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Food/Cooking Magazines


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I don't know if Barnes & Noble carries the same magazines nationwide, but check them for WFI. I know they carry it up in NYC, maybe it's the same by you.

That's the weird thing. B&N always had it and I could get it at the independent bookstore here too. Now no one has it.

Victoria Raschke, aka ms. victoria

Eat Your Heart Out: food memories, recipes, rants and reviews

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If you're an experienced cook already, I'd skip Cook's Illustrated. If not, it might be worthwhile to subscribe once, and let it expire. In terms of techniques and specific dishes, you'll hit the point of diminishing returns after a year or two (and you may begin to get annoyed at their idea of what some of those dishes are "supposed" to be like).

I also find the results of many of their tastings bizzare, and that further undercuts my faith in the recipes. As they point out, they don't accept advertising. That means they have a financial interest in producing startling test results (like "$3 olive oil beats expensive imports!!!"). To be fair, though, I think their real tastes run to the cheap and bland.

Andrew Riggsby


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I have had subscriptions to Saveur and Cook's Illustrated for years, and love them both. As for a third... it would be a toss up - Cucina Italiana, F&W, Gourmet, etc.

I am interested to try some of the others mentioned on this thread...

-- Judy B

If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay home.

--James Michener

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Gourmet because I came across it as a kid, about 11, back in the early sixties. Spent part of my allowance on it every month, in the one store in town that I knew carried it. It was very different then, fewer ads, less photos. I devoured the articles, columns, food, wine, travel. Leslie Chateris' Along the Boulevards was my favorite, I think. I still recall many of the articles (including a very romatic piece by a USNA grad who detailed his marriage proposal to his girl at a hotel well out of his price range, with the generousity and connivance of the hotel staff. I've reread that one a few times over the years.) Beacuse it was so long ago, the reminisences were of pre war years often, and serve more as food and social history then cooking, although most of my early stock recipes came from Gourmet, and I still use many of them. In sum, Gourmet opened the door to a world that I found irrestistible and indispensable. Still do. Can't throw the early ones away.

Cook's Illustrated but I don't subscribe. I look through it at Border's, if there are things I'd use I buy. I have big problems discarding cooking mags, so I try to limit the ones which come over the threshold.

Food and Wine Again, I don't subscribe, just buy it on occasion.

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I've subscribed to Saveur since issue #7 and they are in their own bookshelf, tattered, sticky, a few have swollen up from spills and dried to a crazy jumble of paper kept together with paperclips and rubberbands.

I always find at least one recipe per issue to try and it's always great! :wub:

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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I'll second BBC Good Food and when I could get it Waitrose Food Illustrated (also UK) is a gorgeous magazine. Everyone in Nashville has stopped carrying it. I also enjoy Donna Hay. It's published in Australia but hits the newsstand seasonally here about 4 months off its newsstand release there. She is the Martha of Australia in many ways but much more realisitic about what mere mortals can do at home without a full crew. Also, everything I have made out of her cookbooks or the mag has been spot on.

Two new ones I just discovered are another BBC project called Olive and another Australian mag called Delicious.

Just picked up a copy of Delicious and it looks great. It seems to have won just about every award in Australia, including Magazine of the Year.

One thing that is a little disconcerting: the seasons are out of joint for anyone in North America. It's odd to pick up a current issue and be reading about "autumn menus."

Arthur Johnson, aka "fresco"
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I think my top three are Cook's Illustrated, Saveur, and (somewhat hesitantly) Gourmet. Even though I know how to cook, I think some of Cook's Illustrated's tips are incredibly useful, and as far as pretty pictures go, the front and back covers have beautiful paintings.

Saveur is lots of fun, and I have followed the recipes in some of the issues. The green and red salsas from an issue last fall were excellent (the main secret: roast the tomatoes or tomatillos with the peppers and garlic in a hot pan, blackening them on the outside, before you process them).

