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Best/Favorite Food Magazines


Hopleaf
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Ok, there's a ton of magazines out there that cover food and cooking.  Here's the thing, the big ones, Gourmet, Bon Appetite, Food and Wine, they all seem to focus too much on New York and LA in their restaurant reviews.  Once a subscriber to Gourmet, I cancelled my subscription because of this very fact.  A lifelong resident of Chicago, I feel that there are a number of excellent restaurants here and new ones popping up all the time.  I realize that New York has a long tradition of setting the culinary benchmark for the rest of the country, not to mention it being the number one media market, and LA also has a history of being on the cutting (I pun because I can) edge.  But that doesn't mean there aren't new and interesting, or old and interesting, developments happening elsewhere.  And simply a renewed focus on Chicago wouldn't quite cut it either.  On my honeymoon, my wife and I found several wonderful eateries, restaurants and the like throughout Maine.  Only once since have I ran into any mention of Maine cuisine...in Real Simple, not exactly a food mag.  So, here's my list (in no particular order) of current favorite culinary magazines:

All About Beer: a beer nut's dream, the folks at this specialty mag present the Beverage Institute of America's tasting results in each issue, Michael Jackson (the beer guru, not the lame musician or the NFL player) has a regular column, there's a home brewers column and typically their feature pieces are a wealth of history and information.

Saveur: sleek, but not to pretentious.  Solid travel pieces, good layout, not much advertising.

Fine Cooking: Love this mag.  They have virtually no advertising (haven't the slightest idea how they pay their bills), tons of cooking tips and their feature pieces lay out step-by-step methods in a clear and precise manner.  

Cook's Illustrated: these guys test everything, and their results are honest and straightforward.  No favortism for certain brands.  There isn't any advertising in this one either and no color photography.  All illustrations are hand drawings, some b/w photos.  A nice touch with this mag is the beautiful color drawings on the back cover that accompany each issue.  

So, those are a few that I like.  Anyone want to recommend some of their favorites?

"Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut." -Ernest Hemingway

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I'm a huge fan of Art Culinaire. They take about four or five themes per issue (quarterly), for instance, beer; bread as a coating; Provence; curing; stacking.

They get serious chefs to improvise on these themes, with fascinating variations. Full page photographs, full recipes.

Waitrose Food Illustrated, from the UK. Glorious photographs, sort of light on technique, but with a serious focus on organic producers and growers.

Also, check out Food Arts - where our esteemed Steve Klc is on the masthead.

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Cool, I'll check those out Liza.  There's also Gastronomica, the Journal of Food and Culture, which I've only seen one issue, but liked it a lot.  The whole idea of focusing a publication on food and how it affects and is affected by culture is really interesting.

"Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut." -Ernest Hemingway

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Don't forget our even more esteemed Suvir, Liza!

Hopleaf--what were your favorite articles in the Gastronomica issue you have and why?

Let's also remember some of these magazines are really meant for pros--like Art Culinaire and Food Arts--though non-pros can benefit from them as well.

Liza--isn't Waitrose online as well?  Seems to me I stumbled across their site once and was impressed--not least by the pretty pictures.  Do you have the link?

Hopleaf--do help build up our anemic-at-present Chicago restaurant reports--and also post about your swing through Maine, if you still recall vividly enough.

And I'm sure you meant to say "Michael Jackson (the beer guru, not the lame musician or the NFL player or the gritty starting point guard for the NCAA basketball championship Georgetown Hoyas who later went on to Harvard.")

Steve Klc

Pastry chef-Restaurant Consultant

Oyamel : Zaytinya : Cafe Atlantico : Jaleo

chef@pastryarts.com

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The Gastronomica issue I have features an article on Man Ray, American ex-pat photographer, who was commissioned by a French electricity company to create a visual aspect to their marketing efforts.  One of the shots from the collection is of a roasted chicken laying on a bed of rice with a metallic coil 'rayographed' over it.  The coil sort of represents the heat used to cook the bird.  The article discusses the symbolism of the photo and how it related to the electricity company's artistically intelligent yet culinarily middle class audience.  Also, there's a fantastic article on antique apple parers, plus features on pho bo (Vietnamese spicey beef and noodle soup), a memoir of brownies by Lisa Yokelson, and much, much more.  Seriously, that's just the tip of the ice berg for this one issue I have (btw, it's the Winter 2002 edition).  Overall, I enjoy the intelligent discussion of food and culture in the journal, which they take to such a wide variety of topics.  There's even an article on the Alaska's Vansihing Arctic Cuisine.  Perhaps it's a bit heavy on the academic side, but if you're not too far removed from college or can still remember what it's like, this one's worth checking out.  

