On the whole, popular wine and food writing is pretty light fare. As it should be.
While most readers like the articles in the Wednesday Food Sections, in Bon Appetit and in Food & Wine to take them away for a moment, or give them inspiration for the evenings meal, there are few people who use food and wine writing to broaden their intellectual horizons.
But were a curious and ravenous mind to seek out intellectual stimulation in the form of food and wine writing they would inevitably find their way to Gastronomica.
A quarterly journal published by the University of California, Berkeley, Gastronomica asks its readers to consider the cultural, social, historical, political and economic context of eating and drinking. It’s a daring approach not appropriate for those without a cast iron curiosity for food. Consider some of the articles Gastronomica serves up:
Late Night in the Lions Den: Chinese Restaurant-Nightclubs in 1940s San Francisco
Chunky Soup: The Sumotori Diet
Hunger: The Fine Art of Feeding the Hungry
Feast for the Eyes: Man Ray’s Electricite
Not your typical, "Southwestern cuisine: Great For Parties" or "Rose is cool for Hot Weather" kind of articles.
I’m jealous of "Foodies". Because there are so many of them, compared to "wine geeks" there is room in the publishing marketplace for a magazine/Journal that delves into the realm of Culinaria Esoterica. So, while I understand the need for wine writing to be somewhat pedestrian and educational for the most part, I do yearn for a wine journal that pushes the cork into the area of esoterica like Gastronomica does for food…and occasionally for wine.
Gastronomica has a built in source for subscribers. Members of the International Association of Culinary Professionals and Copia: The American Center for Wine, Food & the Arts receive the Journal. Is there a wine association or club of sufficient size in the world that could afford to publish a similarly high quality wine Journal? I fear there is not.
Who’s with me? Who wants to dump thousands of dollars into a possibly hopeless publishing venture? Who wants to seek out those writers who could give wine an intellectual, engaging, esoteric take? Who wants to go begging for advertising with me? Who wants to publish "Viniferia"?
Perhaps I’ll just stick to Gastronomica and hope they get around to wine.
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