Detroit

The Free, The Proud, The Donut Eaters of Detroit

27 December – Roads & Kingdoms

In July, I went to Detroit to report a story on the food businesses at the heart of that city’s vibrant Arab community.

The story was important to me. I’d returned to the U.S. a few months earlier after nearly five years living in India, a country where Muslims—180 million of them, about 14 percent of the national population—are consistently treated as second-class citizens, more so since 2014 when the Hindu Nationalist party swept the country’s elections in the largest democratic event in history. I returned home in the midst of this hideous election to a climate of Islamophobia in the U.S. that was discomfiting in its familiarity. (more…)

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Detroit’s American Dream

21 November 2016 – Eater

(all images are the work of Ali Saloum)

The line that divides Detroit and Dearborn, coterminous cities in the sprawling grid of roads that traverse southeast Michigan, is invisible — but it’s almost impossible to miss. On one side, there’s a city that lost a quarter of its residents between 2000 and 2010, is home to tens of thousands of vacant buildings, and is at its smallest population since 1850. On the other, there’s a suburb where the number of businesses on its main commercial corridor has doubled in the last decade, the median income is nearly twice Detroit’s, and housing demand has seen bidding wars for single-family homes end over a hundred thousand dollars above asking prices. (more…)

Food startups bring new life to Detroit’s century-old Eastern Market

21 October 2016 – Eater

Forr most of his life, Patrick Schwager was, by his own admission, “a pizza guy.” He’d grown up in a middle-class suburb of Detroit called Garden City (home to America’s first Kmart and Little Caesar’s) raised by a Mexican-American mother (his grandmother had come to Detroit in the 1920s) and a father whom he describes affectionately as “a white guy.”

Like most people in suburban Detroit, Schwager spent very little time in the city growing up. Now he spends his Saturday mornings in the recently opened commercial kitchen at Detroit’s 125-year-old Eastern Market, tinkering with recipes for salsa and guacamole that he sells under the label Aunt Nee’s. It’s one of the 20+ small businesses participating in the Market’s non-profit incubator program, Detroit Kitchen Connect.

(more…)