There's food porn, and then there's Lucky Peach. The quarterly journal of food and writing reaches above and beyond the primitive salivatory satisfaction provided by last night's dozen-course dinner of Instagram meal pics, adding a hefty helping of intellectualism to our dirty diets of food oggling.
For the uninitiated: James Beard award winner David Chang of the New York stalwart Momofuku brand umbrella of restaurants in New York teams up with writer Chris Ying, Peter Meehan (co-author of the Momofuku cookbook), McSweeney's publishing house and Zero Point Zero Productions to assemble the array of gorgeous photography, whimsical art and in-depth essays by seasoned writers from all across the country in Lucky Peach, which debuted in July 2011. It's certainly not your mother's copy of Everyday with Rachel Ray.
Each issue of Lucky Peach (which translates directly from the Japanese "momofuku") dives into the deep end of a featured theme; prior issues featured topics like ramen, "the sweet spot" of the year for food, and cooks and chefs. The latest issue, a summer edition and the magazine's fourth installment, spotlights American food.
Amidst its colorful matte covers, the pages of Issue 4 - there are 176 of them, to be exact - get sprinkled with "Choose Your Own Eatventure" paths featuring tacos through Texas and California. Meanwhile, food science writer Harold McGee offers an introspective on eggs, Anthony Bourdain and Elvis Mitchell head to the movies together, and artist Lauren R. Weinstein provides a charmingly illustrated history of sushi in America.
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Recipes, provided by professional chefs, begin with interesting narratives followed by an unconventional approach to putting it all together -- complete with colorful, casually-written asides and useful advice. In this issue, learn how to make fried chicken with Top Chef Jonathan Waxman, a whole damn wedding cake with Brooks Headly of New York's Del Posto, New Jersey style gravy fries with chef Kevin Pemoulie and much more.
Keep your eyes peeled for a variety of art ranging from psychedelic Cartoon Network-style drawings to intense seafood pics enough to make the shellfish-allergic puff up in jealous ecstasy.