Food Zine Runcible Spoon and Its Gross Issue

The Runcible Spoon is an independent and D.C.-based food magazine that, in its own words, aims to capture “the pleasures of eating through a home-curated blend of storytelling, collage, illustration — and a dash of whimsy.” (Less than a dollop, more than a sprinkle??) Their latest issue, out this week, is The Gross Issue, and it’s dedicated to unpleasant, unpleasant-ish, and theoretically unpleasant but ultimately pleasant foods and food experiences.

For instance, there’s a good recipe for vinegar-seltzer drinks (previously: drinking vinegar), and a short but captivating description of pig’s blood ice cream. The magazine has a cute, pasted-together look, and is available for $3 or $6 an issue on Etsy and in select stores around D.C. I emailed with its lovely editor-in-chief, Malaka Gharib, about grossness.

What’s the most disgusting thing in the issue?

The grossest thing would have to be the century egg. For our Gross Issue release party, I bought a dozen of them (just $1.99 at the Chinese convenience store!) for people to sample — and they were way worse than I thought. I was hoping they’d be gelatinous enough to cut into bite-size pieces, but they were black and oozing and smelly and sticky and I couldn’t bring myself to peel more than one, let alone cut it up!

Do you have a favorite “runcible spoon” use (thank you, Wikipedia) other than your own magazine?

People always think that a runcible spoon is a spork, but I refuse to believe that a runcible spoon is something you pick up at the KFC to eat your coleslaw with. I like when people use the word “runcible” in names, like Herbert Arthur Runcible Cadbury, the butler in the movie Richie Rich (with Maculay Culkin). It makes him sound like a jolly, slightly idiotic man shaped like a chocolate egg.

Is there something gross and food-related you’ve encountered in your own life recently?

This morning my mom made me smell a block of liverspread and asked me whether she thought the white stuff on the edges was “fungus or Brie.”

Which was it?

I told her to trash it.

What did you have for breakfast?

Two bowls of Rice Krispies. And a few spoons of cold macaroni and cheese.

Who should buy this zine?

The kind of person who reads cookbooks before bed so they can dream about food all night.

What should they know about it?

That the writing is good. We reach out to our favorite food writers in D.C. and beyond to pitch them ideas, and as a result, we’re proud to have a roster of contributors who’ve been published in places like Saveur, Bon Appetit, McSweeney’s, and The New York Times, to name a few.

And what are your dinner plans tonight?

I’m in Los Angeles right now visiting my family, and we’re going to Thaitown to get some really great Thai food.

The Runcible Spoon’s 20-page Gross Issue, which is also its fall issue, is available here.