This is my video review of Corey Mintz’s: The Next Supper. Below you will find the transcript of the video.
For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Donald McKenzie. For 10 and a half years here in Winnipeg, Manitoba, I wrote a blog called dining with Donald.
I decided to shut it down a few weeks ago, there were a number of factors, one of which the cost of food and dining out kept increasing to the work of trying to keep up with not only the latest trends in the food, but also trying to deal with things like search engine optimization, the fact that Google changes their rules every couple of minutes or something like that, are we so it seems.
I had a bout of COVID-19. That sort of tired me out. So I started to recharge and refocus. Then the fourth thing was the fact that our food systems are in many ways broken. And I think COVID exposed that in a way that we hadn’t seen before.
So one of the things I plan on doing in this new era of writing for me, I am starting a new blog, it will be different than likely to be fewer posts, but posts that are longer and hopefully a little more in depth, and writing about food issues. food sovereignty, food access, and also just generally, theology and food, which is something I’ve been writing about and want to write more about.
So that’s where I’m at. And one of the things I wanted to do was to start doing video book reviews. So I’m starting off with a book called The Next, some supper. And it is by Corey Mintz, who apparently currently lives in Winnipeg, where I’m situated, but has traveled around spent a lot of time in Toronto and also spent some time in New York as well and other places.
A covid project
So this book was inspired by the COVID shutdown of March 2020, are hard to believe we’re coming up on the third anniversary of that shutdown. And in this book, he’s looking at ways in which the restaurant industry in particular, but other areas, like how we shop for groceries, how we prepare food, how we work against food waste, how those could be revitalized, and how we could fix areas that are broken.
Most of the book is dedicated to the things that are broken and how they are broken. So he talks about things like chef driven restaurants, where you, you pay almost in many cases, as a as a sous chef, or somebody wanting to work up their way their way up. You pay for the privilege of working with that chef, rather than being someone who is paid for working in a restaurant.
He goes into tipping, and he talks about the racist backgrounds. Tipping came after, in particularly in the States. And I think we have to say that the states is a unique place as far as that’s concerned. Certainly, I think you would find that even here in Canada, you would find races elements to things such as tipping, and maybe even over in Europe and other places.
But particularly in the states with the large black population and later, larger, Latino population. Tipping was a way to say we’re not going to pay you a proper wage. We’re going to let you collect tips if you give good service. So there’s a racist, there’s a racism underlying the way tipping developed in the United States.
delivery costs – more than you know
He talks about all the food delivery systems, such as Skip the Dishes, and I know, you know, here in Winnipeg, this is where they’re headquartered and how they work and how the big companies so McDonald’s is able to negotiate a deal with skip the dishes, they pay very low fees. So local businesses that are forced to use skip the dishes, Uber DoorDash.
They’re the ones that are paying the high fees so that companies such as McDonald’s don’t have to pay high, if any fees. And along with that, something worth noting is that these cats Companies are not delivery companies, they are information gathering companies, what they’re wanting to do is gather as much information about you as possible, and then use that information to sell you different kinds of food or other products.
So whether or not your delivery is a satisfying experience, whether or not the restaurant does well out of your business, out of you get as a consumer giving them your business is not of concern to companies such as DoorDash, he doesn’t go into the one thing, my personal pet peeve with these companies isn’t they never zip the bag up. Y
ou know, it’s minus 25. In Winnipeg, going from your restaurant to your car, with the bag of zip can cause quite a bit of cooling long before it ever gets to your house. But that’s just a pet peeve.
So one of the things he suggested and one of the things I did follow from this book was get rid of those apps. If you can all if you can order delivery order from the restaurant as much as possible, because that will help the restaurant survive.
But the interesting thing I found in all of these things, he has a great section on tipping. And again, the background of tipping being keeping wages low. This is true, particularly in the United States, not so much in Canada, because in Canada minimum wages minimum wage, there is no sort of like restaurant minimum wage, there may be restaurants breaking the rules and not paying a proper minimum wage.
But that’s a different story from whether or not that’s what the minimum wage is supposed to be. So I’m just going to go here into the chapters. He talks about the virtual restaurant, the chef doesn’t register, restaurant, the instant bait, the immigrant restaurants, the fast food restaurant, chain restaurant, the grocerant. Something that is, you know, you go into your local grocery store, it’s more in a place like Sobeys, where they had these huge footprints, physical footprints, and they can have a sushi counter, they can have a coffee and lunch bar, soup bar, whatever it is.
And then he talks about the virtuous rest restaurant as the last chapter. I think I found the most interesting thing. And the most challenging thing in that last chapter when he talks about the virtuous restaurant. In each of the previous chapters, he talks about the problems that are created by the restaurants or food services that he’s talking about.
