A New Zine Highlights the Poetry and Beauty of Food
Each of us has our own individual way of following the changing of the seasons, a private choreography in relationship to the calendar. For interior designer and prop stylist Olivia Sammons, the produce available from the farms, orchards, and markets near her family’s Hudson Valley home marks time for her, leading her forward through the year. “I spend so much time thinking about food,” she says. “What I’m going to eat, where I’m going to find it, which orchard has the best blueberries.” This focus led her to create the new zine Is My Favorite Flavor, which just launched its first issue, appropriately titled Summer! Is My Favorite Flavor, at the design-focused Head Hi bookshop and café in Brooklyn.
The zine, made by Sammons from her own photographs, celebrates the magic of food, which, for her, is really about a way of looking. Her background in prop styling taught her the power of making minute adjustments to an image in order to make an assemblage of objects sing together, and it’s apparent in these photos and their arrangements throughout the zine. With a keen eye for color, structure, and echoing visual forms, Sammons has assembled a beautiful document of summer’s simple pleasures: a road trip, a friend working in the garden, and of course, an abundance of beautiful, delicious food. “Magic is there, right in front of us, we just have to pay attention,” she says. “Food can be incredibly poetic.”
This poetry is immediately clear when I ask Sammons about her favorite summer flavor. After a moment of intense pondering, she tells me white donut peaches, and then gives a beautiful description of this prized late-summer fruit, which arrives at the “bursting point” of summer. Its color is a “washed-out celadon crossed with pink,” its flavor “bright and citrusy,” and its flesh “firm, like a less-pithy peach.” As I listen to her describe the sensation of savoring one, I begin to seriously salivate.
For Sammons, food is not a private pleasure, but one that catalyzes community and effects change. Along these lines, she wanted to use this project to spotlight organizations that are doing what she calls “the good work” around food. Each issue of the zine is accompanied by a limited edition T-shirt whose proceeds will benefit an organization working to combat climate and food insecurity issues. Summer’s pairing is One Love Community Fridge, which distributes free, fresh, and nutritious food in order to alleviate food insecurity and minimize waste.
Looking forward to autumn, and to the zine’s next issue, Sammons is excited to highlight both the shift in seasonal produce and amplify the visibility of another organization. Fall’s T-shirt proceeds will go to Good Bread, a Kyiv-based bakery that distributes free bread and cupcakes to Ukrainians affected by the Russian invasion. For Sammons, using her passion for food to support communities is a constant driver. This project, she says, is about “a we, not a you and I. Life is so much richer together.”