Saturday, 24 August 2013

UPPER CRUST – the magazine

One of my favourite things to reach out for to pick me up is the magazine Upper Crust.

In fact if I may say its one of the best kept secrets and you are unlikely to know about it until you come across it accidentally because a) there are only four issues in a year, and b) it is not circulated like other magazines. So the few issues printed and given to stores are normally sold out like real fast.  (The best way to ensure you get a copy is through subscription, and now if you are an NRI they also deliver to foreign shores)

I never knew it existed, till I went to my brother’s house, and while he’s a great lover of, and has a nice collection of books and DVDs, it was a series of Upper Crusts that also adorned his shelves. And that’s where I started browsing and reading them.  And true to his admission, EACH issue is a collectible item that can forever provide you the small joy of recounting and relating to you a celebration of something pleasurable – well, mostly food and travel!

Upper Crust is a magazine started by Farzana Contractor and it celebrated food and the good life like never before.  While food was the core, the magazine also covered everything from travel, leisure, celebrities, events, artisans – yes, the works!

The production values are excellent and the quality unwavering, the writing impeccable with contributions from Vir Sanghvi, Shobhaa De and a re-print of Busybee’s fine article. (The late Busybee, a fine journalist from Mumbai was Farzana’s husband).

You could pick up any issue of Upper Crust since its inception, and it is guaranteed to give you a few hours of fine reading and browsing, and definitely leave you feeling better, inspired with a lot of ideas.  And perhaps that’s where the idea of coming out with a quarterly arose.  The articles and contributions would take quite sometime to put through – the author traveling to different places, meeting experts and coming out with a fine encapsulation of her/ his learnings’ on the subject.
Perhaps its taken for granted, but a remarkable thing about the writing is that it is so non-judgemental and objective - a rarity in media nowadays!  The other notable thing is, how accessible this was in terms of content and topics. It was upper crust only by name, but in terms of content it would include everything from local fare, smaller joints, regional cuisines (including some of the best coverages of temple foods, and I think Farzana must have really charmed her way there).  There is some gratuitous coverage of hi-so events, but it is a far cry from page 3 coverage that we see everyday (as its high on F&B and not so much on glamour!)

And not just that – you also required an equally long period of time to complete reading it. I knew some of them, I would have to set aside time to read and would dedicate a weekend afternoon to read them thoroughly.

One of the remarkable things about Farzana and the team was that they came out with the online edition, which was FREE.  (You can access it here – it has all the articles and recipes too!).  However, the real thing is unbeatable- Holding the magazine in your hands and browsing it hands down beats reading it from a kindle/ I-pad.  Grab a  copy today!!

So that was my tribute to Upper Crust – may its journey of educating us and enriching our lives, continue for several lifetimes…

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