World Food Programme takes home the Nobel Peace Prize
The World Food Programme (WFP), a United Nations agency and the world’s largest humanitarian organization dedicated to combating hunger and food insecurity, has won the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee chose the WFP “for its efforts to combat hunger, for its contribution to bettering conditions for peace in conflict-affected areas and for acting as a driving force in efforts to prevent the use of hunger as a weapon of war and conflict,” according to the Nobel Prize announcement. Last year the WFP “provided assistance to close to 100 million people in 88 countries who are victims of acute food insecurity and hunger,” per the press release.
The committee highlighted the WFP’s work during the pandemic, a crisis during which hunger levels have surged around the world, especially in countries already devastated by conflict, poverty, and climate disaster. The pandemic, “with its brutal impact on economies and communities, is pushing millions more to the brink of starvation,” the WFP wrote in a statement about the award.
The WFP, whose funding depends on voluntary donations, will receive a cash prize of 10 million Swedish kroners, or $1.1 million, as part of the Nobel Peace Prize.
And in other news…
European cities are closing bars and pubs as coronavirus cases resurge. [CNN]
A coronavirus outbreak at a Vermont apple orchard sickened 26 migrant farmworkers. [WCAX]
A Pennsylvania server who asked a customer to wear their mask found that the patron didn’t leave her a tip, just a scribbled “MASK” on the receipt. [ABC7]
Pizza Sausage Rolls wrapped in bagel dough with Italian chicken sausage, marinara and mozzarella make a fun recipe your whole family will love.
Pizza Sausage Rolls
I’m excited to share these tasty Pizza Sausage Rolls with you! I love pizza and like to eat it in different creative ways, like this French Bread Pizza Caprese or this Breakfast Pizza. These rolls take classic Italian sausage pizza ingredients and wrap them in my bagel dough. They’re perfect for appetizers, home school lunches, and dinner for the whole family. To save time, you can also use store bought pizza dough instead.
Are sausage rolls healthy?
Typically, sausage rolls aren’t the healthiest – that’s why I wanted to recreate them. The biggest culprit for fat and calories is usually the sausage, so I used Italian chicken sausage instead of pork. Chicken sausage is significantly lower in fat and calories. I also use my bagel dough, which is full of protein thanks to the non-fat Greek yogurt.
How to Make Pizza Sausage Rolls from Scratch
These baked sausage rolls are very easy to make from scratch.
1. Start with the Greek yogurt bagel dough recipe. If you want to use store bought pizza dough instead that’s perfectly fine too. 2. Divide the dough into four balls and roll into circles. 3. Now, it’s time to add the filling. Cover the dough with sauce and top with the cheese and then a halved sausage link. 4. Wrap the dough around the sausage and bake for 25-30 minutes at 400 degrees.
What goes with sausage rolls?
Italian sausage rolls make an easy lunch for your kids served with marinara sauce, for dipping. And of course, adults love pizza rolls too. If serving as a meal, pair with a big green salad, baked zucchini sticks or your favorite roasted veggies.
Note: I have not tested these with gluten-free flour, but I have made the bagels with cup4cup and had great success so I am sure it will work. You may have to add 5 more minutes to the bake time.
More Sausage Recipes You’ll Love:
Pizza Sausage Rolls
Prep Time: 20mins
Cook Time: 30mins
Total Time: 50mins
Pizza Sausage Rolls wrapped in bagel dough with Italian chicken sausage, marinara and mozzarella make a fun appetizer or snack your whole family will love.
For bagel dough:
1cupunbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting, (5 oz in weight) use cup4cup for GF*
1cupnon-fat Greek yogurt, (should be thick) I recommend Stonyfield
1egg white, beaten (whole egg works fine too)
sesame seeds, for topping (optional)
2raw chicken Italian sausage links, 3 oz total (halved lengthwise) I like Premio
4slicesprovolone or mozzarella cheese
8teaspoonspizza sauce or marinara
marinara sauce, for serving (optional)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place parchment paper or a silpat on a baking sheet. If using parchment paper, spray with oil to avoid sticking.
