All The Swirl "Must Reads", May 2016

Each month, our staff takes a break to think about which of the many great food, beverage and lifestyle stories of the month caught our attention and are worth sharing.

Kimberly Charles

Photo courtesy of Military Times

Photo courtesy of Military Times

My "Must Read": Tribe, On Homecoming and Belonging

Author: Sebastian Unger (Heard on Weekend Edition Saturday)

Source: NPR

Why does this stand out to you?: I was driving to the bucolic Napa Valley last week to attend a glamorous event to raise money for the local community which helps make it one of the most outstanding wine regions worldwide. I caught an interview with Scott Simon on NPR that was probably one of the most thoughtful and moving I've heard in 18 years of public broadcast listening. We Californians who spend so much time in our cars, live for NPR. It was an interview with noted journalist and war correspondent Sebastian Unger, whose latest book Tribe, On Homecoming and Belonging has just been released. As a military brat, I'm drawn to books and films about military life and history, but Unger's message goes so much further.  He analyzes anthropologically the effect of war in modern times. In particular he looks at PTSD and interestingly finds that the biggest trauma soldiers experience when returning home is re-integrating into a life where the majority of people they interact with can't relate to their experiences. Unlike World War II where one's neighbors, families and close friends were all serving the same cause and a sense of community was automatically created, the conflicts we're currently involved in, can leave soldiers feeling isolated. He shares that living in a modern, relatively wealthy society such as the U.S. can cause depression and isolation in people (not just soldiers) vs. ironically times of war when we pull together, support one another and fight for a larger cause vs. our own individual needs. His reflections on our isolation and lack of connection help us look in the collective mirror to find deeper meaning in fast moving individualistic societies such as ours. 

Alex Fondren

Photo Courtesy of Bon Appetit

Photo Courtesy of Bon Appetit

My "Must Read":  Anthony Bourdain Thinks You're Crazy for Eating Airplane Food

Author:  Belle Cushing

Source:  Bon Appetit

Why does this stand out to you?:  It's not a profound or an especially enlightening article, but I really enjoyed this interview with Bourdain.  Love him or hate him (I'm in the former camp), it can't be denied that Anthony Bourdain is 100% his own person.  As someone who travels almost exclusively in the name of culinary exploration, I always enjoy reading his advice on how to get to know a new place.  Abstaining from airplane food in order to more fully enjoy the fruits of anticipation upon landing hungry?  That's a great (if unrealistic) tip. As is never drinking at the hotel bar, but instead asking the hotel staff where their watering hole is.  Some of my favorite travel memories have started that way.  But perhaps the most refreshing thing about this interview, was Bourdain's quote about urbanites who lament the dearth of good coffee while on the road: "It's a beverage; it's not a lifestyle." A-men.

Anastasia Pallas

Photo Courtesy of Nellie Bowles

Photo Courtesy of Nellie Bowles

My "Must Read": Silicon Valley’s Exodus Begins

Author: Maya Kosoff

Source: Vanity Fair

Why does this stand out to you?: Many people I know who work at start-ups and tech companies have become very weary of where the industry is going right now, fearing they will lose their jobs. With lay offs and not enough venture capital investments to go around, this story tells us how brutal life in Silicon Valley is becoming.

I may lack a bit of sympathy due to the fact that I am both a non-techie and local who eye-rolls at any mention of the stereotypical techie. However, I think everyone in the Bay Area is suffering from this boom, regardless of what industry they’re in because of the outrageous cost of living. It’s a bit relieving to read that this influx of young, innovative dreamers might be coming to an end here soon. I just hope Portland and Austin are more prepared for this than we were.

Anthony Salazar

Photo Courtesy of New York Times

Photo Courtesy of New York Times

My "Must Read": Google Translate Updates Could Benefit Travelers

Author: Stephanie Rosenbloom

Source: The New York Times

Why does this stand out to you?: Being an avid traveler myself, this new update for Google Translate is just plain awesome! First of all, it can be used now in offline mode without the need of data or Wi-Fi connection. Also, it can now translate just by hearing someone speak and reading what they write. To top it all of is the Word Lens. Users just need to take out their smartphone camera, take a nap of a word, sign, or a menu, and it instantly translates it! I remember my recent trip to South Korea and Japan wherein every time I wanted to order something at a restaurant, I find a picture of what I want and then show it to the waiter. Thanks to this new Google Translate, we can easily order these hidden gems in a restaurant that we see the locals enjoying. Traveling and definitely communicating in a foreign country has never been this easy and convenient! Now, we can fully immerse ourselves more when we travel; get lost but not lost in translation! 

Jules Lydon

Photo Courtesy of She Finds

Photo Courtesy of She Finds

My "Must Read": Millennials are Drinking a Whole Lot of Wine

Author: Amy Reiter

Source: Food Network 

Why does this stand out to you?: I'm not sure if it was the generational pride or shock, but I find it interesting that millennials have a the strongest craving of all generations for vino. Their investment in wine is tremendous! In 2015 alone, 42% of all wine consumed in the United States alone was drunk by millennials. But the wine chosen first wasn't always the most popular or well known. As a generation they want to explore and hence stepped away from mainstream wines to lead their personal exploration into lesser-known wines. Reiter cites Wine Spectator saying that "it's not an exaggeration to say the millennial American consumer has the most-varied set of tastes of any wine drinker in history." American winemakers (or any other winemaker for that matter) can find consolation in their ability to continue to produce diverse varieties of wine and even the growth of new varietals. Millennials, from the consumer context, can push the wine world into new realms unexplored.

All the Swirl is a collections of thoughts and opinions assembled by the staff and industry friends of Charles Communications Associates, a marketing communications firm with its headquarters in San Francisco, California. We invite you to explore more about our company and clients by visiting