In the dark, difficult, and volatile days of January 2021, I was grateful to have a task that required laser-focused attention: reading through the essays, research articles, and reviews that have come together in this issue of Gastronomica. For several hours a day, I was (mostly) able to block out the searing stream of screeching headlines on the ever-expanding devastations taking place around the globe and close to home: the rapidly escalating impacts of COVID-19; the glaring needs and demands for too-long-denied racial and social justice; the shocking economic upheavals and political rampages. As barbed wire, security fencing, and armed troops transformed my city, Washington, DC, after the January 6 siege on the US Capitol, I found inspiration, and so much more, in the material herein.

This issue of the journal is all over the place. Its authors take...

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