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The New Bon Appetit


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#1 jumanggy

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Posted 13 January 2008 - 10:47 AM

I just saw the cover of the new Bon Appetit (February 2008). I've read here that they were taking a new direction, trying to appeal to a younger crowd, etc.

So, after the makeover, are they really that different?
Is there a noticeable change in the recipes/ quality?
Why is the "O" in the title a different color from the rest of the letters?

I usually buy back issues at the surplus bookshop (about 6+ months late, to save on money), but I was a moderate fan of the old format. I'm curious to know what you guys think of the new one.
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#2 pansophia

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Posted 13 January 2008 - 11:28 AM

I just saw the cover of the new Bon Appetit (February 2008). I've read here that they were taking a new direction, trying to appeal to a younger crowd, etc.

So, after the makeover, are they really that different?
Is there a noticeable change in the recipes/ quality?
Why is the "O" in the title a different color from the rest of the letters?

View Post


Well, I guess I count as "the younger crowd" and I also happen to have an incurable addiction to buying food magazines, most of which end up browsed through once and then sitting on a shelf.

Something strange happened with last month's bon appetit, something that has never before happened in my house. I actually found a recipe that looked good, fast, and healthy (in the "fast, easy, fresh" section) and I actually cooked it for hubby and I two nights later. And we actually liked it.

Maybe it was a fluke and will never happen again. But I bought the Feb issue today so I guess we'll find out soon enough.
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#3 aliénor

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Posted 13 January 2008 - 09:06 PM

<I also happen to have an incurable addiction to buying food magazines, most of which end up browsed through once and then sitting on a shelf.>
i am also addicted and in the past bought several food magazines and stored the all over the house. now i have solved that problem. i have given my local library several subscriptions to my favorites and thus can read them and have them stored away from home. in the meantime i am beginning to rid the house of years and years of these old magazines. i need more shelf space for books and cookbooks. don't know how to deal with thiis problem.... :smile:

#4 Alex

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Posted 13 January 2008 - 09:20 PM

I just saw the cover of the new Bon Appetit (February 2008). I've read here that they were taking a new direction, trying to appeal to a younger crowd, etc.

So, after the makeover, are they really that different?
Is there a noticeable change in the recipes/ quality?
Why is the "O" in the title a different color from the rest of the letters?

View Post

Perhaps it's a strategy to get potential new readers to unconsciously associate this magazine with the well-liked Oprah. :wink:

The accent aigu also is the same color as the "o," so I think it's simply supposed to be an eye-catching design.
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#5 jumanggy

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Posted 13 January 2008 - 10:19 PM

From http://www.epicuriou...rs_letter_01_08:

It's been 17 years since we made a change, and, quite frankly, it was time. Considering how accessible and up-to-date the content of the magazine is, I thought it was time for something bolder and more eye-catching. (...) I like, in particular, the o. It reminds me—appropriately—of a plate. I really like that the o and the accent mark are a different color than the rest of the logo, and that those colors will change every month. It's a nice touch of whimsy, reflecting the ease and approachability of what's inside. So don't panic; what's inside hasn't changed.

-Barbara Fairchild, Editor-in-Chief, Bon Appétit, January 2008

Ah. I get it. Sort of. You know what would've been more whimsical? An actual plate in place of the O! Think about it! When was the last time a magazine was daring enough to use pictures in typography? I think never! You could change the plate with each issue to reflect what's inside! w00t!

Yeah, I suppose the old logo did not really reflect the content. I see they're adopting a more Gourmet-magazine sensibility in the cover photograph. Or maybe it has infected the interior too? Blue and sparse. Trendy, but not whimsical. Maybe it was taking too much energy to style whole rooms around the food? Too bad, I liked their old style.

I think the Fast, East, Fresh section is usually a winner anyway (take note it doesn't say, "..., Flavorful"), with a few tweaks here and there.
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#6 Peter the eater

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Posted 14 January 2008 - 07:22 AM

Thanks for starting the topic jumanggy, you beat me to it.

I like the new look and the corresponding adjustments to content. They were overdue for an update, it's a viciously competitive market out there and I wouldn't think an editorial board should just sit around getting obsolete.

The photos are the most noticeable improvement. Less of the "fancy parties with well-heeled white people standing around" and more contemporary food photography.

So yes, I'm a fan of the mag and I am extremely blessed to have a spouse who makes the cover recipe each month. Oh yes, that's every month!

Behold Jan 08's chocolate pudding pie and Feb 08's blueberry pancakes:
Posted Image
Posted Image

Note: I was very, very disappointed with the pancake recipe. It calls for a mix! Are you kidding me?!?! Kodiak Cakes Brand - never had it, never plan to. If I ever had the bad sense to come home from the grocery store with a cake mix of any kind I would be sent back for a refund.
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#7 jumanggy

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Posted 14 January 2008 - 07:58 AM

Yikes. A mix? Who wrote the recipe? Lee?

