Never Fear, Food Media Will Be Fine
Lucky Peach, the delightfully eccentric and irreverent food publication, has been eighty-sixed—or so they reported last week via Instagram and a with brief post on their website from editorial director Peter Meehan. While we will certainly mourn them, it’s not as if food media has died altogether. Although, according to this seriously depressing feature from The Ringer, the world of food journalism might be on its last frog legs—a thesis that Amanda Kludt, Eater’s editor in chief, scoffed at as “wrong” in her latest newsletter, citing the multitude of outlets paying for food writing (in addition to Eater’s own success). For the record: We’re siding with Kludt.
Come May, there will be a peach-sized hole in our hearts (and stomachs) when the magazine’s operations cease. However, there are still a bunch of totally awesome places to read, watch, and otherwise salivate over food. Here are seven of our favorite go-to sources for food media.
The good people of Gather Journal, who we featured in our food media series “Reader’s Digestif” earlier this year, offer probably the easiest place to find your Lucky Peach fix. The images are beautiful—food porn somehow looks even better in print—and their recipes are quirky, hilarious, and topical. For instance, their last issue’s theme was “Sin,” so the aptly titled “Lust” chapter presented sexy recipes for Cheese Fondue with Vegetable Orgy and Quivering Blancmange, while the “Greed” chapter had Saffron Fideuà and Golden Baklava, complete with gold leaf flakes.
Unsurprisingly, Vice is on top of the weed scene, but Bong Appétit is above and beyond even their standards. In fact it’s such a good show that it was just nominated for a James Beard Award. Excellent episodes include “Kimchi + Kush” in which host Abdullah Saeed eats cannabis-infused Korean dishes prepared by chef Deuki Hong and another navigating a weed murder mystery dinner theater. It’s good when you’re sober, but it’s even better on weed. (Pairs well with Vice’s food blog, Munchies.)
Food52 is so on point that it’s a little unfair. It drops recipes like Four & Twenty Blackbirds Matcha Custard Pie that are so inventive and inviting that they practically beg to be made. It publishes long reads like “She Was a Soul Food Sensation. Then, 19 Years Ago, She Disappeared,” where the wonderfully thoughtful Mayukh Sen probed the sudden vanishing act of acclaimed soul food connoisseur Princess Pamela. It boasts a lively and engaged community, and its shopping guides are excruciatingly tempting. Plus, we’d like to nod at the fact that Food52 co-founders owned up to the lack of diversity in its staff (92 percent white) in February, promising to not “let itself off the hook” and prioritizing broadening their scope.
‘The Salt’ on NPR
In the age of “alternative facts,” NPR’s news quality goes without saying, and The Salt is no different. Whether covering Bangladeshi female chefs in Michigan or the snackability of matzoh or the fact that some Neanderthals were vegetarians, The Salt is the gold standard of globally minded food writing and, sometimes, radio. (The Salt is no Delicious Dish, but it’s pretty great anyway.)
Why there are so few good kid-friendly food magazines is positively baffling. Food is perhaps one of the “safest” subjects, and one that’s primed to share with kids. Enter Lunch Lady, a delightfully fun blog and print periodical out of Australia that’s really a parenting magazine geared toward food. It’s bursting with lots of articles to keep mom and dad happy, but it also has plenty of simple, healthy recipes that any kid would love (fruit popsicles, for instance), plus activities to keep them happy (with the leftover popsicle sticks). Other features include a cast of the world’s cutest kids, decorated with joyous design flourishes that make the whole thing come together.
Life & Thyme
Life and Thyme’s tagline is “Culinary Storytelling From Around The Globe,” and their sixth issue boasts tons of just that. Stories on Sri Lankan street food and Red Rooster’s Marcus Samuelsson are well-packaged and lushly illustrated, and their website includes quite a few in-depth reported pieces that will help you forget, if only momentarily, that Lucky Peach is no more.
On the other end of the spectrum is Brutal, a food magazine disguised as a fashion book. With sumptuous photos, great art, unique recipes, and truly fascinating essays, Brutal is a brilliant addition to the food media landscape. When we interviewed editor-in-chief and creative director AnneStine Bae earlier this year for Reader’s Digestif, she said, “I think food and fashion are very similar. A designer and a chef, for instance, work very similar in how to think in what they want to put forward. They have a belief they wish to share with their customer or guest. They are passionate and personal about their approach; nothing is made out of coincidence; and they always strive to improve, perfect, elevate, and innovate their craft. Everything is made for the senses. It’s then very interesting to play with the two different forms of expression and see how they can mend together quite easily.” Take our word for it. It’s certainly worth a lustful look.
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