involves food.

Twelve months ago, it meant crossing my dream foodie vacation off our bucket list. During COVID-19, it meant ordering take-out.

I dug through my box of sculpting supplies for a wrinkled pair of plastic gloves I’d normally use while molding toxic clay. Now, I’d use them to swipe my credit card.

I raised the box of gloves in an offering to my partner who shook his head. He opted for stretching the sleeves of his waffle-print thermal down over his fingers as he turned the metal knob of our outermost apartment door. We pulled our masks over our heads and down our faces. A familiar uniform, we actually felt lucky to have respirators left over from last year’s wildfires.

Lucky, for two devastating events within a year. An earthquake would really complete the trifecta, we joked darkly.

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