Podcast Dispatches from Issue 20.4: Kyoungjin Bae

For our third series of podcasts produced in collaboration with Meant to Be Eaten on Heritage Radio Network, we sit down (virtually) with authors who contributed to our final issue of 2020, which continues to feature COVID-19 Dispatches, but also original research articles around the themes of “Working with Ingredients”, “Taste and Technology in East Asia”, “Excursions”, and “Dolce”.

For this episode, Editorial Collective member Krishnendu Ray is joined by Kyoungjin Bae whose article, “Taste as Governor: Soy Sauce in Late Chosŏn and Colonial Korea” (featured as part of the Taste and Technology in East Asia roundtable), explores the production, consumption, and class implications of soy sauce in Korea from the 18th to the 20th century, a period which included an influx of Japanese commodities on the Korean market as a result of colonization, as well as the more general effects of industrialization on a nation who had brewed their own soy sauce from the early modern period.

Podcast: COVID-19 Dispatches #7

For the seventh episode of our podcast series, produced in collaboration with “Meant to be Eaten” on Heritage Radio Network and dedicated to dispatches from the food world in reaction to the first months of the pandemic (the focus of recently published 20.3 issue), issue editor Bob Valgenti is joined by Dr. Saumya Gupta to discuss her essay, Lockdown Destitution: Delhi, March 2020, in which she describes the enormous challenges faced by millions of working class people in response to India’s national lockdown in March this year, many of whom were forced to flee their cities – places of informal employment (much of it related to selling food, but not deemed “essential” under lockdown) – and the precariousness of education in a country marked by a stark divide in access to the technologies required to accomplish remote learning.

For 30% off single-print issues of “Food in the Time of COVID-19”, use promo code GASTROAUG2020 at checkout.

Podcast: COVID-19 Dispatches #6

For the sixth episode of our podcast series, produced in collaboration with “Meant to be Eaten” on Heritage Radio Network and dedicated to dispatches from the food world in reaction to the first months of the pandemic (the focus of recently published 20.3 issue), issue editor Bob Valgenti is joined by Ashley Rose Young (author of “A COVID-19 Relief Kitchen Created by an Unexpected Advocate”) to discuss the importance of giving voice to and documenting often unseen and unheard – but indispensable – employees in the retail sector and hospitality industry, such as restaurant servers and grocery store employees, many of whom either lost jobs or had no choice but to risk their own health by continuing to work through the pandemic.

For 30% off single print-issues of “Food in the Time of COVID-19”, use promo code GASTROAUG2020 at checkout.

Web Exclusives #5: “The Day that We Closed Our English Public House”

*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 Carina Mansey

March 21, 2020: Bedfordshire, England 

It was a Saturday morning, and, as per the usual, I was on route to the pub. After a sobering walk through the sleepy English market town, I reached the pub and entered via the backdoor. “Hello, team!” I said, waving frantically. My greeting was reciprocated and I took a seat. While Paul was attempting to make me a cuppa, I considered the abnormality of the situation.1 The last time front and back of house congregated like this was for the Christmas party, which had, due to the nature of our work, taken place in February. However, today found us in a very different situation. When we were settled, our manager addressed us, and then we began the deep clean.

While polishing table 3, I looked up at my coworkers. “What is Roger going to do for breakfast?” I asked. Something akin to “He will have to learn to cook” was Paul’s response. “I feel sad for him,” I mumbled. Roger came here every morning, other than on Christmas Day—the only day, up until now, that we closed. While scrubbing the remnants of something that I hoped was ketchup off table 9, I noticed Roger staring through our glass doors. My heart sunk as he read the notices tacked to them. Roger would not find anywhere offering a cooked breakfast because the Prime Minister had closed pubs and restaurants yesterday evening. I then thought of all our regular customers. They were not just my livelihood, they were people, and people I was going to miss. 

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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

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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