I was a big fan of the old photography! Do you recall all those "What America Eats" issues? With the pizza in front, sausage and cheese cascading over golden dough? :smile:
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#8 Rebecca263

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Posted 14 January 2008 - 08:34 AM

I don't know why, but it just seems to me that food magazines have become so pretentious over the past few years. I grew up reading Gourmet, and perhaps it WAS pretentious, but I never felt so, until the mid 80's. I really miss the armchair travels I had with those childhood issues of Gourmet. Nothing seems to compare to that, these days.
Bon Appetit is kind of faking it, to me. Staged pictorials, yet food that isn't exactly a thrill. Shopping is subtly equated with being a 'quality' cook and having a 'quality' life.
I wish that someone would start a small magazine dedicated to stories about places and food. You know, that small cheesemaker, the great cook, the nice lady who bakes pies for local restaurants, the place where you go to help with the grape harvest. Your visit to your parents. How and why you became a saucier. Writing that includes an adventure, or a recipe, something that has a personal meaning.
I just really miss Calvin Trillin's old articles, what can I say?
Kiddle adores food magazines and she has uber cheap ( and one free) subscriptions to the easy 3- Bon Appetit, Gourmet and Saveur. I'm not renewing either the Bon Appetit or Saveur, only the Gourmet. Even that's going to be a stretch. I unload my old magazines on ebaY. Kiddle has 'graduated' to reading old cookbooks and current art magazines. My home is literally bursting with these, so she's very happy.

Edited by Rebecca263, 14 January 2008 - 08:35 AM.

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#9 jumanggy

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Posted 14 January 2008 - 11:54 AM

Oh Peter, I forgot to say, mix or no, the pancakes look really good :) and I'm glad you have kids to spread the calories of that pie around :raz:

Rebecca, I only have two (kind of 2-3 years old) issues of Saveur, but I thought they covered the adventure aspect pretty well. I have to agree Bon Appetit is not the magazine you're looking for. It's really become more of the "easy entertaining"/"fast, fresh ideas for meals" magazine. Do they still have the section in the beginning where readers request for recipes from famous restaurants? I found it odd that both Gourmet and Bon Appetit had that (but at least you got a few recipes in each issue that you know someone had already raved over). And that each year there is one Italy-centric issue for each (I love Italian cuisine and all, but... come on). It seems that based on your description, Gourmet may be the best fit for you.
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#10 Eilen

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Posted 14 January 2008 - 01:02 PM

I noticed the new look at the grocery store the other day; it made me want to buy an issue just to see if it was worth subscribing to again. I let my subscription expire last year after realizing that the stories did not interest me that much (I don't really care what's "trendy" in the food world, I just like to know what's good), and I wasn't using it for the recipes either. It seems like the kind of magazine for people who want to be fashionable in the food world--in one issue last year(?) or the year before, they even had a clothing spread, telling you what you should wear for a weekend in the country or something. I wrote the editor to say that, should I require clothing advice, I would subscribe to Vogue and not a food magazine. I suppose I shouldn't be so judgemental, it's just not the food magazine for me.

#11 Rebecca263

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Posted 14 January 2008 - 01:07 PM

...Do they still have the section in the beginning where readers request for recipes from famous restaurants? I found it odd that both Gourmet and Bon Appetit had that (but at least you got a few recipes in each issue that you know someone had already raved over)...

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I think that Gourmet and Bon Appetit are connected, somehow. I do know that they are both featured on the epicurious website together. I'm just assuming that they're both Conde Nast publications.
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#12 Toliver

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Posted 14 January 2008 - 01:20 PM

My subscription runs out this summer and I won't be renewing it. I can't remember the last time I ripped out any of the recipes to keep.
I'm not impressed with the changes in the latest issue. Warm & inviting, it isn't. Then again, I'm probably not their ideal demographic any longer so a mutual parting of ways shall come to pass.

A little off-topic but in the latest issue they said cauliflower is in season right now but I went shopping yesterday and it certainly isn't priced like it's in season. Two bucks a head! :blink: My roasted cauliflower jones will have to wait until the price comes down again.

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#13 FoodMan

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Posted 14 January 2008 - 01:49 PM

Note: I was very, very disappointed with the pancake recipe. It calls for a mix! Are you kidding me?!?! Kodiak Cakes Brand - never had it, never plan to. If I ever had the bad sense to come home from the grocery store with a cake mix of any kind I would be sent back for a refund.


