On Friends, Knives, and Food: Aviva Markowitz ’12
Aviva Markowitz ’12, former Food and Features Editor for The Argus, talks about the inspiration behind The Argus Food Section and creating Wesleyan’s first student recipe zine. Her zine, rather ominously entitled Friends with Knives, will be distributed around campus this weekend.
The Argus: You founded The Argus’ Food Section. How did you come up with the idea?
Aviva Markowitz: When I was Features Editor my junior year, I started writing different articles about food issues and I like to cook so I was writing about different recipes I was making. I thought that it would be really cool if The Argus had its own food section because that tends to be the best [section] of other newspapers. The New York Times food section? Great! So I started encouraging my writers to write food articles and eventually had enough that we started coming out once a week with a few articles about food. The next semester, I just decided that it should be its own section.
A: Did you have a special name for the new food section?
AM: We were struggling to come up with a creative name—we wanted it to be called, “Nom” or something like that. We came up with “Chew and Tell,” but then our editors rejected it and it just went back to “Food.”
A: “The Food Section.” Classic name.
A: So I hear that you’re currently creating/curating Wesleyan’s first student recipe zine. Can you talk about what inspired you?
AM: I thought it would be cool to have a place to collect recipes from my friends and from across campus, especially because I am about to graduate. I always need inspiration; I find that I get stuck cooking the recipes that I know, so it’s always exciting to have new dishes to make. I sent out a campus-wide call for submissions and got a lot—mostly from friends that I had badgered. [laughs]
A: Your zine is called Friends with Knives. How did that name come about?
AM: I really wanted to call it Wescipes (pronounced “wes-sip-eez”). But I couldn’t figure out how to spell it in order for it to make sense when read. If you spell it, it sounds like “we-sipes” or “wesk-ipes”…it just doesn’t work. And “wes” is kind of overdone. But it could have been fun. So then we had a brainstorming session one night when we were drunk and Friends with Knives was the best we came up with! It does sound kind of sketch though.
A: What made you choose the zine format, rather than a blog or something online?
AM: I wanted to do some sort of paper edition but I didn’t get on it to get any sort of funding. So I decided to make a zine because you can just print it out, cut, photocopy, and staple it together yourself. It’s not professionally done, like any of the poetry publications on campus or anything. It’s a little more underground but hey, self-publishing! Online is cool but sometimes it’s just nice to have something material in your hand when you’re cooking.
A: How will Wesleyan students be able to get their hands on a copy of Friends with Knives, and when will it be out?
AM: I am hoping to put 100 or 200 copies and just stick them around campus in a few locations. Hopefully this weekend, so get excited!
A: Why did you feel that there was a need for Friends with Knives that wasn’t answered by the food section you founded?
AM: Well, Wesleyan is pretty unique in that juniors and seniors are on all points meal plans and so are cooking more meals than at other schools where you have to go to the cafeteria every day. So I think that Wesleyan students in general are cooking a lot more and having dinner parties and hanging out in the kitchen with friends. I have never seen a Wesleyan cookbook, so I thought this would be a really cool thing to do in my last few weeks of college—something that I could take with me when I graduate too. I hope it continues in the future; I hope someone else does it.