David Chang’s Lucky Peach Food Mag Reeks of Cool

Josh Ozersky reviews the new food magazine from David Chang and McSweeney’s:

Because I, like so many of Chang’s and McSweeney’s fans and followers, simultaneously admire and despise them, I wanted to dislike Lucky Peach. Moreover, I had skin in the game: Chang and I have had a laughably public feud over the years, and my desire to see him overreach himself was almost as great as my annoyance at having to admit how great Lucky Peach really is.

It really is great. There’s no question its preciousness quotient is off the charts: the magazine includes concert-poster-style woodcuts of Tokyo ramen deities, a recipe for corn with miso butter written entirely in haiku and an appreciation of regional potato chips by the former bassist from Pavement and Sonic Youth, Mark Ibold. The magazine’s visual style is like a cross between The Art of EatingVice and an exhibition catalog. The air of irreverence, of brilliant and privileged youths indulging their fixations, brings to mind the smarmy young Charles Foster Kane, talking a mile a minute and laughing off his losses of a million dollars a year. Lucky Peach lives on that magical, ephemeral plane.

Sounds like an actual magazine for foodies that doesn’t suppose one is actually going to cook anything contained within. That’s pretty cool and one of the things that’s always bothered me about food magazines. No one ever cooks any of the recipes.

Ozersky grapples mightily with wanting to hate the magazine and all the trappings associated with Chang and McSweeney’s, but despite that, this is a really glowing review.

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