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Students cook up online food mag

by Katy Rushlau / Beacon Staff • November 29, 2012

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Brown (left), Galloway (center), and digital and web writer Elizabeth Nash (right).
Brown (left), Galloway (center), and digital and web writer Elizabeth Nash (right).

Much of college socializing revolves around midnight munchies and off-campus cuisine. With the endless supply of delicious eats around town, satisfying a craving is right at a foodie’s fingertips. Now, Emerson students will have a delicious way to release their inner epicure and write about all things edible. 

Simmer Magazine, a blog and online publication, encourages the sensuality of enjoying quality food, according to Editor-In-Chief and Founder Nisreen Galloway. 

“Simmer exudes the love, the obsession, and the ‘foodgasms’ that you get from eating good food,” said the junior writing, literature, and publishing major. “We really wanted to push good food and the guilty foods that you love eating, rather than [be] health-oriented.”

One of Emerson’s newest niche publications, Simmer consists of two components: a blog, which was launched on Nov. 7, and a digital magazine, which will be released on the website in December. The digital magazine will contain everything that would be in a print issue, including new content, full articles, and photo spreads, said Galloway. 

The staff tries to update Simmer’s blog every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, according to Galloway.

The blog features photos, restaurant profiles and reviews, recipes, food facts, and articles. It has seven sections, including College Discounts, Midnight Snacks, and How To. The digital magazine will include similar segments, said Galloway. 

Junior Hannah Brown, the assistant editor-in-chief, said that the main difference between the blog and the upcoming digital magazine is the content. The magazine will be longer and more detailed, she said, and recipes will target different cooking capacities. 

“The blog is very focused on how to be dorm-room friendly,” said the writing, literature, and publishing major. “But a lot of recipes in the digital issue are not necessarily dorm-room friendly. It’s more focused on great food, and enjoying it as a college student, and trying to work with your college budget.”

The magazine’s staff is currently in flux, but Galloway estimated that there are about 15 members, including writers. According to Brown, they hope to eventually have freelance writers and “minimal-capacity staff.” 

Galloway said she has considered starting a food magazine since her freshman year, when she was known for filling dining hall to-go boxes with vegetables, taking them back to her dorm room, and creating her own meals. Galloway said she and Brown have been working to make it a tangible product. 

“I’m a little obsessed with food,” said Galloway. “A lot of good memories come from food, especially in college when those memories are made, whether it’s late-night dining or going to a restaurant with a friend.” 

The publication is fully funded by Galloway, and expenses typically include food for “research purposes” — such as tastes from restaurants like Pour House and Montien. 

The staff has tossed around the idea of applying for Student Government Association recognition but are afraid it may interfere with their long-term goals, according to Galloway. The magazine, she said, hopes to not only serve Emerson students, but also the city of Boston. 

“We’re Emerson-based, not Emerson-focused,” said Galloway. “We’re more Boston-focused, so getting funding for that might not be realistic.” 

Junior journalism major and staff writer Nick Dumont said that he doesn’t believe the narrow subject will limit the magazine’s readership, a common misconception surrounding many niche publications. Dumont also said that incorporating cuisine into other issues will be key to keeping the content fresh and interesting.

“I’m working on an article about tying in nostalgia and what that means in terms of food,” he said. “Foods make us go back to a certain time, and it ties into our memories.” 

Brown said a long-term goal for Simmer might be a print issue but, for now, they want to enjoy the process of creating a solid web and digital base and collaborating throughout Boston. 

“Ultimately it would be beautiful if it could be a collaborative print issue, but we’re thinking a lot about the bigger picture,” said Brown. “For now, it’s really up to time and peoples’ interest to see how far we can go.”