Steve, just curious who you refer to when you say some of the mags Liza mentioned are really intended for 'pros'?  Chefs? Food writers?  

As for the Chicago restaurant scene...my wife and I don't get a chance to splurge all that much, but when we do, we try to find new and interesting places.  One of the most impressive recently was a place called Thai Pastry on Broadway near Argyle, if you like Thai that is.  And we're big fans of Zia's in Edison Park (Northwest side of town) for rustic, country Italian.  We once championed the Daily Bar and Grill (at Clark and Wilson on the North side) as one of the best comfort food restaurants (their center cut pork chop with a sunny side egg on top was so delicious) but they've since changed their offerings to bar food (ick!).  

And finally, the Maine honeymoon...I'm gonna have to dig through our stuff for that.  We ended up trying as many little places as we could find.  We were driving up the coast from Manchester, NH to Bar Harbor, so there was much to choose from.  One place that particularly stands out was in Bar Harbor, I forget the name, but what wonderful blueberry pancakes!  I'll see if I can find the name and post it for all to try.  They did sell a dry mix of their pancakes that we took home and whipped up one cold Sunday in Chicago when we were missing Maine.

Hey, that Waitrose link, thanks lturley.  just added it to my bookmarks.  Will be going back there frequently.

"Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut." -Ernest Hemingway

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Meaning that they are written with the working pro in mind--to be read by and to influence chefs/restaurateurs/sommeliers/f & b directors/advertisers/what have you.  I'm not as big a fan of Art Culinaire as Liza--and probably agree more with Lesley C, our Canada board moderator who has written about how she feels Art Culinaire has had negative effects on younger chefs trying to emulate what they see in its pages--with strange, discordant, misplaced results.

It is a genre a bit apart from glossy consumer magazines for foodie audiences like Gourmet and apart from newspaper food writing.  Sometimes "food writing" gets lumped into one catch-all, but really there are different audiences, expectations, pressures, advertisers, deadlines, etc.

We talked a bit about that very Gastronomica issue previously Hop--I, too, adored the pho article by Alexandra Greeley.  She made me realize I had been eating inferior pho all these years--relying on guidance from a certain ex-Washington Post restaurant critic--now on the Gastronomica advisory board--who wasn't aware of the nuances either! The "Food as Intellectual Property" by Anna M. Shih--who posts here as Chocokitty by the way--and the food irradiation piece by the Washington Post's food science writer Robert Wolke, were very nice as well.

The rest of the journal issues haven't been anywhere near as consistent, provocative or lively enough for me, though.  Too often they miss the real issues or focus in on the mundane and irrelevant--but you know, you're right--there is a "tenured college professor mailing it in" tone to much of it--while the real world, and adept writers, reside just outside the walls.

Many thanks lturley4--I lost my bookmark when I went to an iBook from a PC.

Steve Klc

Pastry chef-Restaurant Consultant

Oyamel : Zaytinya : Cafe Atlantico : Jaleo

chef@pastryarts.com

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what's funny is I was just handed the Spring 2002 issue while I was typing my last post (the one on Red 'New').  Got some reading to do tonight!  Some highlights that caught my eye: Women Who Eat Dirt, Designing Technology for Domestic Spaces: A Kitchen Manifesto (can't wait to read that one, maybe for the bus ride home), and of course the Bookshelf.  Will report back!

"Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut." -Ernest Hemingway

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Re: Art Culinaire - I'm not a food professional, and use AC for many things. It's a great way to learn about new chefs who work outside my NYC area. The last issue included a tribute to sous-chefs, who are expected to go places on their own soon. I now have a list of names to look for. Each issue also profiles a food professional on the 'outskirts' - Jonathan White of Grassland Cheese consortium comes to mind. Another issue included a price breakdown of what some famous dishes by famous chefs, which was fascinating to a lay-diner. And the recipes! For me, it's purely aspirational, food-porn, maybe when I get a real stove, sort of reading. But D. and go back to these issues again and again when planning our big Sunday meal. ("Wait, they did a whole section on sea urchin...")

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As Steve mentioned, I dislike Art Culinaire because I've seen too many chefs copy directly from those pages instead of spending time to come up with ideas of their own (I once watched a chef reproduce a dish from AC right down to the angle of the chive blossom, with all behind him oohing and aahing). Copying is OK every once and a while, but more than that, it's just lazy. Why not discover your own creativity instead of profiting from someone else's.  :confused:

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and creative cooking is inspired by many things.  I like trying different combinations of ideas that I've garnered from a variety of magazines.  Might like the idea of braising from one pub but thought the main item to be braised could be something seasonal or exotic that I found in another pub.  If AC is, as you say Steve and Lesley, a professional resource, it might go along nicely with my On Cooking cookbook from which I've learned many a basic technique.  And I agree with Liza, that if you're not profiting from your cooking and simply get joy from creating things in the kitchen, then it shouldn't matter where the inspiration comes from.

