Milky magazine celebrates food and creative women
From an anonymous blogger smashing her face into different types of bread, to a novelist and food writer nosy-ing around the streets of Fort Greene, Brooklyn, Milky magazine is painting intimate portraits of creative women and their relationship with food. Published out of New York by a pair of sisters — one a chef, the other a book designer — the elegantly designed title is reminiscent of a warm bath, where candid conversations and pleasing, unpretentious imagery induce a feeling of self-acceptance.
I adored this magazine, so I got in touch with founder Emily Kochman to find out more.
Issue two of Milky comes in a lovely melon hue. What’s your favourite fruit?
Mine is mango. I probably eat them more often than anyone else I know — it’s a borderline obsession. For my sister Anna, it’s peaches — also up there for me. I love fruit, I’m pretty sure I was a fruit bat in a past life. I always say apricots are my spirit fruit.
Milky covers food and creative women, but many of the stories are not necessarily about food. There’s personal history, there’s spirituality, there are dissections of internet culture. You say it’s ‘personality forward’ — can you tell us a bit about that?
What’s most exciting to me about food is the way we relate to it, and its impact on our lives. I want Milky to be a platform for looking at food from a variety of angles, with this sort of overarching, very personal question: What does food mean to you? What role has it, or is it, playing in your life or work, or both? I love getting to know people through food. So that’s really what we’re trying to do with Milky; it’s really meant to feel like a series of portraits, with the thread between them being food.
Why did you want to make it?
I had the idea for an indie magazine about food, women, and art while I was in culinary school. I was just up late before an exam, drinking a glass of red wine at my laptop and brainstorming. I was thinking about the women I really admired, and they were all women with a strong relationship to food; women who were adventurous and who would always be down to go out and eat steak and drink a few martinis. I love that attitude. And I always love learning about how someone else eats, or what they like to eat. I didn’t know of other women’s magazines focusing on that, and I thought it would be really fun to make something that did.
When Anna and I started fleshing out the idea, there was another big component to it, which was making something sort of anti-perfectionist. We didn’t want to project any ideas about what someone’s food life should be like, because there’s already so much of that. And let’s be honest — Anna and I take food seriously, but we’re young(-ish), busy New Yorkers. Aside from dinners out, I would say our food lives are more like, ‘getting it done’ than ‘aspirational.’ So dreamy lifestyle photography just didn’t feel right for this. This is just about who you are. It’s also very much an expression of Anna and me.
What magazines are on your desk right now?
I’ve been loving the new issues of Broccoli and Riposte — two favourites for sure. And we love Apartamento, The Gourmand, The Gentlewoman, and of course Cherry Bombe, which I’ve been reading since day one. To have a cool, beautiful magazine with women in food like Ruth Reichl and Erin McKenna on the cover…that was so exciting to me.
What did you watch or listen to during the making of this issue?
We both went through (and are still in) a big SZA and Cardi B phase, so that’s probably what we listened to most! Princess Nokia too. In terms of finding inspiration, I rewatched a lot of Mind of a Chef and Chef’s Table. I love both for the same reason I love making Milky: the chance to really see someone through their relationship to food.
Novelist Kathleen Alcott wrote a food journal for this issue (above), it’s superb and I’d like to turn it back onto you — tell us about a meal you had last Wednesday.
Well (ironically?) I’ve actually been having a really hard time eating over the last week or so, because my stomach has been bothering me. On Wednesday I was feeling it, but I was determined to eat breakfast because I love it and it’s part of my morning ritual, which feels sacred. I eat the same thing every day: four Medjool dates with almond butter, plus a drip coffee. I eat it standing at my kitchen counter, and then I crawl back into bed and finish my coffee while I read the news and start working. It’s very specific and I would have it no other way.
I asked Anna too, and she said this: “I also tend to be pretty routine in my eating habits throughout the work week: sprouted grain cereal for breakfast, a hearty salad for lunch, plus nuts or dried fruit for snacks. If I do mix things up, it’s probably at dinner. Last Wednesday night I got dinner at one of my favourite cheap-eats spots, Snacky, in Williamsburg. I always get the sesame noodles and edamame. I think they are meant to be shared plates but I have no problem polishing them off by myself.”
What’s next for you and Anna?
Aside from continuing to publish issues, Anna and I are producing our first online-only features. We’re so excited about these and will be releasing them in October. After that, we’ll continue to release content online and through our newsletter regularly. We’re doing really intimate, candid interviews with creative women, photographed beautifully at home and at work. We can’t wait to share them! Details to come soon — our Instagram, @milky.mag, is the best place to follow along for updates.