News – “Introducing Food in Vogue, a New Mouthwatering Culinary Collection” – “You know, of course, that we don’t do food the way other magazines do.”

This was Executive Fashion Editor Phyllis Posnick speaking sternly, with the faintest air of threat, early in my employment as an editor at Vogue. I nodded, sure she was right, without quite understanding what she meant.

Yes, I had come across a startling image or two in the magazine—of a ghostly duck in a plastic bag, or a knife blade slicing a goldfish in half, or an assembly of so-called “thousand-year-old eggs.” And I knew and revered the work of Vogue’s legendary food critic, Jeffrey Steingarten, whom I would shortly begin to edit, and who had an inimitable way of turning exhaustive culinary inquiry into hilarious misadventure. But I’d never considered how unexpected and uncanny Vogue’s treatment of food was. Nor, come to think of it, had I considered why a fashion magazine might decide to cover food in the first place.

Why does Vogue cover food? I put this question to Editor in Chief Anna Wintour while I was finishing the work of editing of Food in Vogue, which has just been published by Abrams Books (and is available now in the Vogue Shop). She seemed surprised by the question. “It’s part of our world. It’s part of our lives. It never occurred to me not to include it.”

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