McSweeney's to Publish Mission Street Food Cookbook
|Warning: This is not the offical cover.|
Karen Leibowitz, who is writing the book with Mission Street Food chef-owner Anthony Myint (her husband), says that McSweeney's co-publisher Chris Ying proposed the book to them last summer. The couple has been working on the book even as Myint has been helping to open Commonwealth and transition Mission Street Food into Mission Chinese Food.
"The book is kind of like Mission Street Food itself ― not just one thing," Leibowitz says. "We liked the idea that a cookbook for a restaurant within a restaurant should be like a book within a book." To that end, half the book contains recipes from MSF's two-year run, while the other half will include the story of Mission Street Food and essays on the larger issues the project brings up, such as the restaurant's charitable mission and San Francisco's street-food movement.
According to Ying, the genesis of the new cookbook imprint (which doesn't yet have a name) came from the graphically oriented food section of San Francisco Panorama, the single-issue newspaper it published in December 2009. He says McSweeney's is taking a similar approach in designing the Mission Street Food book; in fact, Ying hired cartoonist Jim Rugg to illustrate an eight-page graphic novel about MSF's origins.
When SFoodie told Ying we thought it made sense for McSweeney's to branch into cookbooks, given how many people now treat cookbooks like art books ― objects in themselves ― Ying responded with a caution. "We've gone a little further in the direction of that art book aspect," he said, "but when you have these gigantic cookbooks that are pretty and impossible to work with ― that's not so appealing to us. After all, Anthony is a practical guy."
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