Weekend Reading: A Middle Eastern Indie Mag, Strawberry Jam Hacks, and More

What we’re reading, cooking, and clicking this week

• This week I stumbled across the Beirut-based publication The Carton, which explores food and culture throughout the Middle East with stunning photography and dynamic graphics [pictured]. It seems to be the Levant's answer to independent magazines such as Lucky Peach and Gastronomica, featuring articles like "Eating Picon in Prison," in which the author shares her food diary from time spent in a Lebanese jail. Sneak peeks are available at, where you'll also find an order page for print subscriptions and back issues. —Felicia Campbell

• I'm not the kind of person to buy mason jars and whip up homemade jam, but a few years ago I signed up for a CSA. As the summer progressed, I got loads and loads of strawberries. I really had no choice. I followed a simple jam recipe that called for cooking strawberries, sugar and lemon juice down until it thickened...but it never thickened. I had what was basically strawberry syrup. So I was happy to find Cathy Barrow's strawberry jam hack in The New York Times: The preserver extraordinaire recommends putting some kiwi in the jam as it cooks down, because the pectin-rich fruit will help everything firm up. —Sophie Brickman

• I love clicking through The Kitchn's features on small, cool kitchens; I always get new ideas for how to cope with my own teensy-tiny space. —Cory Baldwin

• I just discovered TMBBQ, a spin-off of Texas Monthly that's devoted entirely to Texas barbecue. A shrine to smoked meat in the Lone Star state, TMBBQ collates and expands on Texas Monthly's already extensive barbecue coverage (they're the only publication in the country with a dedicated barbecue editor), with interviews with pitmasters; an exegesis on the best brisket cuts; and a BBQ app for Android and iPhone that helps users hone in on the best barbecue joints in the state. As the site editors put it: "TMBBQ is basically Christmas every day for barbecue-lovers. Merry Christmas." —Karen Shimizu

• This First We Feast post led me to the blog Sad Desk Lunch, a collection of images that hits way too close to home. The Tumblr site chronicles meals that don't quite make the Instagram cut and, yes, are eaten at one's desk. My personal favorite involves a Nalgene and a Jell-O pudding cup. —Gabriella Gershenson

• I have a ritual I go through whenever I travel: I ask Twitter where to eat, I ask Facebook where to eat, and then I turn to the many-tentacled restaurant blog Eater, whose unimpeachably authoritative lists of where to eat and drink in pretty much any North American city have not once lead me astray. Maybe the only quibble I've ever had with the site is that their interactive maps are a total pain to read on my iPhone—so I am delighted that they've finally released a mobile app, which, in the scant few days I've had it, has already proved its worth in planning upcoming dining itineraries for trips to L.A., Seattle, and Miami. —Helen Rosner

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