[adrotate group="3"]

Enjoy your eating and drinking, life is about variety and I’m certainly not going to stop drinking wine or cocktails. If you say “I’m into wine and don’t like beer,” that’s like saying, “I only listen to jazz”. You’re missing the entire rest of the world of music.
— Garrett Oliver, author of The Brewmaster’s Table: Discovering the Pleasures of Real Beer with Real Food

Each week on Sunday morning we like to range outside the customary Food & Dining Magazine coverage area to examine items of broader “edible and potable” interest. To begin today’s potpourri, allow me to recommend Oliver’s seminal text. First published in 2003, The Brewmaster’s Table remains an essential reference book for pairing beer with food, and learning more about both. If the book isn’t stocked at Carmichael’s Bookstore, they can order it for you.

Although it may come as a surprise, the COVID-19 pandemic is far from over. From Texas comes this report from Eater Houston: “Multiple Houston Restaurants Close Again as Workers Contract COVID-19,” even as state government prepares to authorize increased indoor seating capacities.

Following Texas governor Greg Abbott’s decision to allow restaurants to reopen at limited capacity, a number of restaurants across the Houston area have been forced to re-shutter their doors temporarily as their employees tested positive for COVID-19 … on June 12, restaurants will be allowed to increase their capacity from 50 percent occupancy to 75 percent, which means that more restaurant workers contracting COVID-19 — and more temporarily closed eateries — are highly likely in the coming weeks.

So, what about those employees? According to the Indianapolis Star, “For health and financial reasons, tipped employees see dilemma in returning to work.”

The spread of the novel coronavirus is still a concern as restaurant employees interact with customers. Staff members know their own regimen of safety precautions, but those taken by guests aren’t a sure thing.

“You start thinking, ‘If this keeps going, what are we going to do?’ ” a restaurant employee told the reporter.

“At the same time, I’m afraid to go back to work. And only a crazy person wouldn’t be. It’s strange. I’m as eager to get back as I am trepidatious. I don’t have wisdom to impart, but I certainly have fear and excitement.”

Restaurant operators have plenty of stress on their plates; the desired return to normality seems highly abnormal, at least so far. Last week Food & Dining Magazine’s Michael L. Jones took a closer look at one of these 800-lb gorillas. 

We are being conned — the TRUTH about Delivery Apps (Part 1)
We are being conned — the TRUTH about Delivery Apps (Part 2)
We are being conned — the TRUTH about Delivery Apps (Part 3)

Marty Rosen’s introduction to the series also is recommended, and we were gifted with a postscript: “Grubhub is acquired by Just Eat Takeaway, then sued by YUM Brands. Somewhere, a dog barks.”

In conclusion, a recent feature at 1843 Magazine (sister publication of The Economist) provides a multi-cultural jolt.

Indian tequila: one man’s quest to perfect a national spirit
What happens when you try making tequila, Mexico’s national drink, in India? Alex Travelli downs a glass to find out
In a quiet part of Goa on the west coast of India, three identical enamelled cups were perched on a bar. Each contained a clear alcohol. In one cup was a local Indian spirit. The other two had different brands of mezcal. This spirit is made from agave, a plant grown across a semi-arid swathe of Mexico, the best-known variant of which produces tequila. To judge the drinks, a veteran of boozy sabbaticals in Oaxaca, the spiritual home of all mezcals, sipped from each cup twice. He couldn’t identify the Indian impostor.
Why should anyone care which was mezcal or the home-grown approximation? The pursuit of authenticity is a funny thing. The bizarre case of India’s first and only agave spirit is a prime example of that.