I drew a bunch of tiny (and not so tiny) things for Lucky Peach #12: The Seashore Issue, which hits newsstands today! Everything was art directed by Walter Green, including a secret Drizzy cameo. Go buy this issue immediately, it is super beautiful and comes with a comic book!
August 19, 2014 | 82 notes
What, exactly, is behind the sea smells at the seashore? Tufts University microbiologist Ben Wolfe answers that question in The Seashore Issue, and his article is now up on Popular Science. Click on over to learn about the curious mix of funk, food, and sex that make up what you’re smelling (and tasting) on the beach.
Illustration by Victor Kerlow
August 19, 2014 | 23 notes
Hugh Merwin is the senior editor of Grub Street and wrote the article “Shell Station” in The Seashore Issue, in which he surveys eight different types of clams. Here, he shares his recipe for clam dip.
Take it away, Hugh:
I grew up working in a sort of broken-down clam bar on Long Island’s Great South Bay. One summer we took over the adjoining fish market—we just knocked a big hole in the wall with sledgehammers to connect the two spaces—and in the rubble I found a stack of old promotional recipe cards with instructions for the original Kraft Music Hall Clam Dip, which reportedly caused a shortage of canned clams in Manhattan the moment it was published in the 1950s. I replaced canned clams with fresh steamers, Worcestershire with some funky Roman-style garum. It was actually amazing, especially after letting the chilled and mixed ingredients mingle for a while. —Hugh Merwin
Makes around 1 3/4 cups
18 littleneck or topneck clams, steamed in 1/4 cup of water, cooled, and shucked
6 tablespoons clam cooking liquid
Juice of one lemon
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon garum or Thai fish sauce
4 dashes Angostura bitters
8 ounces good-quality cream cheese
White pepper to taste
1. Combine clams, cooking liquid, lemon juice, salt, garum or fish sauce, and bitters in a food processor. Pulse until clams are rough-chopped and ingredients are blended. Add cream cheese and pulse, occasionally scraping down sides of food processor with spatula, until everything is smooth. Add white pepper to taste. Clam dip is best after it sits, refrigerated, for a few hours. Serve with sturdy potato chips.
August 19, 2014 | 46 notes
August 19, 2014 | 30 notes
August 19, 2014 | 81 notes
"One of the saddest things about chefs is that often they don’t want to cook at home. The most beautiful food you cook should be for your family." —Ben Shewry in the Gender Issue
This is the sort of dangerous thinking that causes people to label Ben Shewry—chef of Attica in Melbourne—with derogatory monikers like “one of the nicest guys on the planet,” “a good man,” and “a close friend.”
Now Shewry’s trying to spread his preposterous charisma and general love for his fellow man. This October, he’s inaugurating the first WAW (What a Wonderful World) Gathering in Melbourne, inviting chefs from around the world to come together and share ideas.
Our editor-in-chief Chris Ying will be there, trying to stop Ben from bringing happiness or inspiration to any more people.
The above photo of Ben coaching his son’s basketball team was taken by Colin Page.
August 18, 2014 | 45 notes
miso paste, soy sauce, sake, soju, and amazake all have one thing in common: koji. think of koji like a fermentation starter. also known as aspergillus oryzae, koji creates the enzymes necessary for fermentation and imparts a characteristic flavor.
ktc cultivates koji on basmati rice and on hearty grains to ferment hozon and bonji. david chang talks about the genesis of the momofuku culinary lab, why koji is so fascinating, and what fruity pebbles has to do with it all.
August 18, 2014 | 121 notes
August 18, 2014 | 105 notes
Jimmy Fallon challenged our very own Dave Chang to a wing-eating contest on Friday night, and he also said some nice things about our magazine. See above for the whole video, and watch two great people sweat a lot on national television.
August 18, 2014 | 71 notes
Welcome to Microbe Week, because sharks are actually kind of boring.
[LP] What were the reasons behind starting the site? How did you and Bronwen start working together?
[BW] Bronwen came to work in the lab [at Harvard] where I was doing my post-doc research on cheese microbes. She is the cheese buyer for Neal’s Yard Dairy in the UK and has a background in biochemistry. She wanted to learn more about the microbes involved in the production and aging of the cheeses that she sells. I am not exaggerating when I say it was the happiest two months of my time in the lab. She’s incredible—thoughtful, creative, and so brilliant.
