All those chopsticks and duck sauce packets you’ve been hoarding for years? They’re all from one mysterious company in White Plains, New York.
Growing up, every restaurant had its paper placemat. Sergio’s and Gino’s had a map of Italy with illustrations of the Tower of Pisa, a Venetian gondola, and the Colosseum. Generically Richmond restaurants had similar map of the Commonwealth of Virginia graced by cardinals and dogwood branches, the state capitol, the House of Burgesses in Williamsburg, and the Blue Ridge mountains. King’s Barbecue in Petersburg had advertisements from local funeral parlors. I remember Acapulco having something similar but Mexican, but my memory grows hazy with age.
Yen Ching had a version of the zodiac printed in bright red and yellow, an ancient and complex system of astrological philosophy reduced to a series of lobster sauce-stained horoscopes. Born in 1986, I was the…
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