Meatpaper zero

Letter from the editors
MARCH, 2007

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 already available.

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 there.

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.

photo: Jack and Sarah Wizansky, Sasha’s grandparents, in front of R. Wizansky & Son Fancy Meats in Boston’s West End, 1930’s.