Archive for the ‘food’ Category

A Sign For More Wine

Thursday, October 6th, 2011

You call it a photo-essay, I’ll call it a comic. This week’s New York Times Sunday Review, written by Ben Schott, discusses the impact the long shuttered New York City nightclub, The Stork Club, had on the way waiters and restaurant staff communicate with one another. They were the first to utilize a series of gestures reminiscent to those of a football referee or a third-base coach to get news from staff member to staff member faster than speaking. Today, Eleven Madison Park keeps the New York tradition alive with their own form of sign language.

Everything from the water preference of a table to whether or not crumbs need to be cleared can all be said through signals. When it is time to clear a plate, a gesture towards the chair of a guest will do it. Each and every member of the staff at Eleven Madison Park must be proficient at the unspoken language or else mishaps are bound to occur. They even have a set direction to walk the room (clockwise) and a specific side of a guest they should veer towards at all times (the right). Considering the place is one of the most successful and expensive restaurants in the city, I would expect the best possible service with my meal. Maybe other establishments could learn a thing or two from this method in order to improve the efficiency of their dinner hour?

You can view the full list of signs, signals and directions here. And if you do decide to check out Eleven Madison Park, come on an empty stomach; they only do four-course meals or tasting menus.

The Recipe For Changing Seasons

Thursday, September 8th, 2011

Labor Day has come and gone, meaning that summer is unofficially over. Kids are back in school, most of the beaches have closed or will be closing soon and football season is starting up this Sunday. Still, there are at least a few more warm days left before fall kicks into full gear. Come, let us celebrate with some delicious recipes in the form of comics, shall we?

Throughout the summer, Saveur turned to a bunch of artists to share food stories and the recipes that go along with them under the Recipe Comix banner. The talent involved includes Eli Valley of The Forward and EV Comics who decided to share his mother’s recipe for a simple spaghetti and tuna dish that proved that even though she was a single mother, she could compete with the other Jewish moms in the neighborhood culinary-wise. Other contributors were Nedroid‘s Anthony Clark, Farley Katz of The New Yorker and yes, even Ryan North of Dinosaur Comics. North’s chili recipe not only sounds delicious but it is told to us by dinosaurs. Which immediately increases the deliciousness and credibility of any recipe.

A complete archive of Recipe Comix can be found here. Hopefully there will be more recipes to come in Summer 2012 as I’m sure there are plenty of creators with food to share out there. In the meantime, I think I’m going to try and make Emily Horne’s Black Mischief cocktail once I get me some gin, stout beer and espresso.

A True Tale of Cheese

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

Every year I go to MoCCA Fest with a new shopping objective, based on whatever I’m interested in and in the mood for that particular year. Sometimes I like to pick up books with great design, or hefty graphic novels, or maybe something completely different, like t-shirts or vinyl records (one year I even bought a card game). This year my focus was minicomics, which are a nice low-cost way to meet new artists. I especially focused on titles that were $1, which is how I was introduced to One Place, One Cheese: Making Vermont’s Real Cheese by Josh Kramer.

One Place, One Cheese documents a visit to Thistle Hill Farm in Pomfret, Vermont, where John and Janine Putnam make Tarentaise cheese. Kramer documents the process of making a wheel of cheese, illustrating the various steps, from milking all the way to the aging room, where the cheese wheels will rest for up to a year before being sold. The drawings are simple, but detailed enough to convey the process, and the narrative is told in a straightforward, non-opinionated manner. As Kramer states on the final page, “This comics is neither fiction nor autobiography. It is a work of journalism.”

This comic is but a “taster” of what Kramer has in store for the world, having also released the first issue of his Cartoon Picayune, a comic format periodical featuring journalistic stories. Josh actually studied journalism at American University, which makes him one of the few actual trained journalists in comics journalism. The first issue of Cartoon Picayune features a story about the Hanover High School ski jumping team, and is available in print and PDF from the website. He hopes to publish issue #2 in September.