I'm somewhat hesitant about Gourmet of late. I've been getting it delivered here in Australia, and while I've been a fan for a long time, in recent months I've been getting bored with all the articles about family farms, etc. Don't get me wrong, I'm fully in support of sustainable, organic farming and try to buy from those producers whenever possible. However, month after month of variations on the same theme gets a bit dull. I feel like those articles are written for people in New York who don't know where their food comes from. I'm surrounded by grazing fields for cattle and sheep here, and I grew up in rural Iowa! I know where food comes from already! Am I the only one who thinks this?

As far as local magazines, Cuisine is the best of the best. (They did a great near-flourless chocolate cake recipe around December that I whipped up for my fiancee's mom's birthday. Both mom and fiancee's three-year-old nephew loved it, though mom did not get it all over her face, arms, etc.)

I like Delicious more for ideas than the actual recipes; most of the recipes are pretty easy, so it's better to just use them as an outline. Furthermore, the recipes seem to divide sometimes into "easy" and "don't try making this unless you live in Sydney/Melbourne and can get the 9 exotic ingredients".

Australian Gourmet Traveller and Vogue are mostly food and lifestyle porn. Not that there's anything wrong with that, per se.

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I vote for:

Cooks Illustrated (despite Kimball's bombast)

Saveur (despite the occasional travelog feel)

Gastronomica (well, it's an acquired taste. Kind of like Julia Child meets Jacques Derrida)

Also, the "Best of Food Writing..." book series by Holly Hughes is interesting to read because you can get an idea of what different journals have to offer. It comes out every year. I always look forward to the new one.


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I only subscribe to one food mag at the moment: Food & Wine. I have found many recipes in there are doable and tasty; I've used at least a half-dozen for a few catering jobs with big success.

They also appeal to me because I am getting a little more into wine as I go along, and I appreciate that they take it for granted that eating and wine belong together. That philosophy makes me reluctant to let my subscription slide, even if the 'articles' are sometimes shallow.

Other selling points: the Quick section, as mentioned; the index at the front of the mag of all recipes, which also indicates which are 'quick', 'healthy', 'staff pick', or 'make ahead' (VERY useful for parties or catering); and the Pairing section which introduces you to a food/wine pairing that you might not have discovered before.

I would LIKE to read Gastronomica, as it seems to be The Atlantic of food porn. But $10 per quarterly issue.... yikes. I'm reading one of their free online articles right now to see if I can still be wooed. :-)

Oh, and I usually buy the "100 Best" Saveur issue when its out.

Miss Tenacity

Cedar Crest, NM

"You can't taste the beauty and energy of the Earth in a Twinkie." - Astrid Alauda


Food Lovers' Guide to Santa Fe, Albuquerque & Taos: OMG I wrote a book. Woo!

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Cook's Illustrated without a doubt. Christopher Kimball deserves to be smacked upside the head occasionally (never, ever read the editor's letter if you don't want to lose your lunch over the smarminess), but I have learned more from that magazine than from anything else. Great explanations of food science, and total obsession with technique.

Boy, I think smarmy is just the right word for a lot of what is in Cooks Illustrated. I manage a kitchenware store and it amazes me that folks just zoom in to buy whatever Cooks says is "best." They do base most techniques and recipes on good science, though.

Scares me how much drag the magazines have on the "weekend gourmets"...If a certain souffle dish is on the cover of a big cooking magazine, my store is out of stock in minutes. But I digress...my favorite magazines are Saveur, Gourmet and grudgingly Cook's Illustrated. ( the food scientist part of me wins)

Incidentally, I love this site...I found you all by "Googling" for help with canneles...Here this is my first post and I sound like a grump.

I'd rather be making cheese; growing beets or smoking briskets.

