Lucky Peach, a new-ish quarterly from McSweeney’s, reads more like a blog than any magazine I’ve read in ages. David Chang’s editor’s note says “thank you for continuing to give us your money,” before he comments on their plans to possibly fancy up future cover pages. (The current front cover is of a cow eating a hot dog, the back cover proudly displays a plumber’s crack.) You may chuckle, or even stare in confusion at the cow, but really, you just want his job. You want all their jobs.
The magazine skips and jumps – literally. Three ladies go on one bodacious Tex-Cali-Mex taco adventure, shops and stands left empty in their wake, written in a choose-your-own-adventure format mixed in between other articles. There’s a seemingly random two page spread of thawed out meats. Tony Bourdain and Elvis Mitchell talk about Diner, a movie I’ve never felt inclined to watch but apparently everyone else is excited about. There’s an ode to properly seasoned skillets (I hope my friends will read it), and short bios on awesome knife artisans.
And, thank goodness, most of the recipes have gram weights in addition to cups. The chef in me is thrilled. Some of the recipes come from on high – Rose Levy Berenbaum’s rye bread, beach burgers from Wylie Dufresne. This is paired against tomatillo salsa for tacos. Beautiful.
Nutria are even mentioned in an article discussing eating invasive animals. It’s always a bit amusing to see my research subject in a food discussion, and I’m all for people eating them, with the grain of salt that nutria can have more human-transmittable parasites than rabbits. This is immediately followed by a suggestion to eat starlings.
I suspect the American Microbial Terroir article will put hypochondriacs off salami for a while. Then again, they were probably avoiding eating it in the first place.
The main thing that’s different from blogging is the sheer length: these articles are long, with both photos and illustrations used liberally. And that’s a good thing; it’s nice to stop and think about ways to eat starlings or microbes in your food, and illustrations aren’t used enough in magazines nowadays. We need more cartoon doughnuts.
In the end, I still want their jobs, and I want to make that food. Lucky Peach is worth the subscription– unless you’re against plumber’s cracks.