If you are one of the many millions of people who have spent some time in quarantine over the last few months, you might have rediscovered the joy of sitting down and immersing yourself in the pages of a magazine. As someone who publishes a print and online magazine about designing the future of food (thisismold.com), I’ve always believed in the power of print to take you out of one world and transport you to another, and the importance of engaging in the tactile.
Eating is the only thing we do besides sex that engages all our senses. In a time where we are searching out sensory stimulation, what better activity to engage in than reading and dreaming about food? Below is a roundup of eight (plus one) beautifully designed and thoughtfully edited independent food and culture 'zines that speak to our current moment of living interior lives, feeding ourselves and others (food is politics), and remembering the people and things that add beauty and color to our everyday lives.
A riff on the classic ‘90s Hong Kong film, @thegodofcookery is Toronto-based creative director and part-time cook Clarence Kwan. When pandemic-fueled anti-Asian violence exploded and the racial justice uprisings followed soon after, Kwan took to his Instagram account to express solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement by raising awareness about white supremacy and racism in food. Chinese Protest Recipes, a collaborative 'zine designed by Ron Tau of Meat Studios, soon followed. Available free for download or as a limited edition print 'zine, Protest Recipes is raising money for Color of Change and Black Women in Motion while decolonizing our plates.
The perfect present for that friend who subscribes to Mies van der Rohe’s maxim, “God is in the details,” The Science of the Secondary is a self-published series of explorations of the every day from the Singapore-based design studio Atelier Hoko. Each edition goes into great detail about observed behaviors and experiences around a single subject: cup, egg, plate, apple, toilet paper, window, door.
The New York City-based 'zine Put a Egg On It has been telling personal stories about food, cooking, and community for over a decade. Each issue is published on its iconic green paper and includes a themed recipe section—the current issue tackles the conundrum of serving up small plates.
Although we often forget, everything we eat has been cultivated and grown by human hands somewhere in the world. Despite the oppressive shadow of industrial agriculture, 34% of the world’s food supply is grown by smallholder farmers on only 24% of agricultural lands, and for some crops like coffee, wine, and spices, the percentage goes up to 80%. Whetstone, founded by sommelier Stephen Satterfield, is a beautiful deep dive into food origins through a print magazine, weekly podcast, and occasional video.
It’s no secret that food is a global language for home. So when UK-based graphic designer Christopher O’Leary began processing the loss of his mother, he searched for home through what was familiar, cooking and writing down recipes that reminded him of a childhood spent in Hong Kong, the Philippines and Liverpool in the UK. FatBoy Zine launched last year as a compilation of these recipes and memories.
In this year of life lessons, one that I hold close to my heart is that I am only committing to drinking natural wine from here on out. Katherine Clary’s lovely biannual, The Wine Zine, tells poetic stories about natural wine and the people who make it. With a focus on female and BIPOC producers and industry professionals, the focus is a welcome and contemporary take on one of life’s most ancient pleasures.
The quality of wine is rooted in place, but the terroir doesn’t end with the flavor or mouthfeel of the vintage. It extends to the culture of the place and how that, in turn, might influence the ways that the wine is produced, who distributes it, and who enjoys it in the glass. Glou Glou is a travel 'zine about natural wine and the culture that surrounds it, explored city by city. The current issue, New York, is a digital-only issue with all the proceeds going to the Service Workers Coalition, a New York-based mutual aid fund.
“A quaranzine for good causes,” The Pandemic Post has been publishing a print and digital 'zine with poetry and prose (literally), as well as recipes, art, interviews, and other snippets for life in the time of quarantine. Proceeds from the current issue (No. 4) will go to the Audre Lorde Project.
Black women are the foundation of American food. A forthcoming magazine from food writer and pastry chef Klancy Miller will celebrate Black women, past and present, in food and wine across the diaspora. Although the first issue is not yet out, you can help lay the foundation for the magazine by supporting the Patreon.
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LinYee Yuan is the founder and editor of MOLD, a critically-acclaimed print and online magazine about designing the future of food. Through original reporting, MOLD explores how designers can address the coming food crisis by creating products and systems that will help feed 9 billion people by the year 2050.