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For my money, I'd recommend Fine Cooking, Cook's Illustrated, and Saveur. I've read Gourmet since the late 70's, but in my opinion it has lost its way, perhaps since Ruth Reichl took over. The recipes are often enough useful, but you can get those in the hard bound "annuals." The visual style of the magazine seems confused, as if it were unable to complete a thought without interrupting itself. There seems to be too much "advertorial" content, which speaks for the financial success of the magazine, but makes for a difficult read. I've decided to stop buying it on a regular basis. I agree that there are many visually arresting international food magazines, but they're pricey and ingredients in the recipes may be difficult to find, even in a large metropolis. The seasons are reversed when one considers Australian and Kiwi cuisine, too. Only my opinion, of course

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I've always enjoyed Gourmet, especially with Ruth at the head...she's great, and really down to earth.

I still receive Bon Appetit, but could live without it. My mom continues to get me a subscription. The Photos are nice, but I find it difiicult to read, and rather boring. The recipes are pretty hit and miss, and frequently nothing in it appeals to my tastes.

I love Cooks Illustrated and have two of the books. The style is blunt and easy to use. I find it great for opening up and cooking something that evening for dinner. I agree with everyone else though. I hate Chris Kimball...look at the man, do you really see him doing hard Vermont farm work? What a joke...it would be nice to see him replaced as editor. ..who ever said he's one kid who got beaten up in high school is right...he's big giant smarmy nerd.

As for Martha Stewart Living, I've received the mag for years (once again thanks to Mom) and continually find the recipes either difficult to actually prepare, or unappealing once completed...not worth it and wish my mom would wipe it off my Christmas list.

Interesting topic...good to hear everyone's views...I'll be picking a few of these the next time I'm at the book store.


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Cooks Illustrated


Fine Cooking

I agree with these.

I like Chris Kimball and do not find him smarmy at all, just kind of dry. The whole magazine is kind of dry, but that's sort of deliberate, I think.

I remember one Martha Stewart show he did, where Martha stood by in stunned silence as he dredged his chicken in beaten egg. When she recovered, you could tell she was struggling to take the chicken away from him, but she just said she's never seen anybody do fried chicken like that.

I like Cooks Illustrated because they get into the actual chemistry behind the things that happen in your dishes. I think this is actually more valuable than the recipes themselves. However, they do have some good recipes.

Saveur is good food porn.

Fine Cooking is kind of in the middle.

I love cold Dinty Moore beef stew. It is like dog food! And I am like a dog.


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If you're an experienced cook already, I'd skip Cook's Illustrated.  If not, it might be worthwhile to subscribe once, and let it expire.

oh, i dunno -- i find their discoveries from the test kitchen to be useful as they try new dishes. not that i don't know what to do, but i'd rather *they* waste their time cooking 30 types of mac and cheese.

what really *does* annoy me about C.I. is that they're always looking for little ways to squeeze just a bit more money out of their subscribers. $X more for the web site; $Y more for an index, which is the only thing that makes the magazines useful. at this point, i'd rather just buy their books, which are at least categorized by food type.

on the Saveur points mentioned above, it's more food than cooking. but i've found recipes in there that are simply wonderful. there was a recipe for halibut cheeks from Maria Sinskey a few months ago that's become one of our favorite dishes.

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One of my favourites is the Art of Eating. A more serious food magazine vs a cooking magazine. No advertizing. It is a quaterly that talks abt the best of foods and wine. Where to find it, how it is produced, the best cheesmakers etc. Some recipes. A lot of information not found in mainstream magazines.

Check out it's website.....www.artofeating.com

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what really *does* annoy me about C.I. is that they're always looking for little ways to squeeze just a bit more money out of their subscribers. $X more for the web site; $Y more for an index, which is the only thing that makes the magazines useful.  at this point, i'd rather just buy their books, which are at least categorized by food type.

Of course the reason they do keep trying to make more money off of their subscribers is that they get no $$$ from advertisers. So their subscribers are the only source left.

