Lucky Peach

November 30th, 2011

Issue 2 – The Sweet Spot Fall/Winter 2011

Website: Click Here

As gourmands, we were thrilled to find the second issue of Lucky Peach at a local magazine specialty shop but don’t worry if you can’t find it at yours, as with almost anything else these days, you can order it from Amazon. The brainchild of David Chang, chef and owner of the Momofuku empire, and writer Peter Meehan, Lucky Peach is published by the hip San Francisco publishing house McSweeney’s founded by writer/editor Dave Eggers. Great pedigree. Billed as a “quarterly journal of food and writing”, they have taken the dated look and feel of Saveur and the now defunct Gourmet magazines and updated them with a street-meets-anime style, packed with clever cartoonish illustrations that make food seem fun and refreshingly unprecious. Yes, there are the requisite recipes, but as McSweeney’s website states, Lucky Peach “… is a mélange of travelogue, essays, art, photography, rants, and recipes in a full-color, meticulously designed format.” And this issue even includes 45 totally useless but endearing fruit stickers! It was a shock to see that the first issue was completely devoid of advertising; this second edition has 6 such intrusions but they are so carefully curated, it doesn’t feel like a transgression. Although it retails for $12, it’s a small price to pay not to be bombarded every second page with an endorsement for something you would really rather not know about. So far, the contributors have included the food-writing A-list: luminaries such as Anthony Bourdain, Harold McGee, and Ruth Reichl, the former food critic for The New York Times, are on board and their articles are witty, entertaining, and self-assured. These people have seen it all, tasted it all, and thankfully somehow manage not to take themselves too seriously. The first issue was dedicated wholly to ramen, making these Japanese noodles infinitely more interesting that you would imagine, and contained a comical article by Reichl comparing brands of instant noodles, which started with her admitting they were the snack she made her son and her son’s friends when they came to play. This issue is devoted to the much more broadly conceived notion of “The Sweet Spot” which Editor Peter Meehan says might include the moment when the steak or miso is perfectly aged, or you’ve found the perfect way to kill fish. It includes articles on finding perfectly ripe apricots, David Chang’s recipe for both Paechu Kimchi (the standard, made with napa cabbage) and White Kimchi, as well as musings from both Chang and Ferran Adrià about the moment in time when El Bulli was changing the culinary world. Distinctive about Lucky Peach is that unlike so many magazines today that feel like the soulless child of their corporate parent, this one feels like what it is: a labour of love.

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