In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt and whisk well.
Add the yogurt and mix with a fork or spatula until well combined (it will be sticky and look like small crumbles).
Lightly dust flour on a work surface and remove dough from the bowl, knead the dough a few times until dough is tacky, but not sticky, about 15 turns (it should not leave dough on your hand when you pull away). If it’s too sticky, add a few extra sprinkles of flour.
Divide in 4 equal balls.
Working with 1 ball at a time, lightly dust a rolling pin and a work surface and roll dough into a 5 ½” circle, about ¼” thick.
Spread 2 teaspoons pizza sauce down the middle of the circle, leaving about 1/2” border.
Lay 1 slice of cheese in the middle of the circle then top with 1/2 sausage link.
Carefully bring both sides of the dough up, wrap one side around the sausage then the other.
Press dough together so it’s sealed around the sausage and place it on the prepared sheet pan seam side-down.
Repeat with remaining dough, sauce, cheese and sausage.
Brush each with egg wash, top with sesame seeds, if using, and bake for 25-30 minutes.
Allow to cool for 5 minutes then slice into 6 pieces and serve.
*I have not tested these with GF flour, but I have made the bagels with cup4cup and had great success so I am sure it will work. You may have to add 5 more minutes to the bake time.
Between apples, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, and all other manner of autumnal produce, fall is truly the ideal time of year to get into pie-baking. It’s admittedly not the easiest of baking projects, but it just might be the most satisfying. (And as someone who baked a pie every single week last fall, I can confirm that it only gets easier with practice.) With that in mind, I spoke with eight pie-making experts, including pastry chefs, bakery owners, and “London’s King of Pies,” about their favorite essential pie-making tools — from digital scales and rolling pins to pastry brushes and pie plates — and exactly how to put them to use. Ahead, everything you need to start making your own pie from scratch just in time for Thanksgiving (or just because).
Our experts say a food scale is a must-have in any kitchen, but it’s especially crucial when it comes to baking. “Weighing ingredients is the gold standard in a professional kitchen,” says Lani Halliday of Brutus Bake Shop, and it’s particularly useful “for something like pie dough that’s notoriously finicky,” she says. Petra Paredez, owner of Petee’s Pie Company in New York and author of the new cookbook Pie for Everyone,agrees. “Since volume measurements can have drastically different weights, it’s important to weigh certain ingredients for optimal results,” she says, namely “the flour in your crust and the fruit in your filling.” Paredez notes that while “a kitchen scale is one item that not many people use frequently, I think it’s an essential tool for making pies like a pro.”
A good rolling pin is another tool that our experts agree on. Baking expert Erin Jeanne McDowell, author of The Book on Pie (due November 2020), calls it “the ultimate essential tool.” And though she prefers a “French-style, handleless pins with slightly tapered edges,” she says she believes “that hand tools are a personal preference — whatever makes you feel most comfortable is what you should use when it comes to rolling!” Both Paradez and British pastry chef Calum Franklin, who has earned the reputation as London’s “King of Pies” and is the author of The Pie Room (due October 27), agree that it should be on the heavier side. “A heavy pin will help you roll more evenly, as it does a lot of the work for you,” says Franklin.
If you’re just starting out in the pie-baking game, you don’t necessarily want to start baking with a ceramic pie dish,the go-to of experienced bakers. “While glass is my least favorite material, I do like to recommend it for beginners,” says McDowell. “Pies typically need to bake longer than home bakers think, so being able to see through the pan is a good way to start to get that bottom-crust muscle memory.” If you’re more advanced, a ceramic or metal pie plate is the way to go. “I love ceramic for its ability to get the bottom crust nice and crisp,” she says. “And I love metal for its nonstick ability.”
