Five creative ways Put A Egg On It celebrates food
It’s hard to describe exactly what I love about Put A Egg On It, the playful zine from Brooklyn about food, cooking, and the joys of eating with friends and family. We sent it out on Sampler recently, and its 78 pages, jam-packed with personal essays, recipes, cooking tips, and photo diaries, has the ability to ignite in me a pubescent hunger, both for information and the meals they describe with graphic immediacy.
It might be the exoticness of American food culture, or their attention-vying layouts, buzzing with illustrations that spread to the edge of each page. Or it could be their inexorable energy, creating an excitement for the possibilities of the pages yet unread, and a craving for new takes on reoccurring features (miraculous food handling tips, for example). Whatever it may be, below are five inventive editorials that demonstrate why this tasty, green-paper print is one of my favourite food magazines at the moment.
1. Munching about in New York’s Chinatown
To give you a sense of the writing in PAEOI, here is their brief for submissions — “We’re looking for personal stories – not journalism. You don’t need to be a ‘food writer’ or a ‘food photographer.’ Everyone eats!” Greg Bresnitz, co-founder of Snacky Tunes, writes about adopting NYC’s Chinatown as a temporary home while he was sick and restricted to a local rehab centre (below). His mother would wander the area, going more by what other families seemed to be eating, than the TripAdvisor reviews we tend to reflexively rely upon. By the time he was beginning to be back on his feet, he was held, then shoved up some stairs so that he could get a taste of a very special Taiwanese pork chop.
2. A gay fry cook in New Orleans
Started in 1939, Clover Grill had many owners including “a retired policeman with a thing for drag queens”. It seems like one of those diners where the staff doubled as performers and comedians — after the O.J. Simpson trial, one had stickers that said “At Clover Grill, our OJ isn’t free” — and Bradley Sumrall’s account of his days there will make you want to channel your emotions in a big stack of pancakes.
3. Mustard memories
Personal stories associated with unremarkable grocery items are dotted throughout the issue, and Baldur Helgson shares a funny, warming anecdote of his one-hot-dog-a-day routine as an Icelandic paper boy (below).
4. Dudes (good and bad) and food (good and bad)
Kimberly Chou’s Bad Hombres (below) is another great personal piece, candidly mapping out the impassioned terrain where good food and ex-lovers intersect. “Call it romance, or hospitality”, she reflects, as she recounts accepting a perfectly assembled bite from a date, which hints at possibilities, even though sparks didn’t fly that particular night.
5. When food steals the limelight in movies
John Broadley’s inky, darkly humorous illustrations depict moments where classic food items dress up to take on pivotal roles in films (below). From the devil mountain mashed potato in Close Encounters, to the orders at Pulp Fiction’s Jack Rabbit Slim’s, his ‘Culinary Cameos’ are full of tiny details that will reward the most scrupulous reader. Plus, it made us think of Fat Brad, the recipe magazine on the food Brad Pitt eats in front of the camera.
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