Yes. What is up with that???? That is the first issue I have delivered after picking Bon Appetit via some credit card points (a year for free). When I saw the recipe using a mix, I was a bit miffed! It's the damn cover recipe. Is it too much to ask to use some flour and baking powder? Made me wonder if this is typical of BA or not, since the only magazine I've been reading regularly for the past 5 years is Food and Wine. A couple of articles are pretty good reads though.

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#14 Megan Blocker

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Posted 14 January 2008 - 08:04 PM

...Do they still have the section in the beginning where readers request for recipes from famous restaurants? I found it odd that both Gourmet and Bon Appetit had that (but at least you got a few recipes in each issue that you know someone had already raved over)...

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I think that Gourmet and Bon Appetit are connected, somehow. I do know that they are both featured on the epicurious website together. I'm just assuming that they're both Conde Nast publications.

View Post

Yup, they're both Conde Nast magazines.
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#15 Susie Q

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Posted 14 January 2008 - 09:09 PM

After buying a grinder attachment for my Kitchen Aid mixer I qualified for a free subscription to either Gourmet or Bon Appetit I chose B.A. because I get "stand current" Gourmet issues for next to nothing at the library resale shop.

I'm curious to see how what direction the magazine will take. I grew up with Gourmet and Bon Appetit in the house. Mama's collection made the moves to each of the new houses. I still like re-reading some of the older issues.

P.S. The first two "new" covers (Jan. and Feb.) looked rather cold to me. The pancakes looked good but everything around them on the cover, from the background to the lettering looked to clinical.

Edited by Susie Q, 14 January 2008 - 09:20 PM.


#16 jumanggy

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Posted 14 January 2008 - 10:09 PM

Actually it's the fact that they're "sibling" publications that puzzles me most in connection with the too-similar content of famous recipe requests.

I do agree with the "clinical" look of the covers (except for the food itself, but even the food has a blue tinge). It's the trend. I blame Donna Hay. Kidding!
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#17 Megan Blocker

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Posted 21 January 2008 - 05:48 PM

Eh, I don't love the new Bon Appetit look, either. I liked the photo of the pancakes, actually, and I like this month's photo of the grilled cheese (Though I think the photography is now way too similar to Gourmet's.).

But I'm not loving the new logo - I agree that it looks sparse, almost ungenerous, with the typeface spread out the way it is. This month excepted, Domino Magazine has one of the best "young," "hip" cover schemes - I would have expected something more along those lines, with pop-y colors and a more luxurious design. It would have made a nice complement to Gourmet's spare, elegant covers.

ETA: OK, so, the grilled cheese is on Gourmet's current cover...which may go to show that I'm not entirely wrong about their covers looking more alike, or may just show that I'm getting old. Either way.
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#18 mrsadm

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Posted 22 January 2008 - 05:16 AM

The cover page logo is turquoise and brown - not exactly food colors to me. Also I feel the drawings and helpful bytes of information are talking down to me ... either that or I've become more sophisticated (I prefer to think the latter of course).

At any rate this is my last issue, I'm letting my long time subscription lapse.
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#19 eatrustic

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Posted 16 February 2008 - 01:18 PM

I just bought my first copy of the "new look" B.A. (March issue).The cover photos have been attractive enough since the makeover but like many people these days I really need a reason to buy one more cooking magazine. My rule of thumb is if there are three interesting articles I'll buy, otherwise pass.
This time round I broke my rule as I'm currently in a donut making phase and lo and behold the cover promised something about donuts under the subject heading of "Warm, Sticky, Gooey!"
Usually I'll check the article out but I was pressed for time and figured this would be my chance to test run the new look BA.

Man, was I ticked off to find that there was absolutely no donut mention in the article, sure there were beignets but if I'd wanted a blob of fried dough vs a donut I would have asked for it! False advertising and I won't bother with Bon Appetit in the future.

#20 jumanggy

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Posted 17 February 2008 - 06:09 AM

Sorry to hear that, I guess there wasn't enough in the other articles to salvage it.. (This is the one with the corned beef sandwich- er, I'm not sure if it's a Reuben- on a plain green background, right?)
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#21 eatrustic

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Posted 17 February 2008 - 04:18 PM

Sorry to hear that, I guess there wasn't enough in the other articles to salvage it.. (This is the one with the corned beef sandwich- er, I'm not sure if it's a Reuben- on a plain green background, right?)

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Yes, that's the one. I guess that subscribers wouldn't have had the wrong donut info as they don't usually put anything on the cover for home delivery.

There are a couple of interesting things inside but like I said I really hold back on magazine purchases these days as I find it impossible to get rid of them (until months or years later) and I'm getting tired of my place looking like 30 cat and 12 dog hermit man :laugh:.

#22 Peter the eater

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Posted 20 May 2008 - 07:37 AM

So far, the covers this year have been:

Jan - chocolate pudding pie
Feb - blueberry pancakes
Mar - corned beef sandwhich
Apr - cupcakes
May - steak frites
Jun - cherry pie

What do you think of this list?

