School nutrition professionals in South Carolina are reporting an uptick in demand for free school meals as schools are closed because of the coronavirus pandemic. Meantime, officials report the pandemic has affected food availability and are seeking leeway from the federal government for the types of foods eligible for federal reimbursement.
Some California vintners are trading mainstay grapes such as cabernet and chardonnay for new-to-the-area albarino, grenache and chenin blanc varieties. San Luis Obispo's Tangent Wines is among the albarino pioneers with 45 acres of the varietal planted, former sommelier Leo Steen Hansen's eponymous Healdsburg winery has focused on chenin blanc since 2004 and winemaker Angela Osborne of Santa Barbara's A Tribute to Grace makes grenache while "drawing on the variety's lusciousness while keeping her wines light, almost ethereal," Ray Isle writes.
In an informal survey of friends and neighbors enjoying wine while practicing social distancing, wine writer Lettie Teague observed wine being used to call up happy memories and conjure gentler times. Teague selected the 2017 Roagna Dolcetto d'Alba "because I had a fond memory of meeting the warm Roagna family -- Alfredo and Luca, father and son -- during a trip to Piedmont with my husband last year," she writes.
Chefs and home cooks alike are turning to comfort food recipes to keep their spirits up while in isolation. Cookbook author Nik Sharma is sharing recipes with followers online drawn from his Indian background and California's food landscape, emphasizing adaptability during this time when many people must cook with what they have on hand.
Chipotle Mexican Grill isn't putting new menu item development on hold but it is postponing release plans until after the pandemic. New items in the works include brisket and cauliflower rice, CEO Brian Niccol said.
Restaurant chains that are pausing planned promotions and ad campaigns are instead devoting more resources to community causes during the pandemic. KFC is giving franchisees extra chicken to donate in their communities and Taco Bell is backing "No Kid Hungry" and using its Taco Trucks to feed health care workers.
Longtime Denver restaurateurs Lee Goodfriend and David Racine will reopen Racine's after the pandemic, but only to give the eatery's many fans a chance to say goodbye before they close for good and retire on Jan. 15, 2021. The duo, along with the late Dixon Staples, built a trio of Denver restaurants that over time became part of the Mile High City's history.
School nutrition professionals in Minnesota continue to go to work each day -- along with other essential employees on the front lines of the pandemic -- to serve meals to students while schools are closed. Shannon Wolner, the kitchen manager for one district said, "Every day, everybody here puts in 100% and we're exhausted at the end of the day, but just to be feeding over a thousand students a day or more is exciting for us."
Suggestions for being a mindful eater include having set meal times during the day, focusing on food and not distractions while eating and choosing snacks responsibly, dietitians said. Registered dietitian nutritionist Sydney Greene said to watch out for portion sizes if snacks are in a bag or box, and use a plate or bowl to limit amounts.
FDA Deputy Commissioner Frank Yiannas on Thursday said US food supply chains are strong despite a rush on some items -- such as toilet paper, rice, beans and some baking ingredients -- that may be caused by state lockdowns. Yiannas also said there is no evidence that COVID-19, the infection caused by the novel coronavirus, is associated with food or food packaging.
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