Ask the Vegetable Garden

Friday, April 22nd, 2011

Viz only released seven volumes of Oishinbo A la Carte in the United States, despite there being about twenty volumes to draw from (as well as over 100 volumes of the unabridged manga, but it’s understandable that no one wants to go through the massive undertaking of translating and releasing the entire series). The A la Carte volumes draw from the entire back catalog of Oishinbo adventures, and thus can be read in any order, which is how “Vegetables” came to be the final volume that I read. And it’s a personal shame, because the vegetable volume is probably the weakest of the entire series as released in English.

Many of the stories presented in Oishinbo have a very technical minded focus—how to cut, season, boil, grill, and so forth—with the stated intent to bring the best flavor out of the ingredients. With a lot of the food presented, the flavor and texture were often dependent on well each dish was prepared. This was especially prominent in the volumes on fish (including sushi and sashimi), rice, and sake. But with vegetables, the emphasis switches more to the quality of the ingredients. It’s not that the quality didn’t matter before, but here it is paramount and almost a given. As long as the vegetables are native to the area and not treated with pesticides and herbicides—a point hammered forth repeatedly in this volume—the vegetables will be delicious, and the characters must learn to appreciate that. Most of the stories are about how the goodness and purity of vegetables will bring people together and solve their problems. That’s fine in small doses, but in succession it can get boring.

The best story in A la Carte Vegetables is an installment of the ongoing Ultimate Menu vs. Supreme Menu battle, where Yamaoka and Kaibara Yūzan do battle with cabbages and turnips. The battles are some of the most exciting  parts of Oishinbo, so it’s good that they included one here. But even that story comes down to the goodness and purity of vegetables, and the way Yamaoka is always missing or misunderstanding some key ingredient has become rather formulaic after reading seven (much less a hundred) volumes.

Even with that repetition I still find the series an enjoyable read, and am sad to see the English-speaking world denied any further volumes of this addictive and mouthwatering manga.

Oishinbo A la Carte: Vegetables
story by Tetsu Kariya
art by Akira Hanasaki
translated by Tetsuchiro Miyaki
edited by Leyla Aker and Jonathan Tarbox
published by Viz Signature (San Francisco, 2009)
ISBN 978-1-4215-2143-5

Out and About: MoCCA Festival 2011

Friday, April 8th, 2011

This Saturday and Sunday is the 10th annual Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art Festival—MoCCA Fest for short—and in addition to a full stable of exhibitors showcasing new work, they also have two tracks of programming running each day. Panels of note:

Sequential Non-fiction
Saturday, 12:30, Room A

Moderator: Heidi McDonald (The Beat)
Panelists: Dean Haspiel (Cuba: My Revolution), Nick Bertozzi (Lewis & Clark), Sarah Glidden (How to Understand Israel), Nick Abadzis (Laika)

Painting real world stories, from autobiographical to historical, through the lens of the graphic novel.

The State of Editorial Cartooning
Saturday, 4:30, Room A

Moderator: Brian Heater (The Daily Cross Hatch)
Panelists: Ruben Bolling (Tom the Dancing Bug), Tim Kreider (The Pain — When Will it End), Ted Rall (Year of Loving Dangerously)

The trials and tribulations of creating political cartoons in 2011.

Almost True
Sunday, 12:30, Room A

Moderator: Calvin Reid (Publishers Weekly)
Panelists: Gabrielle Bell (Lucky), Joe Ollmann (Mid-Life), Leslie Stein (Eye of the Majestic Creature), Pascal Girard (Nicolas)

Where autobiography and fiction collide.

Pizza Island: The Panel
Sunday, 2:30, Room A

Moderator: Brian Heater
Panelists: Julia Wertz (Drinking at the Movies), Sarah Glidden (How to Understand Israel), Kate Beaton (Hark, a Vagrant), Meredith Gran (Octopus Pie), Lisa Hanawalt (I Want You)

Some of today’s brightest young cartoonists share a workspace in Brooklyn. Here is their story.

