Wolverine CuiZine, Ann Arbor's student-run food magazine, leaves us drooling
So good you might just talk with your mouth full.
ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Ann Arbor is home to many publications, but back at the end of November at the launch party for its fall 2018 issue, Wolverine CuiZine’s bright pages and delicious photography caught our eye.
The University of Michigan's only student-run food publication, Wolverine CuiZine acts as a creative outlet for foodies on campus, for anyone who enjoys eating food and, maybe the most gluttonous, anyone who enjoys reading about food (maybe even as they eat food!).
The magazine, which publishes regularly throughout the year, is the result of creative conceptualization from a group of University of Michigan students who wanted to integrate passions for food, writing and design back in 2009. From then until now, each issue has been full of tasty recipes and stories written by Wolverine CuiZine’s writing team.
The fall issue, Volume 8 Issue 1, takes readers on a mouthwatering tour of the world, from memories of grandma’s homemade biryani to the comforting powers of stew and adventures with leftover fried chicken. It also includes a piece on what anyone who has worked in food service knows as a “family meal,” as well as how one author discovered their dining hall blues when missing sit-down family meals. Peppered (pun intended) throughout the thin and crisp pages are tasty illustrations and flavorful food photography, along with an easy recipe or two.
The members have a genuine passion for food, like Wolverine CuiZine president Steven Meng, who plans to open his own restaurant based on his childhood in China. Meng has worked in the food industry as a sous-chef and enjoys exploring food-related recipes and ideas in his free time.
We caught up with the Wolverine CuiZine team via email over the winter break and had them tell us, in their own words, about Wolverine CuiZine.
Firstly, this magazine is incredibly professional and well designed. How long does it take to produce an issue? What is the process?
Julien Heidt, editor-in-chief: We give our writers as much creative freedom as possible in terms of article topic and style. Creating a community amongst the writers is paramount to us, so every draft goes through multiple iterations of edits by the editor in chief, junior editors, and other writers in peer editing sessions. We hope that by letting writers read the work of their peers, they can both learn how to look more critically at their own work and move towards a more cohesive voice throughout the magazine. The entire process from article conception to completion takes about a month and a half. This lengthy process is due in part to the need for writers to balance other school commitments.
Roseanne Chao, creative director and vice president: As for the creative team, the entire process takes about 2 and a half weeks after receiving the articles from the writing team. Page designers choose an article to work on with their partners (one photographer and one illustrator). The three of them will communicate and come up with work to give to the page designer to work on. They have one week to make a draft- the draft will be showcased during a creative meeting, where feedback will be given. Any additional changes can be made and then the work will be sent to me, the creative director, where I will give any final feedback or do some minor edits to the designs myself.
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What other sorts of events does WolverineCuiZine participate in?
Ben Iorio and Charlotte Wittels, marketing directors: Along with our magazine launch parties, Wolverine CuiZine puts on cooking tutorials, attends food-centered events on campus, and has in club potlucks every semester. This fall we had a microwave food event where we supplied ingredients and recipes for free to students who could come and learn how to make some easy and quick meals in a microwave. In the past, we’ve taught people how to make sushi, dumplings, and more which are all free and open to any students who want to attend. We have bake sales once a month and were able to team up with Teaspressa for our last one, so we’re looking forward to working with more Ann Arbor-based restaurants in the future to have more on and off-campus events promoting food and our magazine.
Everyone working on the magazine is a student. How do you all balance your classwork plus work for the magazine?
Chao: The magazine generally does not occupy too much time since we only have 2 issues per semester and 2 main events to host - we want our members to not feel overwhelmed with the magazine's work on top of classes. However, the week right before a magazine is due or an event, there will be a lot of preparation work that may take up a day worth of time.
Chao suggested the writers, "Definitely do start work ahead of time and make sure to submit your work earlier in order to have more time to make corrections."
How do you choose which foods to feature or which articles to include?
Heidt: As the writing team, we choose our magazine themes by identifying salient topics on campus. We also take into consideration what our team of writers is familiar with and/or excited to learn more about. From there, writers are free to choose their own topic within that theme. We make sure to have a healthy mix of recipes, restaurant reviews, and more personal pieces. Because our writers come from many backgrounds and levels of experience, we include articles in the magazine based mainly on the writer's participation in the club and meeting attendance. Rewarding only the most experienced writers may discourage others, so we try to promote a culture of growth.
Evan Binkley, video and photography director: From the viewpoint of photography for the magazine, we are always looking for a diversity of stories to be told through food. This involves close collaboration with the Writing Team to ensure that the food featured within the magazine reflects current trends and discussions. Once photographs have been taken for each of the articles, an active discussion takes place to determine which perspectives best reflect the agreed-upon topic for the particular magazine. Exciting recipes, new Ann Arbor restaurants, and interesting combinations therein often make an appearance.
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