From the Publisher

Photo by Eric Tadsen

As I begin to write, there are 18 days, 3 hours, 44 minutes, and 8 seconds remaining in the year. 12:00 a.m., January 1, 2021, may elicit the single greatest sigh of relief ever across every time zone worldwide. While the chiming in of a new year doesn’t immediately lift us past the impediments of 2020, it does feel like a beacon of light after what was a dark, weighty 365 days that felt more like 365,000 days.

Bleak moments might have brought our spirits down, but we were simultaneously lifted by examples of hope, kindness, and generosity—frontline workers receiving applause as they left their shifts; balcony and rooftop serenades; and simple acts, like a young man purchasing flowers from an elderly female street vendor only to then give them back to her as a gift. They help carry us through day after day. And even though 2021 will continue with some of the 2020 obstacles, a new year feels like the potential for a new chapter where obstacles may progressively be reduced in number and impact.

One of the hardest-hit business segments has been hospitality, so the timing of our leadoff Epicurean issue serves as a reminder of how much local food is integral to our way of life. Fortunately, community members have come through by purchasing carryout, delivery, and gift cards and also partaking in outdoor dining when weather permits.

The public has also shown their support by stepping up for local restaurant fundraising efforts. One way we at Madison Essentials are pleased to show our support is by sponsoring the weekly soup sale Soup’s On! ( danebuylocal.com/soups-on ). Up to 20 local restaurants each make up to 40 quarts of soup, which are presold and then available for drive-through pickup or delivery. If you haven’t yet participated, give yourself a treat and visit the website each week for available soups.

We hope this issue encourages you to continue your efforts in supporting all members of our food community, from restaurants to farmers and the charitable organizations that exist on their behalf. It’s the best way to ensure our community is able to return to the iconic foodie haven, shopping mecca, and socially engaged platform it’s fostered throughout the decades.

Here’s to a new and improved year!

Amy Johnson