This piece in First We Feast does a thorough job of enumerating many of the reasons why so much contemporary food writing sucks. Not coincidentally, the current state of the art has more than a little to do with why we have started this quarterly. In all of our respective careers, one constant has been the way in which the creative expression of our true, uncensored personalities and talents has led to the most gratifying recognition and exciting opportunities. Saying what we think other people want to hear brings no fulfillment, though it can of course bring paychecks: thus are independent voices gradually made less so.
This installment of our humble quarterly honors the idea that rigorous individuality bears the best fruit with a variety of resolutely autonomous voices. Continuing our exploration of the apple (which the Hudson Valley grows better than almost anywhere in the world) we bring you the account of a former wine industry pro turned Columbia County cider maker, as well as an amateur recounting how her obsession with calvados spurred her to make her own with apples from Red Hook. We have a short story about uncomfortable comfort food, a photo essay wherein a chemist and mycologist turned food writer shares his consuming side project, and the world premiere of a piece of screen dance—largely shot in Hudson—organized around the infamous yet apocryphal statement “let them eat cake.”
While the authors of the FWF article state correctly that “too many new cookbooks are little more than vanity projects, packed with elaborate recipes that require obscure ingredients and full brigades to pull off correctly” I would be remiss if I did not emphasize that the forthcoming Fish & Game book has been meticulously crafted to be highly useful to anybody anywhere who wants to make cooking more central to their way of life. It has undergone exactly zero focus grouping or corporate-mandated revisions; like everything we publish here, it’s exactly the way we wanted it. Look for it later this year.