Where is the Comfort? In a Recession Menu?

Posted by R.K. Gella

As we roll into the harvest months, offering our commitment to autumn, promised of shortened days and holiday bustle, business owners and consumers prepare to re-negotiate their relationship.

It lacks prudence to refer to it as a chess game, but in a year of adjustments and plan-B decisions, the reference contains a slightly fitting connotation.

Restaurants have raised their prices (food cost) then they have lowered them (recession).  They have simplified their menus, miniaturized dishes, expanded their hours, taken Mondays off, and offered an array of specials to entice allusive patrons, who these days all seem to speak a foreign language.

Meanwhile, consumers have been told to cook at home and shop on a budget, keeping vigilant of rising grocery prices, food shortages, bacterial outbreaks and organic practices.

In this fandango production of compromise, awareness and compensation, one that shows no signs of slowing, can the only solace be found in a comfort meal? 

Bronze turkeys and viscous gravies have already taken their share of photo shoots, but is that where the comforts lay?

As the economy dictates what we eat and how we choose to enjoy it, business owners and publicists anticipate that comfort meals will be equitable to values meal.

Over the weekend the New York Times’s Diner’s Journal published some “silver-lining” press releases aimed to uplift recession occupied diners.  However, after reading the word “recession” tied to “menu” and “chic” and a flurry of phrases and terms like “downsizing economy”, “economic crisis” and “financial insecurity”, the appeal of a recession sympathetic sushi menu did not initiate a Pavlov response. 

If there is a “silver lining” to the economic slowdown it’s that there is a certain decadence that comes with the cooling months, and as frugal or as value minded as one might be, he or she won’t be sold on false comfort.

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