Longer Tables, Not Higher Walls

A meal is never just a plate of food. It has the power to change the world, to bring people together, to tell the story of who we are and where we’re going.

That’s why I started talking about longer tables when others wanted to build higher walls. We need to talk to each other, to enjoy our differences, to celebrate our diversity … not to push people away because they look or sound different.

Our challenges may be complicated, but the solutions are sometimes very simple.

Longer Tables, the name of this newsletter, is my way of saying that we are not Democrats or Republicans, Americans or immigrants, meat eaters or vegans. We are truly the people of the world, who cook and eat and drink together.

Why do I believe in the power of food to change the world? Because I’ve seen it happen in so many places.

When you see it only in movies, you learn to expect the worst of people in times of disaster. Instead, what I’ve seen in war zones and hurricanes, wildfires and food deserts, is the exact opposite. When people are in need, their neighbors will step up. When a disaster happens, you will see communities coming together. You truly can see the best of people. All you need to do is to start cooking, one plate at a time. A hot meal tells them someone, somewhere, cares.

Food is the beginning of a better life. It’s a plate of hope.

What I’m cooking up on Substack

Longer Tables is a home for stories that show how food connects us. Each week, I’ll explore our shared food history and food future, the politics of hunger and nutrition and the state of disaster relief. With the help of my team, I’ll also answer your cooking questions, post interviews and profiles of my food heroes, plus video postcards from my home in Washington, D.C. and my travels.

Pull up a chair to our Longer Table

Speaking of travel, you may have noticed I’m on the road … a lot. Longer Tables is going to be a key way that I stay in touch with our growing community of food people and activists.

Members will have access to an archive of my favorite recipes, including classic tapas like tortilla española and gambas al ajillo—and others that don’t even require turning on the stove (open a can of Spanish anchovies … open a jar of piquillo peppers … assemble on a plate and garnish with green olives … and drizzle with Spanish extra-virgin olive oil. Boom!)

Substack members can also join in monthly community discussion threads about those recipes, cooking hacks and, of course, the national and international food policies that affect us all.

All this costs $6 a month or $50 a year. And for the first six months of publication, through Dec. 31, 2022, Longer Tables will donate 100% of our net subscription revenue to World Central Kitchen. (After that, 20% of our net subscription revenues will go to WCK.) So you can feed your brain while feeding the world!

One more thing: If you can’t afford a subscription, don’t worry! I came to America as a young cook with just a few dollars in my pocket. I want to bring people together around Longer Tables. So if you want to become a member but can’t, just email us at longertables@thinkfoodgroup.com. We’ll sign you up, no questions asked. 

People of the world: I know that the world today can feel dark. But we also need to make the space for joy and hope. Together we can channel the power of food to change things for the better. It all starts with building longer tables. I hope you will join me.


Andrea Strong
Journalist covering the intersection of food, business, law and policy.