My friend Jill–I call her my friend although we’re not buddy-buddy, not yet though maybe it’s in the cards, she’s so nice–who cooks at Craigie on Main turned me onto Lucky Peach, which is a spanking new magazine organized by Dave Chang, the chef at Momofuko Ko.
Along with Chang, you have Peter Meehan, who worked with him on his cookbook and memoir, and Chris Ying, who serves as editor in chief. Zero Point Zero Productions, the outfit behind Anthony Bourdain’s Emmy award winning show, “No Reservations,” is involved, too. The magazine is published by McSweeney’s, which is the outfit started by Dave Eggers, who is truly one of the great writers working these days.
So: It’s Dave and Dave, all day.
Here’s a link: http://www.mcsweeneys.net/luckypeach
Folks, I’m here to tell you that Lucky Peach, which you can order online from Amazon, is a gem. It’s as if MAD magazine and Gastronomica had a baby and named him: Lucky Peach.
The cover photo shows two hands lowering two plucked, raw chickens into a pot. A Pope’s nose, a.k.a. a chicken butt, faces the viewer, and surrounding this image are varying typefaces announcing, tabloid style, articles such as:
BOURDAIN, DUFRESNE, & CHANG DRUNK & RANTING
The first magazine is: THE RAMEN ISSUE, and indeed it has articles such as, “Tokyo Ramen Gods,” “Seventh Ward Ramen,” and, “Mankind in Noodlekind,” by Mike Houston, John T. Edge, and Karen Leibowitz, respectively.
The publication is genius. I don’t use the word lightly. I don’t mean “genius,” as in, “Robin Williams is a genius,” but genius as in: Writers and cooks who see things others folks don’t and who are capable of articulating a vision that changes how we see and perceive reality. No kidding.
The magazine is extremely funny, smart, frank, and informative. For ten bucks (or less through Amazon), you’ll have a great time learning about why ramen is delicious, where to buy ramen, how to make ramen, regional differences of ramen, etc. I felt like a noodle after reading the publication.
There is nothing like this magazine out there and one only hopes that it will spark some kind of revolution in how people think and read about food, how they eat in restaurants, and what they cook at home.
Here’s Dave, for example, on fine French cookbooks, in an interview with Ivan Orkin, a nice Jewish boy from Syosset who has runs one of Tokyo’s best ramen shops: “Escoffier, what a fool.”
Got to love it.
Here’s an added irony: In Boston, in a review in The Boston Globe, the reviewer compares Chang to Chef Philip Tang (who opened a restaurant called, “East by Northeast,” about a year ago). She writes that Tang and his restaurant “have much in common” with “famed and famously foulmouthed” David Chang and his meat-centric Momofuko restaurants.” The only things the two chefs have in common is Asian ancestry, childhoods spent outside of Washington, D.C., and restaurant ownership. When a French guy opens a restaurant is he or she compared to Daniel Boulud? Could race be a factor in making the comparison? And “foul mouthed?” Um, ever spend time with any chef? Like their brothers and sisters in the military, they all swear more than civilians. It’s a way to relieve stress. I mean, hello? And “meatcentric?” At Ko I loved the raw fish, the broths, and the vegetables. Meat was delicious, too, but the menu wasn’t centered on it by far. Nor was that true at Ma Peche. What…are…you…talking…about? Like she’s tripping. But I digress: I’ve eaten at Chang’s places and I’ve eaten at Tang’s places, and lemme tell ya, Tang ain’t no Chang. Not by a long shot. Not never, not ever never.
Buy Lucky Peach and you’ll see what I’m talkin’ about.