So, I'm gonna try to find AC and see if I like it.  Gastronomica Spring 2002 has been engaging at moments, but also tiresome at others.  The Kitchen Design piece was exhaustively thorough in it's research and really took forever to get to the point.  But the best piece in it was the one entitled Cooking with a Conscience by Lisa Förare Winbladh, wherein Thomas Drejing says "use your brains, cook with what's available" rather than always looking for the exotic.  There's a wonderful picture of his Lobster with Rutabega and Rosemary that makes you just about want to eat the page.

"Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut." -Ernest Hemingway

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I've only seen a few issues of AC. Perhaps I'll take a closer look.

But surely mindless imitation of what it publishes is not the fault of the magazine?

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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Food Arts is cool because of the gossip section "Chef so and so has left establishment A and is going to be the new exec chef at Establishment B" etc. Our Steve Klc, Suvir Saran and Antoine Bourdain are featured contributors. It even has a monthly nearly nude chef centerfold feature courtesy of vitamix. The tableware section is kind of boring and advertorial but it is a fun glossy read with recipes, product articles, cocktail news and F and B articles.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Gastronomica is almost 100% academic -- and I love it for that: none of this "25 salsas to brighten your grilled Perdue chicken."  There is so much more thought that should go into food and its production, and G. deals with that.  BTW, members of IACP get it for free.

Food Arts and Chef are perhaps the best and least of "professional" rags.  FA is good for research, e.g., where was Jean-Georges Vongerichten's molten chocolate cake recipe first published?  plus of course Elizabeth Schneider's articles.  Chef occasionally has a good article on ingredients, and tells you what is considered "cutting edge" in the REAL America.

Fine Cooking is the "Joy of Cooking" of magazines: excellent basic information on categories of ingredients, home smallwares, kitchen design, etc.  For the semi-advanced home cook, and the professional who has no time to do research on oils, vinegars, olives, etc.

Cuisine at Home (formerly just Cuisine) is for total beginners.  Even Women's World has more interesting recipes.

Gourmet is food porn.  So is Saveur, but at least it's got some history and sociology.  To a lesser degree, so are Bon Appetit and Food & Wine.  Those 2 are on a par with that Martha lady: you too can cook gourmets ... I mean, be a gourmet cook.  

Personally, I think Australian Vogue Entertaining + Travel is one of the best.

Well, now that I've probably ticked off a lot of folks here, let me say HI, I'M NEW.  I'm a quasi refugee from another "almost but not quite totally unlike" board.

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Gastronomica is almost 100% academic -- and I love it for that: none of this "25 salsas to brighten your grilled Perdue chicken."  There is so much more thought that should go into food and its production, and G. deals with that.  BTW, members of IACP get it for free.

Does the IACP = Intl. Assoc. of Culinary Professionals?  If so, how does one join?

Food Arts and Chef are perhaps the best and least of "professional" rags.  FA is good for research, e.g., where was Jean-Georges Vongerichten's molten chocolate cake recipe first published?  plus of course Elizabeth Schneider's articles.  Chef occasionally has a good article on ingredients, and tells you what is considered "cutting edge" in the REAL America.

To this list I would add 'Culinary Trends and the ACF's 'National Culinary Review'.  Could you give an example of what Chef considers '"cutting edge" in the REAL America' ?

Fine Cooking is the "Joy of Cooking" of magazines: excellent basic information on categories of ingredients, home smallwares, kitchen design, etc.  For the semi-advanced home cook, and the professional who has no time to do research on oils, vinegars, olives, etc.

I used to hold 'Fine Cooking in the same regard as 'Cook's Illustrated'.  Have you seen the last issue?  The editorial staff sem to taken a knew path.  The magazine seem to have been dumbed down by about 50 culinary I.Q. points :sad:.  If this continues, I shall prolly cancel my subscription.

Gourmet is food porn.  So is Saveur, but at least it's got some history and sociology.  To a lesser degree, so are Bon Appetit and Food & Wine.  Those 2 are on a par with that Martha lady: you too can cook gourmets ... I mean, be a gourmet cook.  
 

I like Gourmet.  It isn't nearly as leaden since Ruth Reichel took over.  Lots of tested recipes and travel articles that provide a nice balance to the food and do not seem overwrought.  On the other hand I have had problems with Saveur since its first issue.  I do like the photography and I get suckered into the style of the magazine.  BUT...I find the writing just a bit too breezy.  Sometimes don't know if I'm reading 'Saveur' or 'People Magazine'  :smile: .  Like the chinese meal adage: "one hour after eating, I'm hungry again".