As we learned in our guide to the most ingenious kitchen tools, bench scrapers are one of the best multiuse tools you can have in a kitchen. That goes doubly so for pie-making. “It’s one of my most used baking tools, and I use it constantly when making pie,” says McDowell. “I use its blade to cut butter into cubes or portion pie dough after mixing, and I especially love it for scraping my work surface clean when I’m all done.”
If the bench scraper is the flour, then a solid pastry blender is the butter (to speak in pie-baking terms). As Emily and Melissa Elsen of Four & Twenty Blackbirdstold us a few years ago, they’re necessary for creating a consistent, smooth pie dough. Just be sure yours is dependable. “There are a lot of styles and makes of handheld pastry blenders out there, but most of them are subpar and fall apart,” they say. “OXO got it right. Comfortable, easy to clean, and lasts forever, so you can make a lifetime of pie crust by hand.”
Halliday says another great tool is a high-quality pastry brush that won’t stick to your pie. “To get a beautiful shiny finish or to slick on an egg wash that helps demerara sugar stick, a fluffy pastry brush is a nice-to-have,” she says. Paredez agrees, saying, “Silicone brushes tend to be extra gentle and the egg doesn’t get caught in the base of the bristles, as is the case with a natural-bristle brush.”
Though pie dough can be made in a stand mixer, most homemade pies begin in a big mixing bowl. “A big sturdy mixing bowl over a stand mixer is best,” says Haliday, explaining that “you’ll get the best texture by staying close with it.” She recommends a stainless-steel option.
That said, working with pie dough can be challenging for those just starting out. Paola Velez, pastry chef La Bodega and Maydan and a co-founder of Bakers Against Racism, says a food processor can help. “I use it to make sure that the crust stays nice and cold,” she says. Paradez agrees. “Using a food processor can help you make a delicate, flaky crust every time — and super quickly, too,” she says.
If you consistently find that the edge of your pie crust browns (or even burns) faster than the rest of the top, there’s a fix for that. “How evenly your pie cooks may depend on your oven,” says Paradez. “If you find that the outer edge of the crust is consistently overbaked by the time the center of the pie is done, get a pie crust shield. The aluminum ones are light so they can protect the crust without weighing it down and crushing it.”
If you’re more interested in making savory pies, you’re going to need a good thermometer to keep track of the pie’s internal temperature, as you won’t be able to crack the pie open to check the doneness. “A digital temperature probe will ensure perfectly cooked pies,” says Franklin. “You can take accurate internal temperatures and remove a lot of the guesswork out of cooking.”
There’s also the British tradition of making savory pies that are served outside of the tins they were baked in. Franklin, who’s the executive chef at London’s Holborn Dining Room, recommends purchasing a good springform cake pan to achieve perfect standing pies every time. “It’s the best vessel for a fully free-standing pie,” he says. “And it’s the easiest to line and the easiest to remove your cooked pie from before serving.”
“When I make a custard pie, like pumpkin or sweet potato, I need to blind bake the crust,” says expert baker Melissa Weller, co-author of the upcoming cookbook, A Good Bake. “Blind baking,” she explains, is “when you bake the crust separately before baking the filling in it.” While some bakers, like McDowell, prefer ceramic pie weights, Weller likes the more affordable option of filling parchment paper with dried beans. “I line my pie crust with a piece of parchment paper, which I push down to mold into the shape of the crust, then I pour in two one-pound bags of dried beans,” Weller says. “I use the cheapest beans I can find at my local bodega, since I won’t be eating them. They are the perfect weight to hold down the pie and they’re economical.”
If you’d rather not worry about keeping beans around, ceramic pie weights are your best bet. Just be sure to purchase more than one pack. “It’s important to remember that you need enough weights to fill the pie plate up to the top edge,” says McDowell. “This usually requires three sets of ceramic weights, not one.”
While silicone baking mats might seem like a one-trick pony — good for baking sheets and not much else — Paredez says there’s more to them than meets the eye. “Silicone baking mats have multiple functions for pie-making,” she says. “You can roll dough on it to avoid making a mess on your counter. You can use it to line a baking tray and put a pie on top, so it catches fruit filling that bubbles over — another way of making clean-up easy. If you get a fancy one with circles of various diameters, you can use them as a guide when rolling out your dough.”
