“Everything we eat is because someone before us decided to eat it that way,” is how culinary historian Emelyn Rude breaks down everything the human race has ever masticated, savored, and digested since the dawn of time.
She intends to chew on the entirety of that collective dining experience in Repast, the magazine she is hoping to launch in short order. Although she’s covered food-related topics for others, and already has a book under her belt (Tastes Like Chicken: A History of America’s Favorite Bird), Rude tells Eater that this particular passion project — which she currently plans to publish on a quarterly basis — is all about keeping the conversation about food in the public consciousness versus relegating it to wonky journals or dusty textbooks.
“Unless we want to go into a very hardcore academic realm there’s nothing else like this out there,” she said of the dearth of outlets available to dedicated food sleuths. Rude said she began bouncing the idea for this project off friends and colleagues last fall; she calculates that she’s more than halfway done with the layout and design for volume one.
Rude said she elected to go with the “food of the gods” theme because she wanted something that lent itself to wide ranging coverage — which in this case includes delving into fried chicken’s place at Southern dinner tables, examining monastic brewing habits, and shining a light on Tibetan butter carving (“I had not idea that was even a thing,” she said).
“We want it all,” Rude tells Eater.
Rude turned to Kickstarter — she’s raised nearly a quarter of her $20,000 goal — to gather the capital required to cover the costs of printing the debut issue. The fundraising campaign is set to expire on Thursday, May 11.
She plans to share a sample of James Beard Foundation Award-winning author Adrian Miller’s piece on “Gospel Bird” next week on the Kickstarter page. Everyone will be able to peruse the teaser version, but financial backers will be granted access to the full text.
While she remains focused on seeing this first issue through to completion, Rude noted that pitches have already begun trickling in for volume two — including one for a photo essay about the root vegetables Laplanders rely on for survival.