The Periodic Table of Meat Explained: Q & A with Jeff Wysaski
Jeff Wysaski, 29-year old founder of Pleated-Jeans, debuted his Periodic Table of Meat last year. The number of meats in the world is vast. Wysaski's table brings order to the chaos. Creating it took him "a long freaking time."
Wysaski also happens to be married to Unicorn Magic Baking Company co-owner Kaycee Wysaski. For more on unicorn cakes, visit our Candyland column. For our interview with Jeff Wysaski, turn the page...
Squid Ink: How did you decide where to put each meat?
Jeff Wysaski: I tried to model it after the real periodic table as much as possible. Entries in the real chart are broken up by categories (solid, liquid, gas) so I thought the obvious choice was to break meats up via poultry, red meat, seafood, etc.
The idea of swapping "Noble Gases" for "Noble Meats" was also too tasty. So I made a list of the most popular meats (bacon, etc.) and placed them in the appropriate Noble Gases section. Given the extreme awesome-ness of bacon, it deserved the #1 slot. Then I just filled in each category, making sure that entries that could be grouped together (steaks, cold cuts, etc.) ended up in a nice clump.
Gamey ended up on the outside because these were the 'outliers' of the meat group.
SI: Did you consider and ultimately discard any types of meat? What was your criteria for deciding what made the cut? For instance, we don't see monkey or squirrel in there.
JW: Yeah, I thought monkey fit in with Bush Meat and squirrel fit in with roadkill. Clearly, there are an almost endless number of potential meat dishes/types of meat that could be included. I just made a list of all the ones I could think of.
Also, I initially wanted to include all different types of fish (tuna, halibut, etc.), but there just proved to be too many to include separately.
SI: Did you try to correlate each meat with the properties of its respective element? For instance, some people might have put bacon into the spot occupied by Oxygen, since people practically breathe the stuff.
JW: I felt the numbering for Bacon was more important (which is why it was number one). I considered your method, but in the end I don't think the average person knows what number Oxygen is on the real periodic table. However, I think most people will get the correlation that Bacon is "the number one meat." I placed hamburger at #2 for similar reasons. And then the rest of the numbers kind of ended up being random, as I attempted to place the most popular meats in each group via a top-to-bottom fashion.
SI: How did you come up with the idea for a periodic table of meats?
JW: I tried to think of the most inane and unnecessary topic that was still interesting and funny.
SI: Are you making any other periodic tables of foods?
JW: No. I don't have any plans to make another. Though, I did make a Periodic Table of Nickelodeon recently.
Get the Food & Drink Newsletter
Our weekly guide to Los Angeles dining includes food news and reviews, as well as dining events and interviews with chefs and restaurant owners.