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Gather: Recipes to Explore the Natural World

Words by
October 17, 2016
If you’re looking for a traditional recipe magazine, turn right around. Gather is no average-joe magazine for home cooks pressed for time. It’s an intellectual journey of “seasonal recipes and exceptional ideas” created by a cast of contributors (food stylists, renowned journalists, famous photographers) from the food world and beyond, with credentials that are impossible to list. It has won a James Beard award, an Art Director’s Club Award, and twelve Society of Publication Designers Medals, so it’s no wonder that each biannual volume is so highly coveted (and quite costly). But we do love that 10% of proceeds from the sale of each issue are donated to Edible Schoolyard NYC and the Food Bank for New York City, which makes reading even more worthwhile.

Natural history, by its simplest definition, the study and story of nature in all its forms, is about expanding the human spirit; about opening our hearts and minds to the phenomena at work all around us.”
Gather review

Each issue centres around a larger theme that is then dissected and reworked into smaller sections throughout the magazine. Recipes share space with personal essays, factual anecdotes and photos that are worthy of a frame. The Winter 2016 volume, Origin, is a journey into the world of natural history inspired by New York’s American Museum of Natural History, with each chapter modelled after one of the sections of the museum: Geology, Ocean, Fossils, Biodiversity, Space, The Ages, and Crystal Visions.
We’re particularly attached to this volume because it explores a theme so near-and-dear to our vision. Writes Editor Fiorella Valdesolo in her opening letter, “Natural history, by its simplest definition, the study and story of nature in all its forms, is about expanding the human spirit; about opening our hearts and minds to the phenomena at work all around us.” The way Gather celebrates nature is striking. Recipes like Crystal Shrimp Dumplings give us drool-worthy photos and a satisfyingly simple meal, but turn the page and you'll be lost in a poetic reflection on symbiotic relationships among species (the sea anemone and the clown fish) and food (sea salt and chocolate). The contrast in content is constantly surprising, and each volume can be savoured for quite a bit of time.

And while Ocean and Space might just have our favourite photos, the Biodiversity section is talking our talk. Who knew that in Victorian-era England people were so crazy for ferns there was a medical term to describe the madness: pteridomania? Or how about Laura Silverman’s blurb on the Secret Strife of Plants that claims, “Plants can hear you chewing and they don’t like it,”? These so-called “exceptional ideas” leave us continually curious and wanting more. Each page holds a treasure trove of information, emotion and insight into the natural world, and what’s better than that?

Editor: Fiorella Valdesolo
Issue: Volume 5, Issue 8 (Winter 2016)
Published in: NYC