So how fast food quick service restaurants require large amounts of meat and therefore make farming, Factory Farming, a more common occurrence, which is, you know, have impacts the environment in a negative effects fashion. And whatever health concerns come from such things.
the next supper will be ethical, maybe
But when he gets into this final chapter, he brings up a point that suggests that is he talked to one of the Dutch economists, a Dutch economist, who was one of the people who was involved in the creation of Fairtrade certification. And he also talks with another author who has done research into ethical purchasing.
And in that conversation, it comes up that only about 5% of people will make significant changes based solely on ethics. In other words, if they’re told, this is the right thing to do, and I know everybody has their own definition of what’s right, which is part of the part of the situation. But knowing that if I eat I believe I read somewhere and this is just one of these things. So you know, don’t take it, don’t take it as gospel.
If we ate 20% less meat, we could meet a good portion of our climate objectives. So you don’t have to give up meat entirely. But if we cut back, but only about 5% of the people with that information We’ll make those changes. So that comes forward sort of as one of the major challenges that we’re facing. If we wish to create a more equitable food system, how can we go about encouraging people to make changes?
Does this change actually need to be incentivized in in some manner we see some that we actually tend to do it in a punishment, fashion. And by that, I mean, for example, we want you to start using cloth bags, while we’re going to make you pay for those cloth bags that we want you to use. So a lot of it is also we have some systemic changes that need to be made. But we put everything on to the individual.
So again, most of the effort that goes into talking about food waste, is focused on how you can get the most out of the food that you bring home, despite the fact that as little as 30, maybe as much as 50. But less than half of food waste is caused by individual consumers in their household.
Yet, they probably get 90% of the guilt, and the shame. And that’s basically the method we use. If you ever watched those, the ads, it’s like, you can do your part, why aren’t you helping to save the planet? So there’s, there’s I think, maybe a real crux of the situation is, how do we incentivize changed behavior?
And I don’t think that necessarily means we have to pay people to do it. But you know, what other benefits can we incur? Or do we actually need to focus on other questions such as: How much should convenience rule our lives? And this, this does definitely become sort of an individual question because everybody has differing needs a different level, differing levels of need, for convenience.
But do we cut back on certain activities, and not only is cut back, but when we do all these activities, there’s the rush to get from one to the next. This, I’m gonna go on a bit of a tangent here, but goes into car culture.
One of the things that sort of maybe called an unintended consequence of car culture is that, oh, there’s a meeting at two o’clock here, there’s another meeting at four o’clock here, there’s only half an hour, but you know, you can finish that meeting, you can get a car, and you can race and you can be at the next meeting.
And so we just pile meetings upon meetings, meetings, and, and we don’t allow people the chance to sit back, relax, spend time with each other. We need to fuel ourselves. And so food becomes even more fuel, rather than something that we can enjoy and share together. And therefore, this this need to consume, not only are we driven to a need to consume, because we have to keep growing, we have to get bigger, everything has to be more profitable than it was two or three years ago.
All of those things work together. And I think that’s that’s one question that the book looks I have a little bit. But could do more than that could spring out of this. I’m not asking the book to do more. I think this book actually does an awful lot, when he thinks he’s talking about here are all part of the bigger picture.
And we can’t go into depth on all the underlying subjects in any one book. And so one of the reasons why I would recommend this book is here are some areas of our food life that maybe we should take some time to look at Think about, say one Can I do one of these things, you know, he talks about seven or eight different situations.
Can I change one of those areas in my life? Life. And as I look at one area in my life, again, we are talking about the individual. But if enough individuals start making changes, they can also come together and inform government.
If enough people are started doing those changes, and they start talking to each other, and when come time for the, to the bow go to the ballot box, they start saying, Hey, can we make changes, we want to elect people who actually believe that we can have a more equitable society, that there’s plenty of food to go around. And that opportunity is something we want to see reflected in, in our government.
So I really recommend this book. Some of the things here about how restaurants work in the back rooms, and other such things I was somewhat aware of, I learned an awful lot of new things. And I think there’s much in this book that’s to be recommended. So there will be a spot for comments.
So if you have comments, questions are always good. I am not the expert. I’m just giving some somewhat informed opinion. But if you have some questions, some suggestions, I’d love to hear them. And if you have some, you know, books, or videos, movies that really have influenced the way you think about our food systems and the way we work together, please feel free to recommend them.
I’m always looking to learn like when it comes to food, I consider myself a lifelong learner. I don’t have all the answers. I never will have all the answers, but I really very much recommend Corey Mintz’s The Next Supper, and if you can order it through McNally Robinson, because supporting local and supporting small businesses is one way of helping to make things more equitable for everybody. Thank you