University of Pennsylvania’s Literary Magazine Penn Appétit

Posted by Cameron Rustay, GD Poetry Reader for 6.2 

After reading through Gandy Dancer 6.1 and looking at submissions for the upcoming issue, I started researching and pawing through other schools’ literary journals and magazines. I looked through a few schools and didn’t really find anything that was too far removed from Gandy’s concept– that was until the University of Pennsylvania’s Penn Appétit came up in the search results. Given the title, you can probably guess that the magazine is about food, but what the title doesn’t show is that the magazine looks and reads like an embodiment of Martha Stewart because it’s so poised. It’s bright, and the pictures would bring Keith Walters to shame, and the articles are easily digestible. I felt like I had to read it while sipping a dry Merlot in a Michelin star French restaurant. I mean, the online issues even have that fancy page flip like you’re reading a real book; it doesn’t get classier than that.

Other than the stunning resolution of the pictures and the “I can’t afford this” aesthetic, I appreciated how the magazine ties together lots of different components of food. With articles like, “Mac and Cheese Please: The Quest for Philly’s Best, One Bowl of Richness At A Time”, “Wine & Dine: Lowbrow Wine Pairings For Any Occasion”, and “Opening My Eyes to Greek Cuisine,” the magazine has a wide focus. For Penn Appétit, it isn’t just about eating food anymore: they tie the focus in with the local community, energetic ideas college students would find interesting and useful, and global food awareness. The magazine is also filled with spotlights for Philly food, chefs, and recipes that are short and easy to read between classes or during a study break. Reading these articles is like cutting through a well-cooked filet mignon: it’s smooth and simple, yet the language so refined you can’t forget it’s high end. Penn Appétit really lives up to its status as an Ivy League magazine without shoving it down your throat.

Now that I’ve gassed it up, finding positives about Penn Appétit was obviously pretty simple. Contrarily, finding something, anything to criticize was like trying to find a dark spot on the sun. The one comment I have is that, while it’s Louvre-worthy beautiful, the magazine is busy. Going from page to page, Penn Appétit throws the figurative and literal appetizers, entrées, and desserts at you all at once. It’s a lot. You have stunning pictures, wholesome articles, and catchy taglines with lengthy recipes running down the page like dressing. Everything is done so well, but it’s hard to appreciate, let alone notice, each individual piece of writing without skipping something unintentionally. This is unfortunate because everything in this magazine is worth the read. I imagined spending around ten-ish minutes reading it, but this turned into an hour because I wanted to finish everything. Overall, even though it’s a bit busy if you want to immerse yourself in UPenn/Philly food culture and channel your inner Ina Garten, Penn Appétit is a must read.

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