Long Overdue

In an interview with Food52, Klancy Miller describes how she decided to launch her own magazine, For the Culture, “solely focused on and created by Black women”:

“I was also being introduced to a lot of people who had great ideas, so I just thought, ‘I really want to do this.’ A friend of mine said, ‘You should just do it yourself.’ I realized at a certain point, if I don’t do this, somebody else will, and I might not like the way they do it. So I’d rather do it myself.”

Okra Studies

Author Chris Smith talks about his book The Whole Okra: A Seed to Stem Celebration, which recently won the James Beard Award for food scholarship:

“In some ways, I consider the book the start of my okra journey. Since its publication, I’ve connected with so many people that share a passion for okra. I keep thinking of new ways that I could use okra. At the beginning of this week, for example, I had 2,000 pounds of okra seeds delivered, and a few breweries are looking to use it for okra seed beer. It’s really an ongoing journey of okra craziness.”

New Heights

Epicurious’s Kendra Vaculin explains how she uses old cookbooks to prop up her desk computer:

“Building a cookbook standing desk (or laptop lift, if I’m feeling sedentary) has done wonders for my productivity during this new WFH era. After weeks of wondering why I couldn’t focus while curled on the couch in a position called The Chiropractor’s Nightmare, balancing my computer on a little pile of culinary inspiration was enough to set me straight.”

Computer Cuisine

Coming this spring: Cognitive Cooking with Chef Watson, a cookbook produced by IBM’s supercomputer, Watson.

“Watson was fed data about foods traditionally enjoyed by humans. The computer was able to learn and find reason behind recipes, taste profiles and chemical compounds, so that it (he?) could suggest new flavour combinations. The resultant ingredient lists were converted to recipes by chefs at the US Institute of Culinary Education, and the publisher promises ‘unusual ingredient combinations that man alone might never imagine.'”

A Peek at Palestinian Cuisine

Laila El-Haddad describes the book she co-wrote with Maggie Schmitt, The Gaza Kitchen, which Cooking Up a Story calls “a wonderful collection of recipes and personal stories about the roughly 1.7 million people living in the Gaza Strip”:

“The really fantastic array of vegetables, seasonal vegetable stews often with tomato based gravies—that’s what you would be eating at home, as well as this variety of one-bowl meals that are prepared in Gaza. So they’re kind of stews that are thickened with sesame seed paste tahina and again a variety of ingredients like sour pomegranates and sometimes tamarind and poured into bowls, allowed to cool.”

Exacting Standards

Bee Wilson wonders whether cookbooks are too specific:

“I am fascinated by ‘unless otherwise specified’ sections in cookbooks. ‘All dishes serve four, all butter is unsalted…’ Like recipe writing in general, these proclamations stand between a military instruction manual and a philosophy of living. They do not necessarily correspond to real home cooking, where eggs vary and pepper is whatever we can rummage from the cupboard.”

Going Dormant

Modern Farmer magazine has suspended publication until at least summer, reports the New York Times:

“[The] quirky 100,000-circulation quarterly and website that tried to link effete urban farmers’ market culture with the practicalities of actual farming, became a magazine without an editorial staff on Friday, when its remaining paid editors walked out its doors.

“With editorial operations suspended, the future of what remains of the Modern Farmer brand is uncertain.”

In Plain English

Khushbu Shah writes about Toast, the brand-new British food journal:

“London-based writer and editor Miranda York turned to Kickstarter to fund her British culinary magazine and managed to raise over $36,000. Yahoo Food notes that no recipes or restaurant reviews are to be found in the annual magazine, just long-form essays about ‘all things both British and culinary.’

“York tells Yahoo that she chose to launch print over digital — even though its more costly — because she wanted to ‘create something timeless, something people would collect.'”