Lately, everywhere I go I find small-run, never-heard-of-by-anyone-ever magazines. Tabard Inn seems to have a new stack of some obscure publication every time I go. These magazines range from glossy to pretty amateurish, and they are all quirky as hell.
Tea A Magazine, spotted by the cash register at Teaism, is one of the latter. I love the idea, of course, but for $5.99, and after a flip through, I passed on the quarterly. I do see on their site that they offer a two-day course for people new to the tea business. A certificate of completion is awarded after your check for $2,100 clears.
At the Whole Foods, I did scrounge up the $5.99 for La Cucina Italiana, an Italian cooking magazine out of New York. This magazine looked like a quality production, but with my general fatigue of Eating Healthy/Eating Simple/Whole Living/Yoga rags, they had me at the plate of carbonara on the cover. Having read it cover-to-cover, I can tell you with certainty that you can skip this one. It felt like a shell of a food magazine, and what was missing was any explanation of food technique. Do this, do that, bam, bam. But I want to know why exactly I’m supposed to soak the fish bones in cold water for 30 minutes and then toss the liquid! The other issue: too much Italian. I see the picture, I have no clue what it is, I search for the name of the dish, but it isn’t in English. I was lost. Also, there was a big section on rabbit, and as anyone who has cooked rabbit knows, it ain’t worth it! There is too little meat on those little bodies.
On the upside, I did find one gem in all the pulp. Based in Sperryville, VA, Flavor magazine covers sustainable food production in the D.C./Virginia area. This publication is good for anyone in the D.C. area interested in gardening, CSAs, or day or weekend food trips to Virginia. Did you know there is a group that will come put a honeybee hive on your roof? Or come help you put a garden in your yard? Or bring you a CSA-style box of meat and eggs and dairy? The March/April issue also looks at things to do, places to eat and sleep in Fredericksburg, VA. I was captivated by an article on the process of executing animals in a humane way on a small farm. There were profiles of chefs working in a sustainable way with local ingredients–Jeff Black of BlackSalt; Ian Boden of Staunton Grocery–that weren’t heavy-handed and smug. I actually ended up feeling better about the world, more hopeful, after reading this magazine. And I’m resolving to go pick some produce this year on a farm in Orange, VA, just an hour south of D.C. I loved the scolding rant from a rancher, who explains in detail just how animals are not like people. Fun facts about cows and chickens galore! Chicks don’t need to eat or drink for their first three days, because they have to wait for all the chicks to hatch. They don’t feel that need until they get their first taste–like flipping a switch. I really wish I could link to this piece, but the website is very limited. You might just have to subscribe. ($24.90 plus shipping for 6 issues)