mouthfeel is the best queer foodie zine in the world
We ask the New Yorkers about dumb food fads, cooking naked and fighting homophobia in professional kitchens.
Mouthfeel is a whopping 10 x 16 inch…zine about the culinary scene, told from a gay perspective and designed-up with a throwback punk aesthetic. The first issue launched earlier this month and is already sold out, but the interviews and art work are still available to indulge in at www.mouthfeelmag.com Mouthfeel flies in the face of tasteful foodie programmes, cookbooks and magazines, instead putting ice cream cones over vintage porn cocks, quizzing pin-up gay chef Taylor Boring and exploring Berlin's famous currywurst.
Founder and Editor-in-Chief Mac Malikowski said, "I wanted to bring together the culture I live in - a combo of food, coffee, humour, hardcore and some hot guys here and there to keep it interesting. My favorite media always carries the torch of counter-culture. And counter-culture to me has always generated the best in food, art, music and my favourite types of guys. It's a natural equation to me." Below we give Mac a quickfire Q&A, then follow it up with questions for the zine's design team.
So Mac, what is the hottest thing you can watch a man eat?
We've been working with pretty literal imagery this spring: the banana. Phallic, mushy, flavourful, maybe a little obvious. But to me, there's nothing hotter than a guy going in on build-your-own Peking Duck buns.
What would gross you out if you saw a man eating it?
Who would be your dream man cooking for you?
I have a thing for Andy Ricker from Pok Pok. What a cook/hunk! But I'm sure Ryan Gosling makes a mean casserole too.
What would be your last supper?
Soup Dumplings (Cafe Shanghai Deluxe on Mott Street).
If you could only eat one nation's food, which would it be?
The cop out answer is America - we've got it all technically. But you could bury me in Thai curry and I wouldn't make a sound either.
What food magazines/books/chefs have inspired you in the past?
Mags: Lucky Peach, Cherry Bombe, The Art of Eating (I own every issue! Almost 100). Book: Ferran Adrià's The Family Meal, Brooks Headley's Fancy Desserts, and shout out to Jean K Durkee's 1977 Tout de Suite a la Microwave (classic French recipes cooked exclusively with microwaves).
Does New York have the best food in the world? Yes/no and why?
It does on a few levels. There's definitely the most options. Best ethnic food in America for sure. It lacks in some very important ways though: can I get a good Mexican burrito ANYWHERE?
What is the best restaurant in NYC?
What is the most overrated restaurant in NYC?
Keith McNally anything.
What is the best on-the-go snack in NYC?
Hate on it, but the JP Black coconut water-soaked almond milk from Juice Press is on point. Also, everything bagel with cream cheese, cucumber, salt/pepper.
Where else in the world have you eaten the best food?
NYC is famous for its food fads - which has been your favourite? Which has been the funniest (ie most ridiculous)?
I was so glad when beef came back (Beef 7 Ways at Má Pêche, burgers, etc)! We had all been eating so much pork for so long. Most ridiculous is a tie between cupcakes and Ramen burgers.
British people say "gorgeous" when describing delicious food, which usually makes Americans laugh. What is your favourite exclamation when something tastes divine?
What is the first thing you ever cooked?
Bowl of Toast: Fried eggs on chopped toast with extra butter (à la my mother).
What is the last thing you cooked?
This can of Amy's soup probably doesn't count, so a Spanish tortilla from the Saltie sandwich cookbook.
Is cooking naked actually sexy?
Maybe leave SOMETHING to the imagination and protect what we're all here for by wearing a novelty slogan apron.
What's your favourite food film?
I hope Bob's Burgers counts.
What's your favourite food scene in a film?
When Kevin McCallister makes macaroni and cheese at the beginning of the third act of Home Alone - but he never gets to eat it. Art.
Is the kitchen world homophobic?
It definitely doesn't make homos feel comfortable in my opinion.
What's the kind of homophobic crap you've heard in a kitchen?
Back of house staff like to offer each other to the gay guy. Like, "Here take my friend, he wants to try it." At least, that's how it was during my tenure.
How can young gay men who want to work in kitchens prepare themselves?
I think it's better now. But if you have the personality for it, run with it, go with the jokes. It's technically harmless. If you don't, work for some cooking queen somewhere else. Hit me up, I'll connect you.
Is baking the gayest of the culinary fields?
Only next to food writing.
Have you seen Great British Bake Off? If so, what do you think?
Who's the most amazing person you've ever cooked for?
My hunky eater and partner Jason.
And we found out about the great design inspiration for the zine from Yego Moravia (CD at Mouthfeel / Design Director at Mother New York) and Wade Jeffree (Designer at Mouthfeel / Senior Designer at Mother New York).
What inspired the aesthetics?
In one way or another, everyone involved with Mouthfeel has a visual connection to the punk and hardcore scenes. Overall, I think the Mouthfeel look and feel comes from a place where both "high" and "low" aesthetics can live together in the world of food.
What are your favourite other magazines/zines, design-wise?
From the current era of publications, we've been certainly been inspired by the work of 032c, Butt Magazine (obvs), Gentlewomen, Elephant, Frieze and Process Journal. Historically, everyone involved in Mouthfeel collects printed materials related to underground culture, whether that be gay cruising pamphlets from the 1960s or punk and hardcore fanzines from the 1980s. Or even cooking magazine advertisements for liquified pickle spread from the 1970s.
What do you hope people get from the look/design of Mouthfeel that they can't get elsewhere?
We hope people get a break from the super vanilla aesthetics of the Kinfolk look that's so popular. It's not that there's something wrong with the way many trendy magazines treat food, we just think there are many angles from which one can look at food culture, some of which have been underrepresented.
Why is print still important?
There's an intimacy with print that is not too different from food. It's not only about the dish or ingredients - it is as much about the experience. It's our belief that print, especially in a large format, can change the way one interacts with images and words, and possibly even food and culture.
Is vintage porn the best porn?
That question has hairs all over it. Vintage porn definitely wins.
What's your favourite of the dick stand-ins (to eat): Spam fritters, Magic Whip ice cream, or fruit pie?
There's something really cool and bizarre to us about images of very processed food next to real men. Out of them all, I think our collective favourite dick stand-in would be the Old Bay tin. Makes it a bit spicy.
What can we expect from Issue 2?
Bigger and better design and content, from top to bottom.