I love to cook and craft, and, judging by the successes of food-based television networks and lifestyle blogs, I am not the only one. As I mentioned in my previous article about the benefits of these activities, it helps to have a variety of sources to rely upon for your cooking and crafting needs. As I become more familiar with food and its transformative properties, I seek literature that delves deeper into not just recipes, but also the food itself. In the same vein, having a lifestyle magazine that recaptures the childlike whimsy of crafting reinforces just how much fun it is to create. Seeing as I’m such a magazine freak, it’s only natural that I find solace and inspiration in that medium.
Lucky Peach, a quarterly magazine founded by David Chang of Momofuku restaurant fame, along with Peter Meehan, who co-authored the Momofuku cookbook with Chang, is a literary-minded foodie's greatest dream come true. This beautiful magazine fuses thoughtful commentary and in-depth reportage with unique recipes for those looking to venture beyond the basics. It’s a publication that urges you to not just experiment with your food but to understand it as well. The best writing transports the reader to worlds unknown, and Lucky Peach, which focuses on a singular theme for each issue, accomplishes this with aplomb. The current issue, The Plant Kingdom, transported me to California orchards to discover the process of fruit grafting and the history of the Gold Rush, while bountiful groves of rare citrus set the scene to explore the nature of obsession. There are also stories examining the science behind plant scents, the plight of Ethiopian teff farmers and so much more.
There is no shortage of inspiration for home cooks. Practical advice like the Contorni Matrix offers myriad ways to prep your veggies, providing methods as well as a wealth of exciting, innovative recipes, and vegetable-based ice cream recipes put a new spin on a classic summer treat. A short piece on saffron is accompanied by a simple recipe for elegant Scalloped Saffron Potatoes, and I am beyond excited to try the three — yes three — versions of Mapo Tofu.
You can check out some of Lucky Peach’s content online, including the saffron article and “They Will Squash You,” a deeply engaging look into the world of competitive vegetable growing in the U.K. that happily name-checks iconic British Claymation characters Wallace and Gromit, but the full magazine itself is print-only, best read while curled up in a comfy chair with a cup of tea and a snack. Lucky Peach is available for purchase on its website and in bookstores.
There is a certain air of perfectionism to some lifestyle magazines that makes creating anything within their pages seem daunting. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy them, but I don’t want to lose sight of the joy that comes with creating something new. Thank goodness for Sweet Paul, the lifestyle magazine founded by Paul Lowe, a man who lives by the motto of his grandmother, who he calls Mormor: “Perfection is boring.” Amen to that! Lowe fully embraces the fun and whimsy of crafting and cooking. The spring issue, a celebration of Sweet Paul’s fifth anniversary, has an entire spread focusing on the two essentials of any good party, cocktails and cake, featuring perfect pairings such as Salted Almond Praline Cake and Spiced Pear and Ginger Cocktail. Lowe’s interview with interior designer Genevieve Gorder includes mouthwatering recipes involving smoked salmon, and there are fresh ideas for preparing fruits and vegetables throughout the issue. Craft projects range from simple garlands and a charming birdhouse to houseware made using copper pipes. This is the beauty of Sweet Paul: there are crafts for every level and dishes for a variety of tastes, inspirational interviews with pro crafters that will inspire you and thoughtfully curated product picks, plenty of them from indie goods emporium Etsy, so you can support independent artists and get a handmade vibe throughout your home.
Sweet Paul is a family affair. “From Mormor’s Kitchen” is a heartwarming look into Lowe’s childhood with his grandmother, with a memory accompanying a recipe that you, too, can make with love. There are plenty of product finds for children, from adorable clothing to fun furnishings. The “Woof” section, meanwhile, features homemade dog treat recipes and dog-themed goodies for you and your canine companion. Sweet Paul is available in both digital and print editions.
Read these today and get inspired! Tell us: what are some of your favorite lifestyle publications?