The September issue of Hail Varsity went to print Monday morning, and we're pretty excited about it as a staff. It's something new for us, but the topic is one that's familiar to everyone –– food. Below is my Letter from the Editor for this issue to give you some insight into how it came together and what you'll find inside.
Make sure you don't miss out on future issues by subscribing today.
I’ve never quite gotten over the closing of Gourmet magazine. That happened on Oct. 5, 2009, midway through my personal transformation from plain-and-picky eater to someone who had a real interest in food. I would later learn that there were food magazines I liked more –– well, at least one –– but nothing beat the Gourmet covers. The subscriber copies never featured any cover blurbs, just a beautiful image and that elegant script, a bit of timeless design in a time when the entire editorial world around food was changing.
For example, sports publications, like this one, are now wont to do a food issue. We’ve been wanting to do one for a long time, actually, as it’s almost impossible to think of a game day at Memorial Stadium without, at some point, food entering the picture. This year, we finally did it.
The cover, shot by Brad Iwen of Admiral District, is an homage to those Gourmet covers I’ll probably never part with, but a little more playful. The setting looks like your standard, glossy food magazine tableau. The hamburger pizza? It looks like hamburger pizza, and I hope people see something in that juxtaposition. I hope they see something that’s somewhat unique to Nebraska. I tried to write about it in this issue, though I’m not sure I nailed it the way the photo does. I guess this is what happens when the wordsmiths are at a 1,000-word deficit every time a photographer fires off another image.
There was more proof along the way that a food issue was a solid idea. When we set out to ask Nebraska’s football staff if they had an interest in submitting a favorite recipe we were hoping to get maybe three or four. The coaches and staff were interested, and we doubled our total. Defensive line coach Mike Dawson offered two, hoping to provide additional representation for the East Coast on a Midwest-heavy staff.
The positive response extended to our brainstorming sessions for this issue as well. It was harder to whittle down our prospective story list than it was to populate it, which is always a good sign any time you’re doing a themed magazine.
But the great thing about food is it doesn’t end up feeling like much of a “theme” at all. Everyone interacts with food, has opinions on eating. It reminds me of one of Nebraska’s other great passions in that way, and there’s still plenty of that in this issue, too.
At the end of putting this issue together we found that the two topics actually do go together like chili and cinnamon rolls. That’s a topic we’ll definitely tackle next year around this time.
Brandon is the Managing Editor for Hail Varsity and has covered Nebraska athletics for the magazine and web since 2012, Hail Varsity’s first season on the scene. His sports writing has also been featured by Fox Sports, The Guardian and CBS Sports.