The Tenth Degree: Peter Meehan

Lucky Peach's editor considers serving Barolo to vultures and passes along some very good advice.

Peter Meehan
Peter Meehan

Peter Meehan is the former New York Times $25-and-under restaurant critic, the co-author of the Momofuku cookbook, and the editor and co-founder of Lucky Peach; and today, he has manned up and taken the tenth degree. Spoiler alert: He wants to die in the arms of someone you know very, very well.

What is your favorite sandwich?
A combo from Johnnie's Beef in Elmwood Park, Chicago. I order it hot and sweet, but not juicy. Juicy is too juicy, I think.

Your house is on fire and you can only save one thing. What is it and why?
I am assuming the kids and the wife are okay. After that I guess I'd grab this one guitar I've got. It's a hodgepodge, piece of shit, fake Rickenbacker from Japan from like the '80s, but it's my hodgepodge piece of shit guitar and I'd be sad without it.

What book(s) is on your bedside table right now?
I don't have a bedside table but I aspire to get one. I secretly wanted one of those cheesy Starck gnomes but my wife nearly died laughing at me when I said it out loud. There's the new issue of The Wire next to my bed and I just got a book called 13 Books by Leonard Koren that's gonna go on top of that.

You're having a dinner party and can invite three people, dead or alive, and serve them one thing. Who are they, what do you serve, and why?
Inviting dead people would be the easiest cause I wouldn't have to cook anything. You know, 'cause they're corpses, and they don't eat. Maybe I'd dig up the corpses of Captain Beefheart and Edgar Allan Poe and then I'd get a vulture, any vulture—not like a famous vulture—and I'd let it get real hungry. This answer isn't going anywhere good. I'd serve the vulture and the corpses old Barolo but they wouldn't drink any so it'd all be for me.

What is your greatest fear?
Mice, heights, any stuff that ladies yell about in movies and sitcoms from the 1950s.

What is the most overrated ingredient?
Saffron.

Underrated?
Caraway.

You can have any superpower. What is it and why?
I'd go for the Superman suite of powers because why wouldn't you? I mean it'd be cool to have retractable claws and be unkillable, etc, but why not be able to see through people's clothes and fly too?

What's the first thing you learned to cook?
Quesadillas.

What is the best advice you've ever gotten, and from whom?
Things are gonna take a turn for the earnest all of a sudden here: Peter Elliot told me to do things for love instead of money right at the outset of my writing career. (He said "dosh" instead of "money" cuz he went to school in England and talks like that.) That money would follow after. He was right. Also, everything Allan Benton has ever told me was pretty much gospel truth.

How do you want to die?
In your arms.