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A New Kind of Takeout

A New Kind of Takeout

Notes from the Pandemic

In our house, we’ve always had a happy division of labor: Yvonne cooks, and I clean up. You’d think that in quarantine we would be cooking more than ever, but in fact it’s been just the opposite. The reason: takeout from restaurants.

The takeout I’m referring to isn’t the usual burgers in a bag or Chinese in cardboard containers, though we love both. It’s fine dining on wheels, and it comes to our house once a week.

Nashville has been blessed in recent years with a spate of fine restaurants. One of these is Henrietta Red, run by chef Julia Sullivan (shown here) and her business partner Allie Poindexter. Sullivan went to USN, our daughter Maggie’s school, and has just been nominated as Best Chef: Southeast by the James Beard Foundation.

Late last year, in an exceptional piece of good timing, Sullivan and her pastry chef, Caitlyn Jarvis,  started a catering business called the Party Line. It was up and running just in time for the pandemic.

What began as high-end catering was adjusted for people stuck at home, and over the past weeks the program has settled into a sweet spot that I would describe as fine food for families—beautiful meats and vegetables, creative casseroles, chicken liver on homemade crackers, yogurt with marmelade and granola, wonderful salads, and on and on. The food is delicious, practical, and not at all snooty.

We get a box every week, in which we find foods that are new and different. We even get cocktails, premixed and served in small mason jars. Yvonne’s favorite is a spicy drink called a Bee Sting.

With Henrietta Red closed for now, the Party Line is helping to take up the slack, for Julia and her colleagues, and for Yvonne and me.

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