Food News

As Lucky Peach (Likely) Folds, a Look Back at Its Best Stories

March 15, 2017

Late yesterday afternoon, Eater’s Amanda Kludt broke news that Lucky Peach, David Chang and Peter Meehan’s James Beard award-winning food magazine, will likely be folding after six years. Its last issue is set to be published in May.

To say this is a real shame and loss for food media is an understatement. Lucky Peach is the magazine that first drew me, and many others, to food writing. Through sheer force, it convinced me food writing could be dangerous, exciting, and challenging, and go well beyond the boundaries of running recipes. Lucky Peach didn’t just give real estate to more idiosyncratic pieces of food writing; it gave them the space to breathe.

I’ll miss them dearly. Below is a list of some of my, and other Food52 editors’, favorite Lucky Peach stories. I hope they’ll stay online after the magazine goes dark for you to read. Lucky Peach had many fine moments (nine Beard awards and counting, baby), but these were some of the pieces that captured the essence, and singularity, of this publication’s editorial sensibility. In other words, I couldn't imagine these pieces living anywhere else.

America, Your Food Is So Gay, John Birdsall

Bitch, we’re eating brioche.

Anything to Make You Happy, Ottessa Moshfegh (May 2015)

An essay on mayonnaise and moms.

Dick Soup, Fuchsia Dunlop

The four pizzles lay sprawled out on the kitchen counter.

Eat, Drink, Fuck, Die, Anthony Bourdain

The many food metaphors of film.

Fixed Menu, Kevin Pang

What American prisoners ate in 2015.

The History of Pho, Andrea Nguyen

Rice is the dutiful wife you can rely on, we say. Pho is the flirty mistress you slip away to visit.

I Placed a Jar in Tennessee, John Jeremiah Sullivan

On fruit preservation.

Khmerican Food, Richard Parks

It turns out you can’t write about the cuisines of America and Cambodia without writing about doughnuts.

Leaning in Towards the Last Supper, Sarah Henry

Remembering years of feeding her son as a single mother.

Life, And How It Happens To a Cook, Peter Meehan

Gramercy Tavern’s Claudia Fleming, profiled.

Pork Life, Todd Kliman

An autobiography in seven porky meals, from the Taylor Pork Roll to chitlins.

Three Dishes: Gnocchi, Brette Warshaw

First, best, bastardized.

The Transitive Nightfall of Fatty Egg Rolls, Zach Brooks

Memories of Grateful Dead concert, and the puffy, fried egg rolls there.

Traveling in the North Country, Greg Larson

A gastronomic tour of North Korea.

Wedding Crasher, Gideon Lewis-Kraus

The wedding speeches of Tbilisi, Georgia.

Will Whore for Food, Scott Hocker

A life of sex work to finance an appetite for food.

Wokking the Suburbs, Hua Hsu

As he stepped woozily into the first American afternoon of his life, the last thing my father wanted to do was eat Chinese food.

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What are your favorite Lucky Peach stories? Let us know in the comments.

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17 Comments

Laura M. June 5, 2017
I have been trying to find the article about the Jewish country club on Long Island for a friend. I think it might be in the only issue I lent out (and shouldn't have)! Lucky Peach will be missed.
 
Laura M. June 5, 2017
Correction! I just saw it the article about the country club buffet was in Boca. Does anyone know what issue of Lucky Peach this was?
 
petalpusher March 21, 2017
Thank you for the list of features. Lucky Peach was my salve for the mundane.<br />
 
luvcookbooks March 21, 2017
So sad. I enjoyed browsing for Brette Warshaw, anything.
 
Deborah March 20, 2017
I will mourn LP forever; it changed my life! I never would have met Harold McGee or asafoetida otherwise. <br />The influence is strong, though (see, e.g.: this article/author) and no doubt new things are coming up the same way. <br />Amy Rose Spiegel's shoutout to Mayukh in the latest Food Horoscopes (http://luckypeach.com/stargrazing-food-horoscopes-march-2017/) is just in time - it's come full circle!
 
Author Comment
Mayukh S. March 20, 2017
!! My heart is singing! Thanks for alerting me to this mention that I totally missed.
 
mrslarkin March 20, 2017
Yay Mayukh!
 
Aysha |. April 27, 2017
Woot!
 
Saffron3 March 17, 2017
Oh not good. LP is taking down the website on May 1. I want to hoarde that website and copy everything. I like so many parts of Lucky Peach ... oh dear.
 
Samin N. March 15, 2017
That piece on Claudia Fleming is writing at its finest.
 
cookinginvictoria March 15, 2017
What??!! I am devastated. I will miss Lucky Peach too. Of the articles listed above, my favorite is Claudia Fleming profiled by Peter Meehan. But there's several here I haven't read yet. I will savor them slowly.
 
mrslarkin March 15, 2017
There are so many good ones! I am going to miss Lucky Peach very much.<br /><br />I really enjoyed Brette's story on the Boca Raton country club buffet. (I love buffets.) For a few years, I worked for a caterer who prepared the Friday buffet lunch for a company of about 100 people. There were 4 of us on staff. Feeding people is exhausting, but fun, work, and it amazes me that some folks do this every single day. I have so much respect for them.<br /><br />Oh, and I'm currently re-reading The Apocalypse issue, which may or may not come in handy soon.
 
Brette W. March 15, 2017
Thanks so much mrslarkin :)
 
E March 15, 2017
Noooooo, this is terrible news. I'm gutted
 
Whiteantlers March 15, 2017
What sad news. I have relished the toothsome, funny, wicked, brilliant writing in Lucky Peach and I am very glad that it was an inspiration to get you doing food writing, Mayukh. John Birdsall (of the bourbon ball article) is one of my idols. I first read his prose when I was living in exile Oakland CA. and I'll go to great lengths to read anything he's authored. Thanks for including some of the favorite articles. These will be meted out like gold with my morning tea.
 
Author Comment
Mayukh S. March 15, 2017
He's one of my idols, too (and, I imagine, idol to many others), Whiteantlers! Everything he writes is pretty splendid; I'm also a big fan of this piece he wrote on Elizabeth David's love of ice for LP: http://luckypeach.com/frozen/
 
Whiteantlers March 15, 2017
Ah! Thanks for the link, Mayukh. That was like accidentally getting the best chocolate in the sampler box. When John was a food critic in the Bay area, I would read his reviews aloud to my late wife. We tried a lot of restaurants thanks to him. Long may you both write. : )