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SF Chronicle Columnists Battle Over ‘Life Stories’ Within Recipes

Also: Safeway launches robot delivery, and more news to know today

A cook prepares a meal
Two SF Chronicle columnists disagree over “life stories” included for context with online recipes

Welcome to p.m. Intel, your bite-sized roundup of Bay Area food and restaurant news. Tips are always welcome, drop them here.

  • We are a nation divided in so many ways, but for our purposes today, let’s talk about the issue of textural content — which some refer to as “life stories” — that one can find written above free-to-read online recipes. The angst that some feel at having to scroll was satirically approached by’s Jenny G. Zhang last year, when she sarcastically wrote “Memo to recipe bloggers: No one wants your life story, says me, an asshole.” Then, just a few months ago, SF Chronicle Datebook columnist Tony Bravo took the opposite approach, writing a non-sarcastic piece commanding “Food bloggers: Stop telling us your life stories. We just want the recipes.” It’s hard not to read Chron food critic Soleil Ho’s latest piece without thinking of Bravo’s headline, as Ho writes today that “I am once again asking you to stop complaining about life stories on recipes.” Ho isn’t directly responding to Bravo, one assumes, as she references the recent ratio/scandal over abortive context-stripping-startup Recipeasly (here’s the deal with that whole mess). But it’a hard not to think about Bravo’s recent screed when Ho writes lines like “this is a conversation that comes up again and again, often among people who think that ‘I just want the recipe’ is an original thought,” and delivers a blistering kicker worth the cost of, say, a subscription to your local paper.
  • Two NorCal Safeways are rolling out grocery delivery robots, with a plan to launch them at other locations in the near-to-middling future. [SF Business Times]
  • SF restaurants say their first weekend of indoor dining was a busy one. [KPIX]
  • Scammy restaurant charge-backs aren’t just a SoCal problem. [SF Chronicle]
  • The Bay Area concha boom continues with an East Bay pop-up called Cafe de la Olla. [SF Gate]