Letter from the editors
WE GET A LOT OF QUIZZICAL LOOKS when
we tell people about Meatpaper—and
some inevitable questions. Why create a magazine about meat?
Are you polemical vegetarians? Evangelical carnivores? Will
you publish recipes and restaurant reviews? To all of these
questions we say no. Meatpaper is neither a pro- nor an anti-meat
soapbox, nor is it a competitor with the many glossy food magazines
Then what is Meatpaper?
Meatpaper is an investigation into what we see
as a growing cultural trend of meat consciousness. It explores
a category of food that inspires intense emotions and reactions. Meatpaper is
about meat as a provocative cultural symbol and phenomenon.
Is meat, like, in the air?
We think yes. Lately it’s been showing up everywhere,
and not just on menus. We’ve seen meat on shower curtains
and graffiti, t-shirts and oil paintings. We’ve spotted
novelty t-bone throw rugs and adhesive bandages that look like
strips of bacon. Grocery stores offer an ever-growing array
of meat choices—free range, natural, organic, grass-fed,
hormone-free. Books like The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Fast-Food
Nation, and What to Eat find their way to the
best-seller list. It’s a full-blown fleischgeist out
Part of the fascination must come from the time in which we
find ourselves. Environmental and political crises loom, while
our ability to learn more about the world has never been greater.
As in Chris Colin’s essay “Meat Me Halfway” (p.
9), we are thinking more closely about the implications of
what we eat. We are using food to explore other cultures, as
both sculptor Mike Arcega and photographer John Caserta do
in their two, very different, projects (pp. 4 and 17). Chef
Chris Cosentino (p. 6) is only an extreme example of a larger
trend: Many of us are seeking a closer relationship with what
we eat, and finding in that relationship a source of new insight
and creative inspiration. It could be said that the first recorded
representational artworks—cave paintings of hunting scenes—were
about meat. One feature of the magazine will be regular profiles
of artists making art about (or with) meat.
Do we eat meat?
The Meatpaper editorial staff does eat meat, and holds
widely fluctuating feelings about it. But eating meat is a
tiny part of why we wanted to devote an entire magazine to
this meaty subject.
Humans are animals, many of whom regularly eat other animals.
For some this is a basic fact of life; for others it is a moral
quandary. Meat isn’t a straightforward or neutral topic.
In conversation it tends to ruffle feathers and provoke debate.
We hope you’ll join in.
— Sasha Wizansky & Amy Standen
This article originally appeared in Meatpaper Issue Zero.