This looks like a departure from previous years. All of these things strike me as diner food and I'd go even further and say retro. Being a total omnivore, I do like all of the cover recipes and I'm pleased to see classics revisited, but I still won't forgive the use of a mix for the pancakes.

BTW here's our attempt on the May's cover, omitting cognac in the sauce:

Posted ImagePosted Image
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#23 Lindacakes

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Posted 21 May 2008 - 09:05 AM

I also buy used magazines on eBay. I like to buy a whole year, hand them to my partner with the request to drop one of them on me each month. It appears to me as though they've just been delivered.

I blame the rise of Rachel Ray and the T-Shirt Cooks (whatever that show is where they cook in their t-shirts, each in a different color). Everything must be Fun! Fast! Simple!

Like my mind!

I got a free subscription to Bon Appetit because I bought the cookbook. Ended up throwing them away as soon as they came in the door, without even looking.

I switched to Saveur.

I got a big bang out of the butter issue.
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#24 Megan Blocker

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Posted 28 May 2008 - 08:37 AM

So far, the covers this year have been:

Jan - chocolate pudding pie
Feb - blueberry pancakes
Mar - corned beef sandwhich
Apr - cupcakes
May - steak frites
Jun - cherry pie

What do you think of this list?

...

BTW here's our attempt on the May's cover, omitting cognac in the sauce:

View Post

Oh, wow. Those peas are SO green!

Very interesting point, Peter - aside from the steak frites (which I think of more as bistro food than "diner" food), it's a very down-home array. And, frankly, even steak frites is comfort food, even if it is more classically French.

Does anyone know if the re-design has helped with BA's sales numbers?
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#25 Badiane

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Posted 14 June 2008 - 01:02 PM

I found the July issue in the laundry room of my building...

I guess I'm not the demographic anymore, because I thought it was all a bit too arty - what's up with the ugly paintings instead of pictures in one section? Very unappealing.

But the thing that I really REALLY noticed was Barbara Fairchild's picture. WTF happened to her? She used to look so normal...now she's barely recognizable. Surgical alteration immediately sprang to mind. I'm not saying that's a bad thing, just completely different. Kind of weirded me out.
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#26 snowangel

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Posted 14 June 2008 - 04:05 PM

I've quit subscribing to magazines, preferring to purchase them at the local newsstand or market if they interest me.

Now, I'm just wondering how many folks are going to pick up a copy of Bon Appetit, since they don't give much of an indication on the cover of what's actually in the magazine? If I'm buying a copy of a magazine at the supermarket (most likely), I'm busy unloading the cart, and want a quick glance at the cover.
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#27 Peter the eater

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Posted 14 June 2008 - 05:03 PM

I've quit subscribing to magazines, preferring to purchase them at the local newsstand or market if they interest me.

Now, I'm just wondering how many folks are going to pick up a copy of Bon Appetit, since they don't give much of an indication on the cover of what's actually in the magazine?  If I'm buying a copy of a magazine at the supermarket (most likely), I'm busy unloading the cart, and want a quick glance at the cover.

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I don't know if I'd grab the mag at the checkout, this year's covers seem harsh. They do state what's inside and give a page number - that's good - but the one image is a high contrast close up of comfort/diner food. This month it's a burger! I'll go on record and predict that there will be a casserole on the cover by year's end.

Also missing from the new cover is the price. December 2007 says $3.99 but January 2008 says nothing.
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Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

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#28 Peter the eater

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Posted 28 July 2008 - 06:48 PM

Here's July's cover - a hamburger - who'd have ever guessed?
Posted Image

Actually, the chipotles were a really nice touch:
Posted Image
Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .
Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .
Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

#29 Peter the eater

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Posted 28 July 2008 - 07:09 PM

But the thing that I really REALLY noticed was Barbara Fairchild's picture.  WTF happened to her?  She used to look so normal...now she's barely recognizable.  Surgical alteration immediately sprang to mind.  I'm not saying that's a bad thing, just completely different.  Kind of weirded me out.

Wait a minute - I thought that was a picture or Morgan Fairchild . . .
Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .
Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .
Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

#30 jumanggy

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Posted 28 July 2008 - 08:36 PM

Speaking of diner food, the next cover ("Summer Scoop") is an ice cream cone. I'm frightened the recipe might call for buying a tub of ice cream.

Also promised on the cover? "Healthy Burgers." Hey, didn't you just have a grill issue last month? With a burger on the cover? Peter, do they have burgers on every month?

BUT the burger you did make does look incredible, Peter :) I haven't read it yet, but did you adopt BA's patty protocol? Or did you stick to your own and just make the chipotle ketchup?
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