FERN’s Friday Feed: In times of knead

Welcome to FERN’s Friday Feed (#FFF), where we share the stories from this week that made us stop and think.

How King Arthur Flour wound up in the crosshairs of the pandemic


“King Arthur had reason to feel its reputation was on the line. As both a premium and bestselling brand treasured by both professional and home bakers, the company had worked diligently over not just years, but centuries, to establish a trusting relationship with customers,” writes David H. Freedman. “The fear of losing that hard-earned goodwill would set off a frantic effort at the employee-owned company to scale up production — even as it was sending home most of its employee-owners, as the company calls them.”

A day in the life of a grocery delivery man

The New York Times

“The possibility of getting sick is a reality … thousands of … workers in New York City’s gig economy have had to face each day as they venture out onto the city’s streets not only to earn a living, but also to feed other residents,” writes Aaron Randle. “Yet for many of these workers, their initial terror has been steeled with a sense of duty and pride. ‘It’s all about us right now,’ said Gerald Timothee, who delivers groceries for Instacart in New York City. ‘We are holding this city together. I feel like a hero.’”

Eating to work, and survive. What could be better?

New York Magazine

The art critic Jerry Saltz explains how his lifelong dispassion toward food — “A snack for me was cutting off all the crusts of an entire loaf of white bread, wadding up the dough into a big ball, sitting in front of the TV, and eating it. I pretended I was a carp snipping and snapping at the ball till it was gone” — turned out to be the perfect approach to eating during a pandemic.

What can restaurants do if customers refuse to take precautions?


“At the Starbucks where she works, Elizabeth and her coworkers are doing everything they can to protect against the coronavirus,” writes Gaby Del Valle. “They take their temperatures at the beginning of every shift, wash their hands every 30 minutes, wear masks at all times, and do their best to stay 6 feet apart from each other while preparing lattes and frappuccinos. But they can’t control their customers.”

Nosh and braid: The food culture at black hair salons.


“Atlanta is the capital of black hair. It’s also the locus of a robust network of home cooks serving those doing hair and those getting our hair done,” writes Rosalind Bentley. “Shannon, who came up working in her stepmother’s salon here, said she’s never worked at a beauty shop where someone didn’t come by selling plates. There’s a scene in the 2005 comedy Beauty Shop, set in Atlanta, where a character hawks a cart full of soul food, from pig knuckles to Sock-It-To-Me cake. Vendors like that usually showed up at Shannon’s old shop.”