Every so often, I inherit a Lucky Peach magazine. It makes my heart purr. Lucky Peach is the Ramones of the food mag industry; less heady than Gastronomica (which has stolen my heart for different reasons) and more qualified to instruct readers than Food Network Magazine or Rachel Ray Everyday. In the end, it’s the scrappy take on food that makes readers of that peach so damned lucky. The Peach’s playful mix of irreverence and humble awe over the things we put in our mouths is charting new territory, and they’re doing it with pulpy style.
Winter 2013 was the “Apocalypse Issue.” In it, I found handy tips on purposefully aging canned goods years past their expiration dates to achieve new and exciting flavor characteristics, how to make Canadian Spam, and Ted Nugent’s take on the type of person best suited for post-apocalypse survival. “He is a man’s man with an indefatigable gung-ho warrior attitude…six foot, two inches…an expert with all weaponry…known for writing the ultimate love song of all time. Think “Wang Dang Sweet Poontang.” Well, then.
Some people are still obsessed with fantasies of a zombie apocalypse, but more important than that is the sad, yet somehow intriguing reality that we are in the midst of global extinctions that many of us prefer to ignore.
In Peter Meehan’s Lucky Peach article, “Seafarming at The End of The World,” he talks to a new kind of seaman (not semen, you pervs) about strategies for vertical oyster farming, kelp production, and sustainability. One of the first things to die off in the ocean when temperatures rise are the oysters. They are also an indicator species for healthy ocean habitats. Wild oysters are becoming a thing of the past. They’re dying out in droves.
It’s not only oysters. My fish guy told me I couldn’t get anchovies for my last Supper Club because, “they’re just not catching ’em.” Guess what makes that happen? Warmer water temperatures. I was forced to use capers in my caesar dressing for some semblance of that anchovy flavor, and fried smelt for another application I would have preferred that signature anchovy flavor for.
Are we the real zombies? Ruining our environment because our ravenous appetites won’t allow us to stop, even if we lose our souls and a few limbs as we ramble through life’s alleyways scumming for sustenance?
Who cares? Those of us who have a heart connection to food (my heart is actually made of duck confit) and who believe in preservation of species for the benefit of the earth and our hedonistic desires care. I want bees to survive for the sake of the plants they pollinate, and because I want to eat. I want to enjoy their sweet honey. I want fruit, almonds, tomatoes — all those things bees pollinate. And I want them to buzz around my yard reminding me of the way things all work together, until the cows come home.