We were out for drinks, and decided that we should create a website that would be the “Lucky Peach of food microbes.” So many people are so jazzed about fermentation right now, and pretty much everyone is embracing delicious rot—using fermentation to preserve and produce novel flavors. There are tons of great guides out there with recipes and some basic science (thank you Sandor Katz!!!), but the microbiology behind these foods has been largely locked away in stuffy journals and guarded by men in tweed jackets. As the wise David Chang once told me, “We all know how to ferment. But why does fermentation happen? That remains unclear to most people.” We wanted to break down the barriers and make the science of fermented foods more accessible. And we wanted to include lots of pretty pictures of microbes because that makes these invisible creatures come to life!
Lots of people have asked me to write a book with this content. But I am overcommitted and a website is so much easier. And it’s free! And people can interact and comment and bicker about their favorite yeast (OK, that hasn’t happened, but would be amazing!).
We’ll never be able to mimic the wonders of Lucky Peach in our tiny world of fermented foods, but we’re trying to use the same combination of accessible writing and beautiful images to get the world excited about the microbes in their food.
[LP] Who is the site for? Hardcore nerds only, or will wannabe nerds like us be able to learn from it?
[BW] We’re hoping the website will be for anyone who loves fermentation, food, and or microbes. Hardcore nerd membership not required. We’re trying to write it and enrich the content so that it will be accessible to anyone who stayed (mostly) awake during high school biology. We’re just beginning and both of us have full-time jobs (Bronwen runs around the UK buying amazing artisan cheese for Neal’s Yard Dairy, I am an assistant professor of microbiology at Tufts University). And currently my only editor is my cat. So we’re still figuring out exactly where the site will go. We want people to write to us to tell us what works and what doesn’t so we can improve as the website evolves. And if anyone out there wants to contribute in anyway, we’d love to hear from you.
As a warning: the site is very dairy/cheese heavy right now because that is what we know best. But we’ve got some great pieces on kombucha, kimchi, and some more obscure ferments in the works. Stay tuned!
[LP] What can learning about microbes do for me in the kitchen? Will it improve my pizza?
[BW] Just like the ‘farm to fork’ movement has raised awareness of important issues in food production, understanding the incredible microscopic world in some of the world’s most delicious foods helps people appreciate the invisible biology behind their dinner plate.
Some people are grossed out by the idea that foods are packed full of microbes (you should hear what people said after my salami microbiology piece in Lucky Peach Issue 4—yikes!). But I think these microbes and the artisan food producers that work with these microbes have amazing stories to tell. We have a Microbe Guide section that teaches you about the microbes and a Profiles section that introduces you to some amazing fermented food producers and to scientists who study fermented foods.
In a more practical way, understanding the microbiology can help you tinker with microbes in your own kitchen. If you know why a fermentation happens, you can begin to play with the microbiological parts (species or communities of microbes) or controls on that fermentation (salt, moisture, etc.) to push it into a new direction.
[LP] Who or what in the microbial world is getting you excited right now?
[BW] I have a huge microbe crush on Zygosaccharomyces rouxii right now. I actually wrote about this yeast for MicrobialFoods.org. It’s the reason that soy sauce and miso have that amazing caramel-like odor (which by the way is similar to the odor produced during sex by some species of cockroaches). The colonies produced by this yeast in the lab are absolutely amazing—it’s as if Frank Gehry designed them. Go read my blurb and I’m sure you’ll fall in love too.
[LP] Do you know any microbial one liners we could use as a punchline here?
[BW] Microbe Week: because sharks are actually kind of boring. [Ed. note: thanks Ben!]
Yeasts photo by Ben Wolfe
Gif by Richie Brown
August 18, 2014 | 56 notes
Whenever I’m in LA and mention I’m in the mood for a chili dog, people inevitably bring up Pink’s. The truth is, I have never been impressed by Pink’s. It’s overrated, in my opinion. I see the joint as a tourist trap that cranks out mediocre, cafeteria-style food. But there are Pink’s lovers who tell me I’m crazy; that I have to give them another shot.
So when I was driving by Pink’s late one afternoon last month and saw there was no line, I stopped in to give them yet another chance. Could I have been wrong all this time?
A soggy boiled dog, an untoasted stale bun, and mushy chili with no taste or texture. The best thing about this hot dog was… the slice of processed cheese!
Rarely do I say anything overly negative on Eataku, but I can’t bite my tongue here. As a self-proclaimed chili dog connoisseur, I’m actually offended by what Pink’s offers!
August 18, 2014 | 99 notes
August 17, 2014 | 96 notes