An immersion blender falls into the “nice-to-have” category, but if you’re using raw ingredients (like real pumpkin or squash instead of the canned stuff), you may need to blend it to achieve peak smoothness. “You can get away without one, but these are super handy for blending liquid fillings, like pecan and pumpkin, into a silky-smooth consistency,” says Paradez. The Elsens prefer this professional-grade blender from Waring.
Few pie-making tasks are as stressful as creating a beautiful lattice. (Unfortunately, we can’t all be Pieometryauthor Lauren Ko.) Luckily, there’s a tool that can take a lot of the stress out of lattice work. “A lattice roller cutter,” says Franklin. “You can roll it through a sheet of pastry and stretch it over your pie. It is a beautiful way to finish a design and saves you hand cutting a lattice out.” For wider lattice work, try a pastry wheel.
You could certainly peel the five pounds of apples you picked at your local orchard by hand, but it doesn’t have to be that way. The Elsen sisters swear by this $20 apple peeler for getting the job done in record time. “We were skeptical of this contraption at first — it looked to be much more trouble than it was worth — but we were so wrong,” they say. “This peeler is the easiest way to peel, core, and slice all at once.” Best of all, it can also be used to peel other produce like potatoes and pears.
Although cherry season is long over, it will be back. (Maybe it’s returned as you’re reading this very article!) Pitting cherries by hand is another thankless and exhausting task, so buy a good cherry pitter and make your life easier. “It’s beyond easy [to use] and likely also the one that your grandma used,” the Elsens say. “Cherry season is important for pie-makers, and so is efficiency in pitting. Don’t bother with anything else.”
You don’t have to watch a single episode of The Great British Baking Show to know that nothing is more disappointing than a pie with a soggy bottom. Enter Baking Steel. “I love to use something on my oven rack to help conduct heat and ensure I get a crisp bottom crust,” says McDowell. “My preferred choice is the Baking Steel, but a pizza stone is another good choice. Just remember not to take a pie from the freezer right onto the hot stone, as sudden temperature changes could crack either the pie plate or the ceramic pizza stone.”
Outdoor restaurant dining is perhaps the closest we’ve come to a return to normalcy since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic: Sidewalk and patio setups offer a familiar service while, if approached responsibly, mitigate risk. These outdoor dining rooms have remade the landscape of major metropolitan centers and small towns, allowing people to spill into the streets, visit with friends and family, and — for an hour or two — forget about the looming threat of a deadly and highly contagious virus. Outdoor setups have also given restaurants a way to bring back some of their staff and to welcome customers eager for a break from their own kitchens. When restaurateurs and diners alike are mindful and cautious, eating outside has proven to be relatively low risk.
Indoor dining, however, is another story altogether, presenting considerably higher degrees of risk. As temperatures creep lower in parts of the country, and restrictions are loosened in others, dining rooms are reopening: some at a very limited capacity (in San Francisco and New York, for instance), and elsewhere, in states, like Florida and Indiana, with no capacity limits whatsoever. Diners in warmer cities may choose to head indoors simply for a change of scenery as restrictions lift, while those in colder climates won’t have many other options if they want to continue eating out when winter comes.
But a transition indoors should not be treated simply as a continuation of outdoor dining: Indoor reopenings often track closely with spikes in coronavirus cases. A CDC report published in early September found that adults who reported having dined at a restaurant — the report included both indoor and patio diners — were “approximately twice as likely” to have tested positive for COVID-19 as those who did not frequent restaurants. It’s impossible to pin the responsibility for these case spikes on the restaurant industry — nor should we — and in states where cases have risen, there are also other factors that may contribute to increased presence of the virus, such as the loosening of other preventative measures such as mandatory mask-wearing and limits on large gatherings. But at this point in the pandemic, there is no question that indoor restaurant dining is a high-risk activity, regardless of what controls are in place.
