Fresh and succulent from the Barcelona printers comes new Yuca magazine, a biannual that we’ve selected as our Magazine of the Week because of its undeniable sense of self. Yuca truly breaks from the mould in an understated yet deliberate way when it comes to topics we’ve seen and read about many times before – issue one is themed gastronomy for example, and that’s such a well-covered topic that it’s normally a red flag when we’re sampling the new magazine releases that arrive at the shop each week.
In Yuca though, there isn’t a single photograph or image that looks like what you’d find in an independent or known food title (no highly stylized shots of mezze platters on patterned table cloths from above, for example). Instead, striking and honest use of imagery is the first thing that caught our eye (above and below).
In the editor’s letter, Yuca states that it doesn’t work in ‘themes’ issue to issue but calls its biannual topics ‘Alibies’ instead. This linguistic twist sets the tone for the magazine, a dictionary definition of ‘Alibi’ (below) establishing the more intriguing nature of that word.
So issue one’s ‘Alibi’ is gastronomy, and then within that, there’s a sub-theme of ‘roots’. The double theme is a bit convoluted and hard to grasp at first, but the essence of the idea is pure and strong: as this is the first issue, it is the root of things to come for the mag, and roots is also an interesting prism to view food through. A ‘yuca’ is also a root, so the symbolism matches the title’s namesake as well.
Particular stand-outs include an essay on the politics of hummus (above), and an interview with the relatives of families that migrated from Japan to Colombia in the 20th century (also above). This article elegantly uses the Colombian land, archive material and personal interview to discuss uprooting and the idea of becoming rooted (also below).
A look at the tablewear designs of artist Andreas Fabian (above), and an illustrated look at the dinner table advice of Leonardo da Vinci (below) are two more examples of the distinct ways Yuca approaches the gastronomy theme. I enjoy the way that magazine has both an art and design interest, but also delves into topics of sociological and political significance too.
As we’ve said repeatedly on the Journal, there are a lot of publications out there that cover things like food, fashion, architecture and design in a very familiar way, so if you’re going to start a new title about one of these things, you need to make sure that you’re saying something original. Yuca will take broad topics like food or design as its themes issue to issue, but the way that it tackles these subjects is visually and editorially unique. Or at least, that’s what the flavour of issue one suggests.