Dubious Achievements of 2020 – Food Edition

Everyone around the world can agree on one thing — and only one thing: the year 2020 was hell.

While we’re hoping in 2021 we can get to a point — worldwide — where we can party again like it was 2019 — instead of just New Zealand, awards season is upon us and considering movie theaters closed, concerts were cancelled, even TV productions shut down, bragging rights are well…dubious.

With that in mind — and in no particular order of any significance, I submit the following Dubious Awards 2020 Food Edition:

McDonald’s

While many restaurants closed forever, and others scrambled to provide takeout, not only was McD’s advertising on TV in March at the beginning of most lockdowns in the U.S., they were offering free meals to ‘frontline workers’. Yes, the purveyors of the least healthiest prepared food was giving it away to…healthcare workers. No need to worry about COVID, instead run up your blood pressure, cholesterol and have a heart attack instead.
Award: 4 Humbugs

Farmers Who Plowed Under Their Crops

It’s not just that they had no Plan B to sell their produce, some didn’t even try to use their distribution sources to deliver to alternate destinations such as grocery stores (local and otherwise), hospitals (which never closed), networking with other farms to bring goods to farmer’s markets, selling direct and having customers bring their own containers (for example, saving that milk jug and refilling at the dairy — recycling at its best). Besides the dearth of fresh meat, veggies and fruits at the grocery stores, foodbanks were hit hard which compounded the tragedy since the U.S. is one of the few countries that has always been blessed to produce enough food to feed all the people thanks to its farmlands and the farmers that run them. Toilet paper is not the kind of fiber suitable for human ingestion.
Award: ½ Humbug for the non-existence of a Plan B and no one building a baseball field on that acreage.

Food Businesses That Went Direct

There is a produce and dairy wholesaler in the Boston area, who, almost overnight, shifted their business to local consumption when they realized their B to B customers (restaurants) were closing and people still needed to eat even if restaurants close. Started with word of mouth and social media and within weeks were making more home deliveries than when they only had business customers. They even partnered with wholesalers of other food goods to bring a range of groceries to the people — and they had to hire extra personnel.
Award: 10 big Ho Ho Hos for getting the food delivered, saving multiple businesses, thinking outside the box and 1 Humbug since I don’t live in the Boston area.

Grocery Store Chains

No sales (except on junk food). No coupons (on anything). Massive pile ups in the produce and dairy aisles (which I skirted by 10 feet). Not all apologized for the inability to keep well stocked. None of them waived or reduced delivery fees and they just raked in the money since everyone was cooking (and buying anything that the few open stores sold). None enforced social distancing or the one-way aisles.
Award: 10 big Humbugs, 1 Ho Ho Ho to the chain which apologized for not keeping up with consumer demand. 2 Ho Ho Hos to those who actually limited number of customers in/out and my blood pressure needed that.

Beer, Wine and Assorted Alcoholic Beverages

Liquor stores were deemed ‘essential’. (???!!!!@#$##$%^&) If alcohol is part of the food pyramid why is there a ‘sin tax’ on those items? And yet, clothing stores were closed. The message apparently was that we were all supposed to stay home and sit around naked drinking copious amounts of alcohol. DUIs/DWIs went down, yet there are no stats on ER calls for drunken accidents in houses/apartments/condos. As for the Ina Garten-sized cocktails on those zoom happy hours, that’s six months’ worth of alcohol at one sitting. What in the world were you thinking????
Award: Hmmm…ho….hum….WTF???

Nothing Kale Flavored

While some of us were trying to buy nutritional foods, the snack food industry felt they needed to expand their flavor selections to tap into everyone’s ‘free time’ due to a commute less workday. In no particular order:
Coca-Cola flavored Tic Tac
Cinnamon roll flavored Mini Wheat Cereal
Frosted Flakes Cereal Bars
Coca-Cola with Coffee
Pop Tarts Pink Lemonade flavor
Key Lime Pie M&Ms
Turkey & Stuffing Potato Chips
Cotton Candy Microwave Popcorn
Award: Oh, I’m gonna gag. Who is asking for these flavors?

I have not spent the past year baking bread or even eating extreme amounts of bread, didn’t participate in any zoom happy hours and even forgot to have a birthday drink, and only bought one bottle of wine (in November and still unfinished). Instead, I patronized the farmers’ market in the summer to keep them in business, snacked on air popped white cheddar popcorn, kept up my exercise schedule, ate more fish and veggies and lost 10 pounds.

I am awarding myself 5 Ho Ho Hos for Excellence in Quarantine Survival Skills.

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