I adored Lucky Peach magazine. Four pages of the most influential voices in food today devoting their full attention to an analysis of all the different frozen chicken nuggets on the market followed by truly serious foodie recipes. Nothing was off limits and nothing was sacred. It was passionate and it was hilarious. I was smitten. I still had two years left on my subscription when they killed it, and I was heartbroken. They moved everyone’s remaining subscription over to another food magazine. I won’t mention the name of the other magazine. It’s a great food magazine, and I’m not disparaging anyone, but magazines aren’t interchangeable.
The rumor was that it was over personality clashes. David Chang and Peter Meehan had differing opinions on the direction the publication should be headed in.
So, last week my husband yelled from the treadmill, “Jen! Turn on CNBC! David Chang’s coming on!” I dropped my cleaver and ran for the remote. Chang and Meehan had a new series coming on Netflix, Ugly Delicious. Huh. Total BS on the why the magazine folded, huh?! Later that day, I saw it run by my Facebook feed. That’s it. We’re getting Netflix!
We watched the first episode. Oh my God! It’s Lucky Peach in show form. The show’s everything that I hoped and dreamed it would be. They’re so much fun to watch. David has serious issues with being told he can’t do something. Do you remember that episode of Bob’s Burgers when Linda said she told her sister that she could hang her art up in their restaurant for an art crawl? Bob was horrified when he walked in and saw that she’d filled the walls with canvases of animals’ butts. Lin, they’re anuses. This isn’t good for a food business. Then the head of the art crawl walked in and said he couldn’t have those up, and he was doubling down on the anus paintings. Yeah, someone told David that Domino’s Pizza wasn’t pizza. He doubled down.
You get to meet David’s mom, and she’s wonderful. She calls him David Chang and coaches him against rice cakes in certain dishes and about the appropriate shrimp size as they wander the aisles of H-Mart. Oh, she teases him so hard. Their interactions are too charming. I hope she’s recurring through the series.
Five episodes in and I think he’s channeling the father in My Big Fat Greek Wedding. “Show me any food, and I’ll show you how the root of it is Korean.”
Yeah, the show’s terrific. Who’s it for? If you’re like me and you read cookbooks, food lore, and culinary instruction books like they’re the hottest fiction that you just can’t put down, this show will be your dream come true. Don’t cook, but you love food porn? You’ll love it. Love fascinating, passionate people that can hit the A-hole meter pretty solidly? Yeah, this show’s for you. Who wouldn’t like it? Well, if you’re offended by the occasional f-bomb, or are obsessed with the authenticity of food, or only view food as fuel, this is probably not gonna be in your Friday night line-up.
The two books they reference most in the show are both terrific books, but very different from each other. Momofuku is a serious foodie book. The Momofuku Ramen had like 7 sub-recipes in it and took me two days to make, but yes, it was beyond worth it. That broth is crazy delicious. And it tastes just like the restaurant. (If you haven’t been, go to Momofuku Ssäm Bar, too! The banana leaf roasted skate made me lick my fork.) Lucky Peach Presents 101 Easy Asian Recipes promises to be wholly inauthentic, and it delivers with yummy stuff like Mall Chicken and Kimchi that is ready in an hour with no fermentation involved. If you want easy and seriously tasty, it’s for you.
Anyway, David Chang and Peter Meehan, I totally forgive you for dumping Lucky Peach. I love this show. But I still think you should send me all the back issues I’m missing. 😉