For those of you who haven’t heard, David Chang (from Momofuku) recently came out with a quarterly magazine called Lucky Peach. Go ahead and Google that, you’ll come up with tons of people who have either tweeted or blogged about this already. Being late, as always, (have I ever talked about the first time I saw the movie The Karate Kid was when I was 25?) I just recently got my hands on a copy, and thought to give it a good run down.
As said earlier, this magazine is quarterly. Quarterly is fine with me, but it better be good. If you’re going to have extra time to craft a specific magazine, it should show; it should be apparent in the writing, the artwork, the meat of the content, and pretty much everywhere else. Because if not, in a few months, you’ll be forgotten about and when your next issue comes out, and no one will care. Spoilers: Lucky Peach delivers.
First impressions are everything, so let’s start with general aesthetics in, on and throughout the ‘zine:
It’s a nicely sized magazine, over 100 pages, with great cover artwork. This little part is a bit… raunchy: brown “action lines” spewing from the chicken’s ass that lead to the egg title. Nice touch guys.
But what.the.hell is this?:
Comic Sans? Really? Am I going to a kindergarten bake sale or something? It seems they were aiming for a relaxed, hand-written feel. Not a big deal but it’s still laughable. Seeing quotes from Anthony Bourdain in Comic Sans makes him feel like Garfield.
There is great artwork throughout the magazine, from photographs of people, places, and food, to digital art, and hand drawn comics.
And best of all, NO ADVERTISEMENTS! WOOHOO!…For now. But this may change. I’ve seen ‘zines come out free of brainwash before, only to be loaded with it years later. Let’s hope Lucky Peach stays clean.
Aesthetics aside, I don’t want to spoil too much in the way of content. So I’ve picked three thing from this issue of Lucky Peach that really make this magazine stand out, and of which I hope they produce a lot more:
First, the recipe layout. There are little arrows from the ingredients, to the instructions that literally guide you as you read through them. They’re pretty much idiot proof, without making us feel like idiots.
Second, the documented conversation with Chang, Bourdain, and Dufresne. The banter amongst these chefs is hilarious, and yet they aren’t talking just to hear themselves talk (like most podcasts now-a-days,) they’re offering their opinions, and giving us raw, unfiltered chef-talk (as opposed to the fluffy-rainbows shit they have to write in other magazines.)
Last, if I have to pick only one more thing, the egg chart (not pictured, because you need to buy this magazine so you can have this chart for yourselves.) It’s a two page visual of eggs, cooked from 57°C – 75°C, with pictures of the egg for almost each degree in between. I’m a sucker for food experiments, charts and graphs, so this was right up my alley and I’m hoping to see more in future issues.
Overall, this magazine is a definite buy. It’s thorough in the issue topic, presents great visuals on every single page, and has the most entertaining, heartfelt, laugh-out-loud, and hunger inducing articles about food I’ve ever read. Hey Andrew Knowlton, take notes.