“Anytime you’re opting into sitting down and eating at a restaurant, particularly with people, you’re taking on increased risk,” says Marissa Baker, an assistant professor at the University of Washington’s Department of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences. And as your risk increases, so too does the risk for the waiters, bartenders, chefs, and dishwashing staff who make the wheels of a restaurant turn smoothly.
Is there a safe way to eat indoors if my state has lifted capacity restrictions and mask-wearing mandates?
To put it simply: no. Any indoor spaces — particularly those where mask-wearing mandates have been abandoned or were never enforced — create an ideal environment for the spread of COVID-19.
Why is indoor dining inherently riskier than eating outdoors?
To understand the risks associated with indoor dining, it’s important to first understand how COVID-19 is spread.
According to the CDC, the virus is predominantly thought to spread from person to person through droplets produced when someone infected with the virus coughs, sneezes, or talks — or, say, raises their voice as they split a bottle of wine over dinner. These droplets, as Penn Medicine explains, “fall quickly to earth,” meaning that, while there is a high risk of contracting the virus when speaking with or in close proximity to an infectious person, droplets alone do not present an extreme risk once that person is no longer present. Unfortunately, that’s not the whole story.
The CDC recently added an update to their coronavirus webpage, acknowledging that it’s also possible for the virus to be spread by airborne transmission. The update notes that infectious droplets and particles can “linger in the air for minutes to hours” and that past instances of airborne transmissions “occurred within enclosed spaces that had inadequate ventilation.” The virus is spread in this way through aerosols, tiny droplets that “remain infectious when suspended in air over long distances and time,” according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The WHO points to a working theory that larger respiratory droplets generate the airborne aerosols when they evaporate, as well as when an infected person breathes and talks.
“Being in an enclosed space where air is recirculated means that if there are viruses suspended in those aerosols in a room, the longer you spend time unmasked in an enclosed space, the higher the risk of contracting the virus,” says Dr. Russell G. Buhr, a pulmonary and critical care physician at UCLA Health. “It’s tough because the type of non-medical face coverings that we use don’t protect well against aerosols; the particles in aerosols are smaller than the pores between the fabric. The way that people get infected is a combination of how long they are in close proximity to an infectious source, coupled with how much virus they are exposed to.”
Even in restaurant settings featuring spaced-apart tables and barriers between diners, the potential for airborne transmission raises some serious concerns. Restaurants’ often-tiny kitchens place cooks shoulder to shoulder, and those in the space can share the same air for hours. The reality is, restaurant employees will spend hours indoors with one another, and with people who take off their masks to eat.
Some restaurants are touting their HVAC systems as safety measures. Do they work?
On its website, the Environmental Protection Agency stresses the importance of air circulation and filtration in helping to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in indoor spaces: “Although improvements to ventilation and air cleaning cannot on their own eliminate the risk of airborne transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, EPA recommends precautions to reduce the potential for airborne transmission of the virus. These precautions include increasing ventilation with outdoor air and air filtration as part of a larger strategy.”
Ideally, a restaurant offering indoor dining will at the very least have a powerful HVAC system pulling air out of the restaurant, and pumping fresh air in — not a foolproof solution, but one that does help. But as Baker points out, unless these upgrades are being touted on social media or a restaurant’s website, it’s nearly impossible for a diner to know whether a dining room is being filled with fresh air or is simply pumping recycled air back into the dining room and kitchen.
Some restaurants in New York that have enough capital have invested in ultraviolet lamps and MERV-13 HVAC units (an air filtration measure several degrees less powerful than the ones present in hospitals). Le Bernardin, one of New York’s three Michelin-starred establishments, installed a “Needlepoint BiPolar Ionization system tested and proven effective in independent laboratory tests against COVID-19 virus particles,” according to the restaurant’s Resy page. Photojournalist Gary He reported on Eater NY that the Financial District restaurant Crown Shy spent $40,000 adding a bi-polar ionization system to their HVAC units. He notes that because there are still very few peer-reviewed studies on the technology, the efficacy of bi-polar ionization systems is “still up for debate.”