YA and Comics: Ever the Two Shall Meet
Sunday, 2:30, Room B

Moderator: Whitney Matheson (Pop Candy)
Panelists: Tracy White (Traced), Lucy Knisley (Stop Paying Attention), M.K. Reed (Cross Country)

Some of comics’ most fascinating titles and groundbreaking artists can be found in the young adult section of your local bookstore.

On Saturday night MoCCA (the actual museum) is hosting a fundraiser wine tasting, sponsored by Corked and Winetasting.com. The tasting is not included in admission to the Art Festival, so tickets will cost $15 for members and $20 for non-members. The wine tasting will be held at the museum, located at 594 Broadway, from 8–10pm.

It’s also worth noting that there’s also a pre-party for MoCCA Fest Friday night at the Sutra Lounge; this one is hosted by Top Shelf and Zip Comics and includes musical and art performances, as well as food. Cover charge is a $5 donation to MoCCA.

Would You Like Fries With That Shake?

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

Back in 2004, Morgan Spurlock went on a mission. For 30 days, he decided to eat and drink nothing but food bought from McDonald’s for breakfast, lunch and dinner. In the process, Morgan’s arteries clogged, his health deteriorated, and his energy was completely sapped. The whole journey was captured in the documentary, Super Size Me. The film went on to win the Sundance Film Festival’s Grand Jury Prize and a nomination for Best Documentary at the Academy Awards; it also led to a television series on FX called 30 Days. Now, seven years after its release, Dark Horse is putting out a graphic novel based on the film, aptly named Supersized.

The graphic novel chooses to use a fat Ronald McDonald as a narrator and framing device for the story of Morgan’s attempt. In regards to the original movie, the story appears to be pretty faithful even with the narration. Morgan explains that he did not just go into this whole thing half-cocked; he consulted with doctors on his health and well being beforehand to ensure that all was well. After day two, Morgan is already beginning to burst. Here, we witness the vomit that followed this initial setback in a fully rendered artistic interpretation. While it’s not pretty to watch in the movie, I must say the art is quite captivating in the graphic novel. A multitude of artists trade off throughout the book, including Tony Millionaire, Lukas Ketner, and Ron Chan.

Of course, there are some changes that have to be made from one medium to another. This time, all references to McDonald’s have been replaced with McDopey’s, as (unsurprisingly) McDonald’s was unwilling to license its trademark to this adaptaion. As is apparent from the preview, the flow of the graphic novel will be going through days a lot faster than the documentary did to fit the full story within 88 pages of content.

While this is the documentary that got me to stop eating fast food except during long bus or car rides, I’m still not sure how willing I will be to see this all unfold again on the page. Considering how long it has been between the film and this adaptation, there might even be a few people who pick this up who have completely forgotten Super Size Me ever existed. Maybe that will be good for Netflix rentals? I’m personally happy it’s been a few years so I can scrub the image of those fossilized fries out of my head. If you would like to make the decision to buy or not buy for yourselves, Supersized is now available at your favorite comic retailer.

(via Splash Page)

Food and Comics at C2E2

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

We’re still in recovery mode from C2E2, which just wrapped up in Chicago this past Sunday. Despite switching to a smaller hall at McCormick Place, attendance in the show’s sophomore year rose 24%, from 27,500 to 34,000 attendees. So things were looking up, and many artists we spoke to in the Artist Alley reported record sales and sell-outs. One title that sold out was the just-released Comic Book Comics #5, the all-lawsuit issue, so we weren’t able to procure a copy (yet).

One panel we neglected to mention in our highlight post was “Food and Comics.” Let’s take a peek at that description:

Food and Comics
Friday, March 18
4:30 pm – 5:30 pm

Join CB Cebulski, Rick Bayless and Chicago Tribune‘s James Beard award-winning food writer Kevin Pang as they discuss the art of food and comics, moderated by Ron Richards of iFanboy and “A Taste of Comics”.

