There is a special connection that happens around the dinner table, breaking bread with loved ones, the ritual of sharing a meal is intrinsic to the foundation of family. Food is not just calories, it’s the shared experience of eating together. And while eating together is happening more often for many families, it is not happening in restaurants.
As the host of countless important occasions and celebrations, restaurants succumbed to the closure early during quarantine lockdown; there was just no way to ensure safe and sanitized dining rooms during a pandemic. While some restauranteurs closed entirely, and some permanently, others pivoted, emerging seemingly overnight as a gourmet grocery store, meal delivery kit service, bodega or soup kitchen. The boundless creativity that we admire most when we dine out was not on our plate but instead filling our feeds with completely new offerings.
This all-hands-on-deck approach is a dance farmers know all too well. They are also feeling the pinch, this time not from some limitation to exports or from a particularly grueling harvest. They are deep in the trenches with their chef compatriots and restauranteurs who rely on canola oil as their primary go-to cooking oil in the kitchen. The reciprocity of this relationship brings a constant and secure balance for both industries. Access to quality, safe Canadian ingredients is integral to restauranteurs long term. Both are at the mercy of this terrible virus what will undoubtedly be a burden for years to come.
Canadians cannot eat enough of what we grow to get us out of world market disruptions and we can’t possibly order enough takeout to solve all of their problems but we can certainly show our support to one another.
But we all still need to eat. With the world on pause, more and more Canadians are cooking at home, a necessity of the times but also a disruption to the industry going forward. Our efforts as consumers need to reflect this situation, we need a reminder while this pandemic is temporary, the loss of business for some won’t be.
Farmers are urging Canadians to order up and order in. If you have room in your budget for even one takeout meal a week it could very well make or break your local restaurant. Showing your support now is critical, picking up takeout or delivery and sharing your feast with the #CanadaTakeout are simple and effective ways for food lovers to unite. Each Wednesday, or any other day, farmers are calling on consumers to broadcast this message of togetherness, of hopefulness and of loyalty.
Framed under the barn doors and silos that feed us, farmers unite under the same refrain; we’re with you. We understand the fight you’re facing and we’re right in it with you. The message is on full display in Canola Growers’ recently released video titled Field to Table, Eat Well Together.
The rush of anticipation, the pleasure and engagement of dining, the flood of senses, the long-awaited reservation, of being together and present, these are moments we gush over; but only if we fight for it.
Eat Well…Libby Roach
Libby is a food editor at auburnlane.com and photographer based out of Toronto, ON.
Her creative passion lies in weaving stories into photographs and creating images that are engaging.