Thursday, 2 June 2011

Que faites-vous?

One of my favourite people goes by the name of Zed Penrose. She recently put together an anti-feminist feminist-zine or is that post-feminist? Well, whatever, it is called the Chapess and I do hope we hear more from Zed very soon. It pooled together artists, illustrators, writers and thinkers in a lovely homemade mag.
The zines of Zed, Gemma Correll and Anthony Zinonos inspired me further to take the very gentle leap into zine making. 
Last month I launched my own food zine called Cakes and Canapés and set up to give it a home.
At the moment I am far too timid to start approaching companies to try and sell advertising space so I got a few copies printed at my own, yet minimal expense. It was a great feeling to produce the first issue.  After having the idea, I put out loads of facebook pleas to find people to submit illustrations, recipes, rants and poems and then I just had to fill in the gaps with my own ramblings and doodles. Just like the exhausted relief and satisfaction felt after serving the last espresso at the end of an epic dinner party it was great to finally hold the 37 page A5 zine in my hand. 

Unfortunately the similarities to the dinner party don't end there. That sudden sinking feeling you get when you've relaxed over the coffee, maybe a cheeky brandy and then you remember the washing up is still left; so too did the realisation creep in that there was going to be a hell of a lot of work ahead if I wanted to sell a copy. 
Currently I am grabbing at the rearing horns of the internet and trying to steer various tiny corners of it towards our foodie scribbles. It's not that difficult to get started; talk to yourself on twitter, purchase a domain name, build a simple website and chuck everything else on a blog and on facebook and you're halfway -  but it's full-time. I already have another job so I'm often playing catch-up on emails and blog posts for half the week. But it is without doubt, the most rewarding and all encompassing hobby I have ever indulged in. 
In our first issue, Bread, I had a great excuse to try out a local deli, had a wonderful afternoon tasting Bagels and via the magic of twitter managed to get a Q&A with none other than BBC and Guardian bakery expert Dan Lepard. 
If you would like to take part I would love to hear from you - you can contact us here. Reviews or recommendations of your favourite deli, coffee shop or chef would be a gratefully received, but if you are simply at a loose end this weekend then I highly recommend doing a taste comparison with one of your favourite food stuffs. It sounds silly by it's really eye opening. We tested Bagels but you can test anything you want - Jam, Coffee, Tea, Elderflower Cordial, Sausages, anything you like. Here's what we did:

1) Searched on the internet for the "best bagels" in our area

2) Purchased one plain Bagel from each shop, getting lots of funny looks when we refused any fillings. As we did, try and get to a mixture of different establishments. Make sure you have a good balance of places which are:

  • nearby
  • recommended
  • places you would normally go anyway
  • places you've never been to
  • independent
  • inexpensive
  • specialists
3) Hurried home with purchases. Don't forget to write the name of the shop on the packaging if it isn't already printed - you don't want to get them mixed up at this stage

4) Dish up. We toasted one half of each bagel and covered it with cream cheese, the other half we left plain. We thought it would be good to have a piece unadulterated and one served as we might normally - or else whats the point. So if you're testing say Salad Dressing, for example, try a bit on it's own and then a bit on some lettuce - you want to know which is best for what you would most typically use it for. 
Write the name of the shops on the back of the paper plates before you dish up and cut or portion out each item so that there is a bit for each member of the panel. We had 4 tasters at ours.

5) We then marked each plate on the front side with a number. You need to reference the item you are tasting so you can score it but you don't want to be able to see where it came from (which is why we wrote the shop name on the back) until the very end - incase it clouds your judgement.

6) Taste test. Because I'm a lover of all things administration related I produced taste testing forms, but really all you need is a piece of paper. Each person rates each sample and comments. 

7) The big reveal! Plates are turned over and the sample number matched up with the supplier, the results were quite surprising! Click here to see what we found. 

1 comment:

  1. Wow... What a wonderful cake? Image itself impressed me a lot. I like this dish very much. Keep on doing...Domain India