Bob Mankoff, who began doing cartoons for The New Yorker in 1977 (and became the magazine’s cartoon editor in 1997), has a new home (Esquire) and a new venture. Called Cartoon Collections (@collectcartoons on Instagram), it’s, yes, a collection of cartoons that have run—or been submitted to, but not run—in a handful of magazines. (As Bob notes, there are only 17 slots per week for cartoons in The New Yorker, so the odds of one actually running are slim.) At the moment, there are 20,000 on his new site (which is free to browse; using the cartoons costs money, though not a lot), which sounds like, and is, a lot, but Bob plans to have 100,000 by the end of the year and “eventually, a million.”
“The idea,” he says, “is to make the world’s best cartoons available, affordable, searchable, and easy to use.” The search function, as far as I can tell, works—which, as everyone knows, is no guarantee on websites.
I asked Bob about food and cartoons, and he said, “Everyone connects to food—people eat more than they have sex. And food cartoons tend to be not just gags, but meaningful in different ways for different people. Look at ‘How’s the squid?’ for example. It’s a sensational drawing, for one thing, but points to the obtuseness of asking about your food in a restaurant.”
We asked Bob to pick some favorites, and then threw in a few of our own (along with a couple of recipes that relate to the cartoons, of course). Enjoy them, and have a look around the site.
Copyright Warren Miller/Published in The New Yorker
Copyright Jack Ziegler/Published in The New Yorker
Ideally a little less messy than the cartoon above. Squid cooks so fast and freezes so well that this dish can easily become a pantry staple for quick weeknight dinners. As with most stir-fries, just about all the ingredients can be varied (you can use shrimp or scallops instead of squid, and sub in any cooking green, like pea shoots, cabbage, watercress, or spinach). Just serve with some rice or rice noodles and you’re good to go.
Copyright Bob Mankoff/Published in The New Yorker
One of my favorites, and, incidentally, it's one of Bob's.
Copyright Farley Katz/Published in The New Yorker
This one is almost as good as one of the best ever, the nap (see below). Maybe I just like pictures of passed-out people?
Just like the three-martini breakfast, gravlax involves a bunch of booze. Curing fish is impressive, and it’s surprisingly little work to do yourself. Use wild Pacific salmon if at all possible (King and sockeye—which is in general leaner and much redder—are best), even if you have to buy it frozen. Gravlax keeps for a week after curing; and, though it’s not an ideal solution, you can successfully freeze it for a few weeks. It’s also worth mentioning that this week is Chanukah, and gravlax (along with a little sour cream or crème fraiche) makes an outstanding topping for latkes (or this giant version, my go-to, the Potato Nik).
Copyright Frank Cotham/Published in The New Yorker
Copyright Robert Leighton/Published in The New Yorker
Talk To Me, Goose!
Questions, comments, brilliant suggestions? Just want to share the recipe for your grandma's potato salad, or your mom's meatloaf, or your uncle Drew's three-day 100-percent rye loaf (yes, please)? Don't hesitate to reach out anytime.