Sound interesting? Well, it was, if you liked food and/or comics. They spoke about how the art of making a great dish was very similar to the art of making a great comic. The air was abound with similes such as how you can over-season the art on a comics page just as you can over-season a plate of food. Or how both young chefs and young pencilers are eager to use every technique in their toolbox when they first get started (leading to the mentioned over-seasoning).

With all the talent on the stage (Rick Bayless is a PBS and Top Chef alum and Cebulski writes the Eataku blog), there was plenty of discussion of food or comics, but not really of the two together. Bayless and Beard didn’t talk about comics at all, responding more to questions asked of them by the other panelists or members of the audience. No plans were announced for say, a collaboration between the food guys and the comics guys, similar to Anthony Bourdain’s upcoming graphic novel Get Jiro!. In fact, no food comics were mentioned at all until an audience member asked why John Layman of Chew wasn’t on the panel. The basic answer was that he wasn’t at the con, but with all the great personalities that were at the con, they couldn’t find someone else to tie it all together?

Overall, it wasn’t a bad panel, but it wasn’t very filling either.

The Secret Ingredient is Mustache Hairs

Thursday, March 17th, 2011

It’s time to head back to simpler times in the DC Universe. Back before Ollie Queen was divorced, living behind prison bars after killing a villain. Back when Roy Harper still had both arms and had yet to hug a cat, believing it was his dead daughter while he was high on drugs. Back before Star City had its own Central Park in the shape of a star. The memories. And yes, I am well aware that the geek scale just went over 9,000 there. To bring us back down to Earth, have a chili recipe.

My mouth, it burns! Ollie’s Chili has appeared many times over the years. Interestingly enough, as is pointed out in this post on the Comic Book Resources forums, it first showed up in the same issue of Green Arrow where Speedy was revealed to have a drug addiction back in the ’70s. Since then it has become a recurring gag and eventually received a complete recipe printed in Green Arrow Secret Files & Origins #1. It appears to be hot enough to melt metal and yet I am still tempted to make a batch. Does that make me a masochist? Green Arrow also appears to have shown his culinary chops at least one other time in the pages of DC Comics. This was years earlier when they decided to put out a cookbook for some reason. I am still unsure what the market is for such a thing. Still, I give you “My Secret Pizza”:

The secret is that it’s barely a pizza. More like a pita pocket. Either way, I hear Green Arrow caters weddings and Bar Mitzvahs in his spare time.

Cheeses With Personality

Thursday, March 10th, 2011

Anne Emond is an illustrator, recent graduate of the School of Visual Arts (MFA, 2010) and creator of the occasional amusing true-life comic.

I think I appreciate “Cheeses I Have Known” because it reminds me of “Cheese Roll Call” from Pinky and the Brain:

You can read all of her comics on her Tumblr, including this amusing one about kale, and if you’re interested in her illustration work, check out this interview with her in the Present Tense section of Old Book Illustrations.

(Thanks, Anna)

Eat, Draw, Love

Thursday, February 10th, 2011

There’s a thin line between comics and illustration, and They Draw and Cook mostly falls on the side of illustration, but their art sure is gorgeous and worth a look.

The site was created by the team of Nate Padavick and Salli Swindell, who got the idea for an illustrated cookbook while on a family vacation. Eventually the project morphed into a blog, with way more entries than a mere paper cookbook could hold.

Recipes are organized into thirteen categories, including drinks, side dishes, and a massive holiday section. The art styles for each recipe range from the more simple and abstract to things that are more detailed and realistic, using a variety of techniques and media. A few even skirt the line into a more comic-like style. Regardless of their style or recipe, most of the pieces are simply gorgeous, and I can’t wait to see the book when it comes out.