The New Food Website That Won’t Make You Feel Guilty About Never Cooking From It
The Debrief: Including a very snazzy recipe for yummy mushroom linguine
If you’ve yet to master the art of milking nuts and have an undying affection for wheat, then chances are GOOP, Preserve, or any of the fabulously photographed culinary adoration sites that are riding high on the internet, will leave a bad taste in your mouth, no matter how much you love reading about food. A taste of guilt and inadequacy, rather than one of burnt quinoa or over-soured Goat’s yoghurt.
Enter Aftertastes. Created by model Dana Drori, relies as much on our emotional relationship with food as the aforementioned, but thankfully in a way that doesn’t make you wonder whether last night’s YOLO Pot Noodle was a really bad life choice (never regret a Bombay Bad Boy). Rather than being an instructional recipe resource, Aftertastes is a collection of essays that explore what food means to the various writers that contribute them, and how it’s shaped their lives. ‘I think that food is just so universal and omnipresent. We all have stories about food that can be very emotional’, Drori told The Debrief. ‘There are so many great food websites and magazines that are about preparation that I felt like the internet doesn't need another great recipe blog’.
Citing highbrow bastions of talking about their dinner, The New Yorker’s Calvin Trillin and New York Times food columnist Amanda Hesser, as an influence, Drori says, ‘I was interested in particular in how many ways you can use food metaphor to play out other things’, so your pitta-and-chips existential crisis, or sense that your entry into adult life happened when you started regularly roasting chickens for your friends is completely welcome here.
So writer John Ortved’s short recipe for his mother’s mushroom linguine is actually just a footnote to a nostalgic tale of foraging for chanterelles on a childhood trip to the San Juan mountains and Rachel Seville Tashjian’s memory of the weird sauces in her parents kitchen (and the weirder things she and her mates made with them) is actually a reflection on the rocky terrain of teenage friendships. Fans of Into The Gloss’ Top Shelf section will be pleased to see that Aftertastes has taken a similar approach to kitchens, so now you can nose around even more of interesting peoples’ houses. Great news for anyone mourning Saturday Night’s loss of Keith Lemon’s Through T’ Keyhole.
As a model, who has shot countless fashion editorials, has appeared on the cover of Harpers Bazaar and is currently starring in Aldo’s latest campaign, Dana Drori is as familiar with the kind of scrutiny that faces her famous food-editor counterparts, Gwyneth Paltrow and Blake Lively, and challenging traditional judgment was part of her reason for launching Aftertastes. ‘When I moved into an apartment with a bigger kitchen I found myself constantly cooking and making all these elaborate meals, and almost feeling a guilty about spending all this time on these domestic endeavours, as it was going against being the 21st century feminist I thought I was’, she says, ‘and I've gotten lots of similar judgment for being a model as well’. With launching the site, she wanted to prove that ‘a woman can have any interest, whether it's cooking or modeling or politics or whatever, and you shouldn't be judged for having them’.
Unsurprisingly, Drori’s favourite restaurants have nothing to do with anything like the local-eating trend that she says everybody in her adopted home of New York is obsessed with, and more to do with personal experience. ‘Every year my boyfriend and I go to the restaurant we went to on our first date, this place called Northern Spy in the East Village’, she says. ‘It's a really great first date restaurant, so that's become our yearly ritual’.
So settle in for a trawl of Aftertaste just as you would for an afternoon of reading-but-never-cooking the most extravagant bits of a Nigella, book safe in the knowledge that thinking and talking about cake is often as cathartic as baking it.
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Pictures: Amirah Kassem, Matt Rubin
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You might want to think about the fact you're about to read something that wouldn't exactly get a PG rating