Sunday, May 19, 2013

Weird Veg in Paper Magazine!

I've long harbored a simultaneous pleasure and discontent in the fact that Weird Vegetables has always been a little haphazardly thrown together, never quite ready for prime-time, much less polished than other  food  blogs, intermittently updated, falling fallow for long spells.

On one hand, I'm such a perfectionist that if I sat around crafting my ideal web presence, I'd be just as far behind as I am in my dissertation (ba-dum! of the sad drum, no laughter). In this way, the rough-draft feel of the blog is a productive necessity--and a quality of most blogs, I suppose. But at other times, when I'm daydreaming on the BART train to Berkeley or procrastinating from grading undergraduate papers, I imagine a banner with weirder vegetables, more frequent posts, more interviews and profiles, a more magazine quality to the site. Maybe I don't need to wait to make these changes until after filing that dissertation on competing ideas of propriety and proportion in North American, Brazilian, and, er, some British and French literature, which encompasses Elizabeth Bishop in Brazil, Clarice Lispector, and the Brazilian modernists known as the cannibalists.... sigh. Back to lighter subject matter...

So it brought me great surprise and delight to find a short appreciation of the blog in Paper magazine's May Tech & Food issue. (Andy Samberg and his cronies from The Lonely Island are on the cover listening to a hamburger, and I thought they looked like they could use some major veggie B-sides). It seems that having a site that is technologically and aesthetically one step beyond a Geocities homepage doesn't entirely discredit the worth of one's online contribution, and that the print world, that old dying king the youthful web armies are doing their best to overpower and supplant, is peopled by, well, people who will spend the time to click through one's forgotten posts and synthesize their wanderings into a thoughtful appraisal:

 "Part scrapbook of images, part diary of encounters with preposterous plants, this blog adds rich chapters to our awareness of the vegetable world. Scroll through to find vintage seed packet artwork or a review of artichoke tea."
[Blushing with pleasure!] The shout out appears in a roundup of "weird, smart, funny, yummy" food sites like scanwiches, artist Dan Cretu's high-concept weird food + art tumblr, and, which sounds like grindr for gardeners, except more about hooking each other up with veggie advice. Or something.

Anyways... the longer feature that this page punctuates is devoted to "foodieodicals" (a new breed of magazines about food), in a beautiful spread that features some local San Francisco publications, Meatpaper and Remedy Quarterly, plus the brand new Modern Farmer, which is technically based in Hudson but seems to have lured a communal barn-load of S.F. media people with promises of lower rent and the simple life. They also mention a super rad zine you should know called Put A Egg on It. In the print mag but also online here.

You should also check out a crisply-written piece on the new "foodivists" (magazines love catchy neologisms) who are moving and shaking up the West Coast food + art world, by WV contributing vegetable Leafy Heirloom, aka Leif Hedendal. (On a side note, we at WV would like to thank Leif heartily for calling the attentive eyes of Paper Mag to our humble virtual vegetable stand.) Little City Gardens gets a lovely profile, as do up-and-coming SF baker dood Josey Baker (not redundant; that's really his name, yo), a chef from Washington named Blaine Wetzel whose ecto-green broths and foraged edible sculptures I've fallen in love with, plus two groups dedicated to exploring experiments in dining, Thought for Food and Thank You For Coming. You can read the feature in print but also online here.