Conventional wisdom tells us that print is dead.
Its death knell sounded loud and clear in food-oriented publishing when the print edition of Gourmet folded in 2009. If that beloved legendary publication couldn’t make a go of it, who could?
A handful of hardy, independent publishers have managed to beat the odds, surviving and even thriving. Even more improbably, a few new food magazines have been introduced in the post-Gourmet era. They recognize that they have to offer something special, some added value over the other ways we have of consuming text.
Each of these publications succeeds by offering heft and depth, nearly ad-free pages, and price tags high enough to make it all viable and sustainable. Their graphics are striking, the writing is of a long form seldom seen outside of print, and they have a book-like physical permanence that defies you to toss it in the recycle bin.
Remedy is a good, old-fashioned read masquerading as a modern magazine. Each issue uses stories and recipes to explore a single theme: cravings, growing up, celebrations. The current issue is Stealing— true food crimes, stealing away a private moment out of a crazy day, or stealing a boyfriend and his to-die-for breakfast dish—all stories to curl up with, coming from a variety of voices.
Meatpaper is -surprise!- all about meat. Every form of animal flesh is fodder for Meatpaper’s pages, from birth to roasting pan, plus insightful takes on this bedrock of masculine Western culture. It all comes courtesy of a team of former, presumably very broad-minded, vegetarians. Coming soon: the new Bones issue.
Sweet Paul is Paul Lowe, a food and prop stylist with the crafting sensibility of Martha Stewart and an eye for whimsical, flea market style aesthetics. The magazine is stuffed with ideas for creative, hands-on cooking, decorating, and entertaining that is within reach of even the DIY-challenged, and accompanied by sumptuous, naturally-lit photography.
Lucky Peach burst on the scene last summer and immediately became the must-have fetish object for die-hard foodies. It’s a high profile collaboration between the expletive-sputtering culinary bad boy David Chang (chef-restaurateur of New York’s Momofuku empire) and former New York Times writer Peter Meehan, with contributions from celebrated friends like Anthony Bourdain and Ruth Reichl. A single subject (issue 1: Ramen; issue 2: The Sweet Spot) is probed through a dense, idiosyncratic mix of essays, recipes, art, photography, and rants.
Food writing for the literati or literature for the foodie? Alimentum is a literary review that celebrates food, both figurative and metaphorical. Short fiction, poetry, and essays give new dimension to the experiences of standing on the grocery checkout line or sharing a glass of wine with a former lover.
With a mere two issues under its belt, we’re keeping an eye on Condiment. It occupies the intriguing, conceptual space between food, community, and creativity, with topics like anarchist gardeners, mutant fruits, and a clam dig.
The Art of Eating has a traditional mix of recipes, producer profiles, wine, book, and restaurant reviews. Its long (since 1986), ad-free run speaks to the fine writing and its in-depth (often obsessively so) articles.
Gastronomica calls itself “food-focused scholarship,” but don’t let that scare you away. Yes, it is cerebral and erudite, but it is also lively and accessible. It explores such esoterica as the history of hippie-style cooking, caterers to the Third Reich, to our love of hamburgers, and it’s all wrapped up in a glossy, stunningly photographed package.