These kinds of measures will assure some diners, but Baker says others will place more trust in the mom-and-pop restaurants they already know and love, where they feel safer despite potentially limited resources to upgrade air filtration and ventilation. “Especially for eating at restaurants, risk perception plays a really big role as to what actions people are going to take,” she says. “And I don’t think that the average person is very influenced by ventilation in their risk calculation. Things like familiarity are going to drive their decision making.”
I’m only going to restaurants without table service. Why are those places still high risk for workers?
To understand the risks of indoor dining, Buhr says to picture a restaurant as a large cube, which contains a certain number of cubic feet of air. Say, for instance, a restaurant contains 1,000 cubic feet of air: “That same 1,000 cubic feet of air is then being stirred through the air conditioner, and recirculated in the space over and over and over again.” A strong and effective filtration system will filter and circulate fresh air, but even the best air filtration system won’t entirely eliminate risk. The remaining risk, while not insignificant for diners, is even more concerning for restaurant workers.
A diner might be exposed to virus particles in the air, or particles expelled by an infected person nearby, during the hour or two while they’re eating their meal. For an employee who spends hours in the restaurant, the risk is exponentially higher. “It’s not like the same 20 people sit in a restaurant for nine hours,” says Buhr. “One restaurant worker may be exposed to 200 or 300 people [every day] who by necessity of dining don’t have their faces covered.”
In protecting workers, it’s crucial that employers provide masks, and that employees properly and consistently wear them. But even this, Baker says, is not enough to negate all risk associated with working indoors. “The worker is encountering multiple people over the course of their shift. … You’re really upping the chance of coming into contact with somebody who may be asymptomatically, or even symptomatically, carrying the virus,” says Baker. “Most of the time we see workers in cloth masks or maybe surgical masks. And although those are protective, over a long period of time and over multiple exposure events, they are not 100 percent foolproof.”
It’s not just diners who pose a threat to the health of restaurant workers: Coworkers may also put each other at risk of infection. In an industry that provides paltry health care and often low pay, many restaurant workers return to the tight confines of dining rooms and kitchens because they can not afford to stay home, even if they are symptomatic or have been recently exposed to the virus. “You could be working shoulder to shoulder on the line or shoulder to shoulder washing dishes,” Baker says. “It can be fairly physical work, so you’re breathing heavily, which is increasing not only any particles coming out of your mouth, but the number of particles that you are potentially breathing in.”
The risk exists whether a restaurant is offering indoor dining or not, but Baker points out that indoor dining inevitably leads to a higher density of customers, and a more rushed kitchen environment. A higher number of orders and table turnovers are “only going to increase the speed in the back of house both for food preparation, and for dishwashing,” she says. “So you’re either going to increase the speed, or you’re going to increase the number of people [needed to work a shift], both of which are related to increased exposure.”
This puts restaurants — and as a result, their workers — in an impossible position: The best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to limit both staff and customers in a restaurant. But the most viable way to meet razor-thin margins and keep a restaurant afloat is to fill a dining room back up with hungry diners as soon as local mandates allow.
When will indoor dining be safe again? How will I know that moment has come?
Diners should make informed decisions about the risk of indoor dining by looking at the rate of community spread in their neighborhood or city. The CDC describes community spread as the number of people who have “been infected with the virus in an area, including some who are not sure how or where they became infected.” The health experts who spoke with Eater agreed that — until a vaccine is widely available and has been distributed throughout the country — an extremely low rate of community spread is the only way to ensure a truly safe indoor dining experience.
