#80: Raven Smith (Vogue)
Vogue's Raven Smith on Meletti, Kylie Minogue's Slow, Ottolenghi Slab Cake, and more.
Cool people like cool things, which is why we asked cool person Raven Smith to come on Perfectly Imperfect & redistribute his wealth of good taste.
London-based Vogue Columnist Raven Smith is a writer and creative director who uses his sharp wit & humor to explore every aspect of modern life & culture. He’s the author of Sunday Times best seller, Raven Smith’s Trivial Pursuits, and with his new book, Raven Smith’s Men, you can expect “softbois, hard truths, and a rigorous retelling of every time I’ve been punched or fingered” (more on this below). In addition to being a critically acclaimed author, he’s also earned the title of "funniest man on Instagram” from his iconic one-liners and IG captions. Raven has great taste and lucky for us, he’s here to tell us what he’s been into.
Without further ado
Raven Smith (instagram, twitter)
I have absolutely no ties to Italy that I know of, and the last piece I read about it was from a Black woman explaining the near-constant racism and ostracisation she experienced in the more rural areas, and yet here I am advocating an Italian digestivo. I prefer Greece as a destination, my spirit animal is feta, but would never have you chug ouzo like on a balmy night like a chav on a gap year. Like many an amaro, Meletti is bittersweet and you only have to add a dash of prosecco, ice and an olive to look suave which is much less time-consuming than a finishing school in Switzerland or one of the private schools with a riot club. It is a no-frills Aperol for grown-ups (it’s actually best in a half-pint glass, curveless like a supermodel). Drink Meletti, feel expensive.
I know what you’re thinking, another gay man with a penchant for pop, another bum boy obsessed with Kylie. But this is the best, most hornily, summery song ever written (Madonna’s Tell Me with the Marlboro men is excellent, but feels less seasonal). After the first note of Slow I can literally taste sea salt and sweat and spf50 on my lips. The video is heaving with ripe bikinis and the heavy gussets of men in Speedos. Saddle up.
🥬 My grandma’s ceramic cabbage
When we cleared my grandma’s house after she died, none of my cousins wanted the ceramic cabbage because they lack vision, but I am a tasteful magpie. I like ceramic greenery because it makes a space look verdant without someone dming you that you’re overwatering your cacti every time you do a story. In a way, the cabbage is annoyingly similar to the cheap trompe-l’œil you can get at Arket but it most certainly isn’t the cheap trompe-l’œil you can get at Arket. It’s not an antique, I don’t think. Nobody in my family own any real art but we have a reasonable collection of Tate prints between us. It’s just a matter of time until the cabbage gets knocked off its pedestal and smashed to smithereens and I have to re-live the loss of my grandma (we were close) and then do a massive cope. Until then, it prospers.
🍰 Ottolenghi Slab Cake
Ottolenghi doesn’t call it slab cake, it has some French-adjacent name with an accent on the e, but it’s basically lightly gelatined fruit embedded in a cement of almond sponge. It’s important to me that the slab has squared edges because circular cakes are for sissies (I don’t make the rules). I would happily sell a kidney for regular access to squares of slab cake, but not both kidneys.
It’s frowned upon in book circles to push your own (forthcoming) book because everyone in literature is chronically self-deprecating (they also apologise when retweeting praise). I’m lucky enough to have avoided such an affliction. Expect softbois, hard truths, and a rigorous retelling of every time I’ve been punched or fingered.
Follow Raven on Instagram and Twitter
Perfectly Imperfect is a not-for-profit (for the love of cool shit) newsletter featuring good ol’ fashioned recommendations from real people.
Subscribe for hot curated recs like these in your inbox, 2x a week.
Follow Perfectly Imperfect on Instagram
Join the Perfectly Imperfect Discord
Follow Tyler, Alex, & Serey on Instagram