I don't mind paying a little extra here and there (for the CI web site in particular) and not have to look at page after page of ads. :wink:

And, like many others posting here, the engineer/scientist side of me appreciates their delving into what works and why with a recipe. :biggrin:


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I don't mind paying a little extra here and there (for the CI web site in particular) and not have to look at page after page of ads.  :wink:

i don't mind paying a bit extra, but it's the nickle-and-diming that gets me. better to charge me $20 extra for the year and give me a searchable Web index than do this a la carte approach.

both they and Consumer Union do this with their Web sites, which seems a dubious practice for such consumer-focused publications. so does Wine Spectator, but i've simply given up and started paying for their web access.

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Glad to see this has turned into such a big discussion. SInce I last wrote, I sent off dor the Saveur sub and then realized I had already agreed to a so-called free "trial" to CI which was really just a fish for a sub from the Americastestkitchen.com site...very sneaky. No free issue, just an assumption you will subscribe after they send you and issue with a bill.

I am still getting it though cos the boy likes the tech-y nature of CI. Very Consumer Reports but there are some good recipes. I have to say their salsa recipe is NOT "the best salsa" the way the writer pimps it as...it is more like a "good Pico." But oh well!

And to answer again to those who keep inquiring, BOTH mags about food and how to cook. THANKS.

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One point to keep in mind about Cook's Illustrated is that a lot of times you really have to read the article to see how they're defining "Best" before you look at the recipe and compare it to others you use. Occasionally their idea of what something should be like is off from what my ideal would be. (Although in that case, you do tend to get tips in the article about how to get it to be more like what you want.)

Personally, I have a subscription to the website, and haven't bothered with the paper copies. (But then, I live in the UK, so I'd have to pay international shipping. If I lived in the US, I might go for a normal subscription anyway. It is nice to have something to page through.)

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I'll add my vote for favorites to Fine Cooking and Saveur. At present I'm also subscribed to Gourmet, Cook's Illustrated, Bon Apetit, Cuisine@Home, and Cooking Pleasures. (Can you tell I've made the idiot list of the magazine subscription "special trial offer" folks?) I'm going to let the overload die down as the trial subscriptions expire. Here's what I'm keeping and what I'm letting go, and why:

Saveur and Fine Cooking I'm keeping, for all the reasons named above in this thread. I love those magazines.

I love Cooking Pleasures just as much as the two listed above. It's slightly more basic but along the same lines as Fine Cooking, and I've learned tons from it. Every recipe I've tried from it (admittedly fewer than half) has been a winner. For folks who like basic "how-to" type recipes along with reviews of equipment and the possibility of getting to review that equipment (and keep it) themselves, joining the Cooking Club of America can be a good thing. I think the professional and well-advanced eGulleteers would find it too basic. It's similar to Fine Cooking in style but somewhat thinner. I think the subscription costs are about the same.

Cuisine@Home is a well-written, clearly laid out how-to cooking mag that I think is a good value for the money, more basic than Cooking Pleasures. I'm going to let it lapse anyway because it has the world's most annoying circulation department: barely a month into a new subscription, they start bugging me to renew yet again. The last straw was this year when I gave my sister a gift subscription for Christmas, and they started bugging her to renew before she'd seen her first issue. Shame on them, no more money - after several years of subscriptions.

Gourmet - well, oddly enough after seeing the complaints from Down Under that they show too many farms, my sense is that it's too NYC oriented- at least, too flashy, too much about city night life. It goes.

I haven't decided yet about CI, but it's already been discussed ad nauseum. I really like the scientific approach, but I haven't generally liked the recipe results. Kimball's a bit too precious for me, but I can get past that - and I confess, sometimes I like his homey little essays in the front.

Bon Apetit - maybe, maybe not. I like it, but does it do anything the other combo of mags doesn't? I need time to read the flying magazines too! :laugh:

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

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"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)
"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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incidentally, has anyone seen an issue of the new food mag put out (or at least connected to) the CIA? i'm thinking it was called "Cook and Kitchen" or similar, but it's escaping me now and Google's no help.

it looked promising, along the lines of their Prochef material. but have yet to receive my first issue.

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