The risk of community spread presents a unique challenge when it comes to restaurant dining. “You don’t only go out to eat in your own neighborhood,” Buhr says of most diners during “normal” times. “You go across town to the restaurant that you really want to go to. And so maybe there isn’t an outbreak in Downtown Los Angeles, but there is an outbreak in Beverly Hills, where you happen to live. And so now you’ve taken somebody who’s coming from a high-probability-of-transmission area, and moved them temporarily to a low-probability area. The problems come when people are mixing, and you have people that are shedding the virus interacting with people who are not infected.” The difficulty of containing COVID-19 hot spots can already be seen in cities like New York, where some neighborhoods have been ordered to shut down indoor dining following upticks in coronavirus cases, while others remain open for business as usual.
Diners who keep an eye on community spread as a measure of indoor dining’s safety should be cognizant of the fact that residents in COVID-19 hot spots could be visiting neighborhoods with otherwise-low community spread. The inherently communal nature of restaurants, coupled with the fact that people will gladly travel across town for a good meal, renders community spread an only somewhat trusty reflection of risk level in any given area.
What will it take to make indoor dining as safe as possible?
For restaurants that do choose to reopen, Dr. Elizabeth Noth, a researcher in environmental and occupational exposure science at UC Berkeley, echoes Buhr and Baker in emphasizing the importance of airflow and ventilation to the relative safety of indoor spaces. “Ventilation and clean air is my biggest concern when it comes to what’s going to make an indoor dining experience risky or less risky,” she says.
Beyond ensuring a restaurant has a powerful HVAC system, Noth says the proper distancing of tables and mask wearing by employees is a good indicator of how seriously an establishment is taking both employee and diner safety. “If [a restaurant] is not doing the basics — places that don’t make you wear a mask while you’re waiting in the lobby, if they don’t have their own servers in masks — then you can’t really expect them to be doing much more.” Noth says these are easier signs to look for when evaluating a restaurant’s safety protocol than, say, snooping around to find the HVAC system and trying to figure out how powerful it is. To protect workers, Noth says proper ventilation and safety measures including diligent mask wearing must extend to worker break rooms and communal spaces, pointing to reports of the increased spread of COVID-19 in a hospital break room, where windows were absent and health care workers were less likely to observe the same precautions they did while working.
To enforce proper ventilation, and ensure employers are providing their employees with protective equipment, Baker hopes to see increased government involvement. “We need regulations from federal and state OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) to protect workers at work. That’s the only way that we can ensure that the workers in restaurants are getting the adequate personal protective equipment that they need,” she says.
But making indoor dining as safe as possible isn’t just up to government regulators. It’s a matter of personal choice and good judgement for consumers, too. “It isn’t as simple as just being like, ‘I’m comfortable going out to a bar or a restaurant because I think even if I get sick, I’ll probably be fine,’” says Buhr. “That doesn’t work in public health, because you may be exposing other people to your own unknown infection. We’ve unfortunately gotten to a place where I think the number of deaths has gotten so high that we’ve become a little desensitized to it. As if it’s a little bit more inevitable. And it’s just not really the case.”
Diners have a responsibility to follow every possible safety precaution if they choose to eat indoors, acknowledging the risk not just to themselves, but to all of the workers who make their food, serve them, and clean their dishes. That means staying home if sick, and wearing a mask for as much of the dining experience as possible. It means being gracious and understanding if reminded to put on a mask as a waiter approaches, or to move one’s chair farther away from a neighboring table. It means, in short, treating workers with a level of respect they have always deserved, but which is even more crucial now that it is tied to their health.
“We have to be really patient and thoughtful with everyone who’s working in these restaurants, because they are trying to provide a service at some degree of personal risk,” says Buhr. “What I would really like to see is that everybody who decides to go out to eat — which is really a privilege — treats food-service people with the kind of care and respect that we treat our nurses with. We need to shift a little bit away from this ‘customer’s always right’ mentality to the ‘we’re all in this together’ mentality.” Working together to contain the virus, and showing the utmost gratitude to those on the front lines each day, Buhr says, is the key to getting through this pandemic.
Glenn Harvey is a Filipino illustrator living and working out of Toronto.