This issue is filled with battles that crackle with energy, like the moment when you lock two robots armed with flamethrowers and lasers and steampunk lobster arms in a steel cage and fill it with scorpions and then electrify the floor and fill the room with angry bees and tear gas. Many things enter, everything dies, the audience goes wild! The issue has parallels to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s seminal 1987 film, The Running Man, except instead of pro wrestlers chasing each other through a futurescape of post-industrial devastation, it’s a food magazine. Between the covers, you’ll find a cage match between the cuisines of New York and San Francisco. Out back in the alley, Harold McGee explains how the tension between our physical reality and perceptive faculties is akin to the relationship between Brad Pitt and Ed Norton’s characters in Fight Club (Disclaimer: he does not make that analogy.) As you settle into the second half of the issue, after most of the piss and vinegar has been spent, the battlegrounds turn conceptual: Lucas Peterson writes about Man vs. Himself (in the context of eating disorders); Bridget Huber reports
on Man vs. Nature in coastal Brazil; Madhur Jaffrey tells the story of man’s struggle against the sea in Crete.