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