Kind of like looking for John LeCarre and getting Robert Ludlum. :wink:  I never find that 'Saveur' fully delivers on each issues promise.  Reminds of a Bob Guccione publication (along the lines of 'Omni' NOT 'Penthouse').

b]Well, now that I've probably ticked off a lot of folks here, let me say HI, I'M NEW.  I'm a quasi refugee from another "almost but not quite totally unlike" board.

From someone who has also recently arrived...Hello.  You'll like it here.  People are for the most part polite and knowledgeable.  Of course there's Tommy, but we pay him to be the house curmudgeon :raz:.  I saw nothing in your post that would tick anyone off.  Some of the people here have some serious chops.  So the only advice I would offer is to know what of you speak before you post.  You'll quickly be called on it.  There are some serious food people here and though I don't really know them well, my first impression is that fools are not suffered lightly.  Just sent to Coventry :biggrin:

Seriously though: Check out "A Consumate Passion" Thread in the 'General' topic area.  Read it from the beginning.  I feel it's worth the price of admission and will give you some insight into the level of  much of the discourse on this board and a good cross section of the egullet members. (My opinion only, YMMV)

Although if I'm wrong, they'll either have me singing soprano or I'll start making travel plans  :smile:

Nick

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Since the frame of reference has extended beyond periodicals devoted to cooking, let me cite an outstanding one which hasn't been mentioned.

Slow, the magazine of the Slow Food Movement. This is a quarterly devoted to the artisanal food of various countries. Sometimes there is a unifying theme; the latest is devoted to butchering. This includes separate articles on killing pigs, a sympathetic presentation of vegetarianism, humane methods of butchering, halal, growing up in an Italian butcher's shop, animal icons on tinned meats, are pigs unclean?, sausages, la sanguette (blood pudding), animal sacrifice, the art of carving, a history of knives, and finally, the preparation and consumption in Japan of the potentially fatal fugu, or puffer fish.

What all the articles in all the issues have in common is that they are never related in any way to the ads, or to any commercial interests whatsoever other than the cause of artisanal food production. Unlike most food-related publications, it can afford the luxury of habitual integrity.

This is their web site: http://www.slowfood.com/cgi-bin....ult.jsp

John Whiting, London

Whitings Writings

Top Google/MSN hit for Paris Bistros

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  • 2 weeks later...

:wink: Chile Pepper is an interesting magzine for those who enjoy heat and spice. Try the recipes that use the new Chipotle Tobasco.

By the way, if Gourmet is food porn, then the Wine Spectator is oenophile porn!

Remember, there are no bad food magazines, just magazines that are social misfits.

Rich Schulhoff

Opinions are like friends, everyone has some but what matters is how you respect them!

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Yes, IACP is International Association of Food Professionals. To join, call 800-928-4227

If you are a current or aspiring food professional-- chef, journalist, author, caterer, etc, this is an organization that can be invaluable to you.

They offer one annual meeting (in April) and then a slew of other regional events. The IACP is a great resource for finding and meeting other food professionals, whether for advice, career growth, ideas exchange, or-- human interaction with like minded professionals!

And no, I am not a paid spokesperson!!! But I have been involved in the organization on a volunteer basis over the years, and found it to be an invaluable part of the growth of my business.

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I certainly am biased into loving Food Arts, which I enjoyed way before I got onto the masthead.

I also enjoy reading Cooks Illustrated.  Which made it to the NY Times business section today.

As an insider at Food Arts and one that has written more than a handful articles for them in the last 2 years, I can vouch for their wanting complete testing of recipes, checking of facts and to include all they can on any topic they touch.

With Steve Klc's presence they have a great set of eyes and a sound mind sifting through their desks when the need be.

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Does Food Arts have a Web site?  Couldn't find anything on a Yahoo Search.

"Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut." -Ernest Hemingway

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No web site for Food Arts.  Of Shanken's publications, only Wine Spectator and Cigar Aficionado are online, I believe.

The magazine isn't easy to find on newsstands, but it's well worth the $40 annual subscription.

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Yes it is worth the subscription.

No website yet.  It is being worked on.

You can also find it at certian Barnes and Noble locations around the country.

Or you can call 212-684-4224 and ask for Food Arts and see where they may be selling them near you.

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:wink: Chile Pepper is an interesting magzine for those who enjoy heat and spice. Try the recipes that use the new Chipotle Tobasco.

By the way, if Gourmet is food porn, then the Wine Spectator is oenophile porn!

And Chile Pepper is Sadistic Food Porn?

=Mark

Give a man a fish, he eats for a Day.

Teach a man to fish, he eats for Life.

Teach a man to sell fish, he eats Steak

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