Sandy's Aftermath :: Regrouping, Relief and a Bit of Reading

I am finally back in front of my laptop this week, in my office that has heat and power, aiming to return to a semi-normal schedule after Sandy's wrath tore through NYC and surrounding areas.  Honestly, I don't think things will really return to "normal" for quite sometime.  My neighborhood, the East Village/Alphabet City, was hit hard -- businesses are slowly regrouping and rebuilding, friends are picking pieces up of flooded apartments.  Only through images and blog posts can I even begin to contemplate the damage incurred and lives displaced in areas like Staten Island, Red Hook, the Rockaways and Long Beach, LI.  A friend's restaurant in Dumbo, Governor, was completely washed out by Sandy, but I have no doubt will return and reopen stronger than ever.  A family member's medical practice gone, at least in the brick and mortar sense.  There are thousands of examples, and there are 40,000 New Yorkers without homes as the temperatures continue to drop.  And there are endless ways to give back and donate and volunteer, see below.  I've never seen New Yorkers as resilient and resourceful as I have in the past week.  It's heartwarming and heartbreaking all at once, but this city has insane heart and I'm grateful to call it home. All this said, the past week has got me thinking how food keeps us connected.  Sharing a meal is such a basic way of showing love, care and communicating.  Hot meals are an indulgence for many right now, and it makes me appreciate the act of cooking and eating together around a table, or a makeshift one, that much more.  

With that said, I turned to the Edible Selby, another Fall 2012 cookbook/food photography book I've been meaning to feature.  Now seems, in an odd way, the perfect time.  Flip through the gorgeously photographed and brightly illustrated pages and you'll see the life and atmosphere that food can create - it comes streaming through.  The book provides a beautiful sense of warmth and inspiration and intrigue in each subject/restaurant/shop that Todd Selby features.  I've been lucky enough to taste the craft of many of the subjects (like Occhipinti wine and Mast Brothers chocolate), and eat at a handful of the restaurants highlighted (like Ralae in Copenhagen and Le Chauteaubriand in Paris).  All of them remind me of a special place in time with friends -- old and new -- that are part of my extended family.  And if there's one positive that came out of Sandy, it's the reminder that there's few things more meaningful than sharing a meal with friends and family.

My good friend and colleague Allison and I are in the process of organizing a fundraiser, DRINK.DONATE.HELP BLACK OUT SANDY, next Thursday 11/15 to raise donations for food-related causes and those impacted by Sandy.  More info to come...keep an eye on our Twitter feed as well: @DrinkDonate

In the meantime, here are just a few ways to help relief efforts: 

Rockaway Waterfront Alliance

Occupy Sandy via Amazon

Red Hook Initiative

Kitchensurfing, Support Chefs for Sandy

Food Bank for New York City

GOLES (Good Old Lower East Side)


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