Meet The Mag - Digest

  • 3 min read
Pics & Ink people, meet Digest. A small but mighty mag from the US that's as zingy as the berries on the cover.  Started in 2020, they are now on issue #9 and thanks to an intro from the lovely folk at Tonic magazine, it's now on the Pics & Ink shelves.   

It's a food quarterly with soul about real food and the people that eat it, grow it and enjoy it. Like many great mags, they have a manifesto, or rather a Digest-o, that promises no 'top 10s' and no 'best ofs,' just good writing about food (read the whole Digest-o here).

In issue 9, they visit the farm of Karen Washington who sounds like an incredible woman, starting off transforming empty spaces in the Bronx into community gardens in the 80s and spending a lifetime helping more people of colour into farming. There's also a lovely piece on blackberry picking, food sharing and recipes for a berry galette, Vietnamese egg rolls and fresh Ayurvedic late summer recipes.

We thoroughly enjoyed reading the issue and hope you will too. Here's our little interview with one of the founders, Dante Pilkington to formally introduce you to Digest mag. Bon appetit.

Digest Magazine Issue 9

Hi Dante, Digest is full of great, no-nonsense, unpretentious food writing. How did the burning desire to start a quarterly food mag begin? 

It was either late at night or early in the morning. We stopped at the I-84 Diner, which is named for the interstate. The I-84 Diner serves just about everything from fried clam strips to spanakopita. And like BBQs and soft-serve-french-fry joints, a round-the-clock diner is the true connector of American cuisine. You can find all three, packed to the gills on a Saturday night in the summertime from sea to shining sea. 
The industry leaders in the food writing biz -- Bon Appetit, Saveur, Food & Wine, etc. -- publish a lot of aspirational food writing. Their subscribers read articles for the life they wished they had; bopping around Chilean vineyards, hunting truffles in the Piedmontese woods, or baking the perfect French meringue in a marble topped kitchen.
So right there in the I-84 Diner, one of our founders, Alexander Finkelstien, came up with Digest: a magazine devoted to egalitarian eating. Our pages are filled with tales about food that connect us by authors from unexpected places.

I love how you have an homage to a massive restaurant chain next to a piece about the joy of foraging for berries. What makes a story worthy of an issue of Digest?

The story itself has to have a glaze of tone, a dollop of soul, and a healthy sprinkle of joy. 

But where the story comes from is just as important. We try to focus on publishing work by authors from unexpected places. We publish stories from people who have a fraught relationship to food; people with food disabilities, disordered eating, and body dysmorphia. Out of our peers and contemporaries, we publish the most authors over the age of 60. And, most of all, we love publishing first time authors, who would have never thought to put into writing how they love the food they love.

You're in the US. Whereabouts are you based and what's your setup? In the office, at the kitchen table, Zoom meets across the globe?

There are four main editors/founders, and, like the Ninja Turtles, we all have our specialties. Lucca is our inventory/production guy. Lucca is semi-nomadic/lives out of his 2008 Volkswagen Golf that doesn't have a muffler. Wherever Lucca goes, Digest  goes with, and you can hear it coming from a mile away!

What are your plans for future issues. What about a UK themed one?

We would love to grow the business to a point where we could pay our contributors equitably, at market price, for their work.

A UK themed Digest?! I've hit up about a dozen or so UK food-people and none of them have yet to submit an article. So, if anyone in Ol' Blighty is reading this: Give us your tired, your hungry, your huddled masses yearning to write about mushy peas and scrumpy.

What indie mags are on your coffee table?

Right now I have the 9th issue of Nick Muncy's Toothache and Fifty Grande's Food Issue.

Final question we ask this day and age, why make a print mag?

The kinds of people who still love the look and feel of an indy print magazine are our kinda people. In a grubby capitalist world, it feels real nice to make good things for good people.

Don't it just. You can pick up issue 9 in the shop now. Have a flick through here.

Digest Magazine Issue 9  Digest Magazine Issue 9  Digest Magazine Issue 9  Digest Magazine Issue 9

Leave a comment (all fields required)