Read ’em and eat! Fest to celebrate food mags of all flavors - Brooklyn Paper

Read ’em and eat! Fest to celebrate food mags of all flavors

Good enough to eat: Food Book Fair managing director Kimberly Chou with an assortment of food books and magazines.
Photo by Jason Speakman

Get ’em while they’re hot — and still in print!

An indie food magazine festival will serve up a smorgasbord of lip-smacking serials and juicy journals at the Wythe Hotel in Williamsburg on April 11. Foodieodicals, which is part of the larger Food Book Fair taking place at the hotel April 10–12, is a micro ’zine fest showcasing 21 publications from Brooklyn and beyond. Putting pictures of food on paper might seem antiquated in the age of Instagram and food blogs, but print offers an experience that still can’t be replicated with a screen, according to the creator of one provender-centric publication.

“Print is an object — it stays. It doesn’t get lost in the blog roll,” said Anna Dunn, editor-in-chief of the Williamsburg-published Diner Journal, which is participating in the fest. “You spill wine on us while you read a recipe. You mark a page you want to return to. You rip a page out and tack it on the wall.”

But food magazines — like most magazines — aren’t the cash cows they once were. Gourmet famously stopped printing in 2009, while much-hyped hipster periodical Modern Farmer temporarily ceased publication this year following financial struggles and a mass staff exodus.

Diner Journal, a hole-punched food, art, and literature magazine from the owners of Williamsburg restaurants Diner and Reynard, has an even tougher challenge on its plate — it relies on subscriptions to stay afloat, because it doesn’t print advertisements, said Dunn.

“Funding an endeavor like this is certainly a challenge,” said Dunn, who lives in Crown Heights.

The menu for this year’s Foodieodicals includes smaller do-it-yourself prints such as Put a Egg On It, a quirky literary magazine featuring personal and photo essays about food, alongside big-name glossy publications like Lucky Peach, founded by Momofuku impresario David Chang. Most of the 21 magazines featured are made in New York, but others hail from Boston, Chicago, and D.C., and a few are from even further afield, such as Revista HojaSanta from Mexico City and the Cleaver Quarterly from Beijing. Some are printed quarterly, others are annuals, and some just come out whenever the creators can find the time, said an organizer.

“A lot of people do this as their passion project,” said Kimberly Chou, managing director of Food Book Fair. “It’s really beautiful to see all the different sizes and shapes and colors and textures,”

Each magazine at Foodieodicals will have a separate table topped with stacks of issues and merchandise for sale, and some will also offer activities. Last year, Chinese food magazine the Cleaver Quarterly raffled off a cake. This year, “food and fantasy” ’zine the Runcible Spoon is asking attendees to contribute their own hand-drawn food art to go in a giant wooden iPhone. The images will manually scroll around, replicating an Instagram feed, said Chou.

Beyond Foodieodicals, the three-day Food Book Fair will include panel discussions, tastings, and signings with chefs and cookbook authors, said Chou. The event, which has been running since 2012, is open to food industry folk and amateur foodies alike, she said.

“Anyone and everyone who is invested in eating and drinking, and talking about eating and drinking, is welcome to come,” she said.

Foodieodicals at the Food Book Fair at the Wythe Hotel [80 Wythe Ave. between N. 11th and N. 12 streets in Williamsburg, (718) 460–8000, www.foodieodicals.com]. April 11 at noon–4 pm. $5.

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