Across the internet, we’ve been reading great stories that tap the intersection of food culture and queer culture. Below are a few to enjoy as you head into the weekend. And if you have a tip for a good Jarry-relavant read, send us an email to email@example.com!
Bryan Washington chronicles his infatuation and experiments with soondubu jjigae, the Korean silken tofu stew flavored with gochujang. It’s something he first tried “because of a boy”—and there’s a recipe, too. (The New Yorker, February 20, 2019)
Maybe meeting a new flavor is alchemy. Today, you can’t stand it. Tomorrow, it’s all you can stand. At home, using books like Sohui Kim’s “Korean Home Cooking,” I cooked stews. Minced garlic. Read about blending the flavors—combining chilies and anchovies until the spice bloomed the way that I liked, simmering until the heat of the red pepper was present without screaming. It was a privilege, I guess, growing to care so deeply about something that had nothing to do with my life. Only now, it did.
We’re very excited for No Bar, a new project by the visionary chef and creative Angela Dimayuga at the Standard in New York. Talking to Out magazine, she describes it as a “new age gay bar.” (Out, February 18, 2019)
Trading the rainbow flags and kitschy tchotchkes of a typical West Village dive for banquettes upholstered with a custom cowhide print and a cocktail menu dotted with innuendos (one sipper is named “Spill the Tea”), she notes, “I want us to be chic. We deserve nice things.” But as a nightlife mainstay herself … she knows that, beyond any design tweaks she could make, queer and safer spaces are all about the folks who occupy them. With carefully curated programming and deliberate language about whom the space is for, she hopes to manifest a holdout where “the only rule is that it is inclusive and that it is a safe space for all types of folks.
James Oseland, the former editor-in-chief of Saveur, recently published a memoir that chronicles his coming of age on the 1970s punk-rock scene in San Francisco. He spoke with writer John Birdsall about it. (Los Angeles Times, February 5, 2019)
I’m eternally an optimist. I think that’s clear by the character presented in “Jimmy Neurosis,” because boy, does he get kicked down often, but each time he stands back up. He dusts himself off, no matter how hard or how deeply he’s fallen. He might have to put on a new pair of pants because this one got ripped up by gay bashers, but I think the story I tried to tell is of someone who doesn’t just sit in bed and think about every terrible thing that’s happened to him, but instead sneaks out of the house and goes cruising in the forest at night without a flashlight. We all have our own version of that, and I think it’s a miraculous thing.
Writer MacKenzie Fegan spoke with the team behind La Copine, a restaurant that’S a queer oasis in Joshua Tree—situated in one of the most conservative pockets of the state. (Healthy-ish, February 13, 2019)
All the people who protested and fought for civil rights, they did it so that we could just exist. And that’s what we’re doing. We’re just existing and doing what we’re good at. We’re so lucky. Every night, we put our hands on the building, and we tell La Copine that we love her. Every night. We just want to fill the building with our love so that it keeps it going. Love makes things grow.
Helen Rosner’s profile of Chef Niki Nakayama, of the acclaimed kaiseki restaurant n/naka, is one to savor. (The New Yorker, March 11, 2019 issue)
Kaiseki does not broadcast its own cleverness. There is no futuristic culinary chemistry or flamboyant tableside showmanship. Its practitioners talk about it almost as a form of service, a subordination of the self. When I met Nakayama, she told me that, in kaiseki, “the ingredients are more important than you, the cooking is more important than you. Everything about the food is more important than you, and you have to respect that.” She added, “There’s a part of it that’s really prideful and ambitious, and yet it tries to hold itself back.”
And we learned a lot from Deborah Reid’s deep dive into the world of cookbook sales, which examines how some of our favorite independent cookbook stores are thriving in the age of Amazon—including Matt Sartwell of Kitchen Arts & Letters. Support your local independent bookstores! (Eater, March 1, 2019)
Sartwell, like all booksellers, purchases cookbooks from publishers at an average 40 percent discount, selling them at “cover price,” a margin meant to account for the overhead costs of operating a store. But Amazon’s near-constant discounts — which it can provide due to lower overhead, more generous purchasing deals with publishers, or its willingness to use a book or any product as a loss leader — is skewing consumers’ perception of the cost of books.
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