Serving up gratitude in troubled times
November 17th, 2011
01:00 PM ET
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Drew Robinson is the pitmaster at Jim ‘N Nick’s Bar-B-Q. He previously wrote about why barbecue matters.

My friend John Egerton told me once that sometimes when people have lost a loved one or are in despair all you can do is take them a bowl of potato salad and tell them you’re sorry.

He went on to say, emphatically, that there is great power in that sort of action. John spoke specifically about Southern foodways at that moment, but there was a universal truth in his message. I know from personal experience on the receiving end that is true and it is even more powerful when that compassion is delivered in numbers.

May 25th, 2011
11:30 AM ET
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Food in the Field gives a sneak peek into what CNN's team is eating, and the food culture they encounter as they travel the globe. Eric Marrapodi is on the ground in Joplin, Missouri, covering the post-tornado devastation. Read his previous dispatch on the town's demoralizing lack of coffee.

Here in Joplin it is a tale of two cities. Much of the town is sparkling. Restaurants and hotels are packed. First responders, construction teams, and FEMA workers are tripping over each other in the lobbies.

Insurance adjusters in starched shirts with their logo emblazoned are seemingly everywhere. All State, State Farm and other insurers have satellite trucks set up and pop-up tents dot strip mall parking lots. Their work is well underway. Today any business still standing is flying a flag half mast.

Last night we had another tornado scare here. CNN photojournalist John Person, Brian Todd and I were chomping on steaks at the Outback in Joplin. We heard a faint siren. The manager jumped on the microphone, normally reserved to tell guests their table was ready.

"There's a report of a tornado coming toward us," he said. "All the staff is heading to the walk in cooler to take shelter. You are more than welcome to join us."

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Filed under: Chain • Disaster • Environment • Food in the Field • Restaurants • Tornado

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