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Reviewed by: Christine Oka, Library Instruction Coordinator, Northeastern University Libraries
The premier issue of Lucky Peach describes itself as “the new food quarterly from Momofuku’s David Chang.” Some background: Momofuku, which translates as “lucky peach,” is a group of restaurants owned and operated by David Chang.
This is not your typical cooking magazine—while writers from the culinary world are indeed present (Anthony Bourdain, Ruth Reichl and Todd Kliman, for instance), other content includes a translation of a short story by Jun’ichiro Tanizaki (1886-1965), cultural essays, and various pieces of artwork.
In the magazine’s introduction, Editor Peter Meehan explains “this issue is about ramen, but there are some nice non-ramen-related pieces, too, just because we felt like it.” These are people who take food -- but not themselves -- seriously! So, in addition to a travelogue of Japan, ramen recipes, “A Specifist’s Guide to the Regional Ramen of Japan,” and Ruth Reichl’s exhaustive review of instant ramen (“a brand-by-brand instant-ramen taste test”) there is “Mediocrity: A Conversation” with Dave Chang, Anthony Bourdain and Wylie Dufresne. Sections in this issue for non-ramen articles and recipes include Eggs (with “Salt Cod Omelet” or “Arzak Egg”) and Other, which includes ”Potato Chips and Oriental Dip” or “Red-Eye Gravy & Mayo.” These folks are pushing the flavors’ envelope.
Lucky Peach is a quirky, but highly appealing title, recommended for public libraries serving populations of (from the publisher’s website): “Diehard foodies as well as fans of good writing and art in general.”