GOOD: The Food Issue

| February 11, 2008 | 0 Comments
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With a decidedly new take on the happy meal, the folks over at GOOD have filled their upcoming March/April issue with stories and photos about food along with their usual provocative round-up of art, politics and culture from around the world. Excellent visual design and a refreshingly straight-forward take on sustainability distinguish their pages. My friend Stewf introduced me to GOOD last year, on a camping trip no less, and since then I’ve been a loyal reader.

Be forewarned: this is not meant for the patchouli posse nor the bake-your-own-bread-after-grinding-your-own-wheat camp. Expect to see glints of flashy ads here and there. That said, my favorite sections include Statement, where the editors give an artist free rein with several pages at the beginning to set the theme and tone of the magazine. As a bit of an information wonk, I love Transparency for its always creative graphical exploration of intriguing, important data.

This food issue has a somewhat predictable feature on organic, free-range meat that will not be news to most who read this blog. Other pieces, though, offer interesting takes on what people are eating now in the U.S. Adam Leith Gollner’s predictions for “the next sushi” includes bibimbap and dosa. Photographer Vanessa Stump’s in-your-face layouts of everyday meals highlight the healthiest school lunch the magazine could find (Pasadena High School), military rations with squeezable apple jelly and a $250 pizza (wine not included).

With a bent toward revealing the power structure behind our consumer world, GOOD often highlights writers, photographers and graphic designers who can find new patterns in old realties. In this issue, Phil Howard shows which multinationals actually own your favorite organic snack. The magazine is based in New York, but the editors do manage to look west for stories on public housing in Chicago and an urban deer hunter in Los Angeles. There’s definitely an emphasis on stories from big cities, though.

One section’s title says it all: Provocations. Should we harvest the organs of death-row inmates? Should anthropologists be more involved in current military psyops? Do kids really need to learn handwriting with graphite and ink anymore? Read opinion pieces that are not afraid to take highly unpopular stands.

Finally, Good Project, the page that closes the magazine, invites readers to contribute their own ideas and creativity. The food issue ends with a call to send in photos and recipes for the best possible lunch that you could carry to work or school. It has to fit into a brown paper bag. And extra credit if you make all the food yourself.

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Category: sustainability, environment, climate change

About the Author ()

Thy Tran writes literary nonfiction about food, the rituals of the kitchen, and the many ways eating and cooking both connect and separate communities around the world. She co-authored the award-winning guide, Kitchen Companion, and her work has appeared in numerous other books, including Asia in the San Francisco Bay Area: A Cultural Travel Guide and Cooking at Home with the Culinary Institute of America. Her writing has been featured in The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Fine Cooking and Saveur. A recipient of a literary grant from the San Francisco Arts Commission, Thy is currently working on a collection of essays about how food changes in families across time and place. Though trained as a professional chef, she works on cookbooks by day, then creates literary chapbooks by night. An old letterpress and two cabinets of wood and lead type occupy a corner of her writing studio, for she is as committed to the art and craft of bookmaking as she is to the power of words themselves. In addition to writing, editing, teaching and printing, Thy remains active in local food justice and global food sovereignty movements. Visit her website, wanderingspoon.com, to learn more about her culinary adventures.