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New Editor in Chief at Saveur


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Looks like he and Ruth Reichl finally renewed their friendship.

Yes, and according to this interview with Book Page, it was quite a friendship. The interview quotes a portion from Reichl's Comfort Me with Apples where she discusses her affair at 31 with a man she reffers to as "the food editor." "What was it that I found so irresistible about this man? I replayed the night in my head -- the caviar, the oysters, the foie gras, the cigars. It had been like a wonderful dream, all my fantasies made real." Fantasies about "the man from another time, the bon vivant who had unabashedly devoted himself to food."

"As it happens, the lover was Coleman Andrews..."

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I've subscribed to Saveur since the very first issue. I think it's the best of all the food magazines because of its in-depth articles. I like to see the authentic recipes even if I must make some substitutions for unavailable ingredients. The source referrals are very helpful. I really hope Saveur retains it's in-depth focus. I have a three-year subscription, too.

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I've always really enjoyed Saveur, although I must admit that here in Thailand the magazine is very expensive, and most of my experiece has been in reading the excellent website. That being said, I've always felt that the magazine was far too Western/European leaning. In looking at Mr. Oseland's website it appears that his background is firmly rooted in SE Asian cooking. I'm hoping that as a result of this we can possibly expect to see more Asian, and hopefully even African and Middle-Eastern based articles. Any chance of this, Mr. Oseland?

Austin

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I did a very stupid thing with my Saveur last weekend: I took it as reading material on a backpacking trip. Do you know what kind of torture it is to see pictures of German potato pancakes and smoked tofu with bacon and to read about the cuisine of Indonesia while you are sentanced to eating dehydrated foods for 3 days? It's not good.

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Sure there are going to be initial bumps in the road such as the type glitch in the satay recipe (sorry James!), but let's see what happens in the future. What other magazine would offer an article like Fuschia Dunlop's current one on the wondrous world of Chinese tofu? I have written several pieces for Saveur over the years and have found that it's the only food publication that has continued to look outside the box in order to convey the relationship between people and their food. There's also little advertising, which makes perusing each issue an extra pleasure. In this day and age when print media is suffering, and readers seem to want less text and more big fantasy photos, it's important to continue supporting a publication like Saveur.

Well said.

Even though I find some repetitiveness in the seemingly obligatory Scottish/Irish/English article in every issue, there are more than enough different and unique articles to make up for it.

I certainly don't intend to change my subscription status any time soon!

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I hope Coleman does more than just write for Gourmet. It has been in need of help for some time. Although RR has always been a great writer, she doesn't seem to have the "vision" of a great editor (to use a sports analogy: great players don't necessarily make great managers).

As to Saveur, let's hope the "suits" at World Publishing give James some latitude and time to put his mark on the mag. It is still one of the better food mag. products out there.

ri

"the only thing we knew for sure about henry porter was that his name wasn't henry porter" : bob

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My Kiddla receives Saveur, Gourmet and Bon Appetit, and she enjoys Saveur and Gourmet. It's good to hear that Mr. Oseland doesn't intend to lighten the quality at Saveur. We hope that he WILL lighten the incidence of grammatical errors in the magazine!

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Saveur is the only magazine to which I subscribe, and I generally enjoy it. I have to admit that I really haven't seen any dramatic change in the magazine since 2000, but then it's been a while since I've perused those back-issues.

I think a lot of you have hit on what appeals to me about Saveur. It's aimed at people who take a more intellectual approach to gluttony, and the photographs aren't usually the kind of staged food-porn one finds more often in Gourmet. (Not that there's anything wrong with that...)

Good luck James.

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Hi, all. James Oseland here, Saveur's new editor-in-chief (and formerly the magazine's executive editor). I'm here to answer your questions (and, if need be, alleviate any concerns that you might have about its future).

...

Hope to hear from you all soon!

Congratulations on your new position and thank you for stopping by and filling us in on some additional details about the transition and future of Saveur.

As a long time subscriber with many issues of Saveur collected over the years I have a request and/or a suggestion.

Please consider having an electronic, searchable index listing *all* the recipes and major ingredients that have been published in the magazine on the website. Having the ability to search online for a recipe that I recall having seen in Saveur or to search if a recipe has been published in Saveur in the past would be extremely helpful. Of course only a subset of the recipes would be available online as is the case now, but it would make our subscriptions much more valuable to be able to access a complete index in order to make full use of our Saveur collections. Having all the recipes in a searchable index would be a great start although it would also be nice to have other feature articles/information indexed as well. If it is not possible to complete the current online index to make it comprehensive it would still be helpful going forward to have an end of year index in the December issue, for example.

Thank you for considering this!

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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Just to make sure that my request was clear--I'm not asking for all the recipes to be posted online but rather a listing/index of all the recipes in which the issue and page number for a given recipe is indicated. This would allow subscribers to track down recipes from their past Saveur issues. Some of the listings would presumably also include the recipe as there are a subset of the recipes available online now. It would be nice if the index of recipe listings was searchable by keyword, cusine or course as the full recipes are now.

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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Not so long ago, when my wife and I moved into our current abode, my lovely and wonderful wife forced me at knife point to go through my too many shelves of food magazines, clip what I wanted and despose of the rest. So I went out and got a mammoth binder and many plastic pocket insert thingies and began the daunting task of clipping all of the recipes that I wanted to keep and organizing them into a coherent "cookbook". It did not take long to discover that, surprisingly, most food magazines give no thought to the idea that someone might want to remove a recipe from the magazine and refer to it from another place. It was very common for recipes to be spread across multiple pages in various widths and lengths. Also very common was that there were recipes on both sides of a page, so that you had to decide which recipe you wanted to keep and which you wanted to mutilate. Additionally, recipes might be on both sides of the page, continuing for multiple pages in such a state that you might only be able to salvage one clipped recipe from the multitude because of placement.

Saveur was the standout for recipe collection. Only very rarely did a recipe span more than one page. If there were recipes on both sides of the page, then they were on different parts of the page so that you could cut out both recipes without damaging the other. I never came across an instance of having to sacrifice one recipe for another. This thoughtfulness really impressed me, and I never would have noticed if I hadn't been going through clipping them out of all of the magazines at once.

Anyway, that's one thing that I hope doesn't change with Saveur. My "cookbook" is mostly Saveur recipes because it was such a PITA to staple/clip/etc the recipes from the other food magazines.

M. Thomas

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Hi, again, all. It's great and comforting to read your posts; sorry I didn't get back sooner, but we've been engrossed in closing the October issue (Colman's last) over here at Saveur.

To respond, generally, though:

--As God is my witness, there are DEFINITELY no air-guitar-playing chef cover guys in Saveur's future.

--We're relaunching our website this fall with a much better recipe-search engine than the one currently available.

--Yes, there'll be lots of Africa, Asia, and Middle East coverage in future issues.

Anyway, I look forward to sharing the magazine with you--and chatting with you, too--in the months to come. Let me know what you think!

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Thank you for your reply and good wishes during transition time at Saveur. It will be exciting to see some of the new things planned at Saveur that you outlined above. I hope the improved search engine on the website includes a complete index listing of all the recipes.

That is great that there will be more coverage from Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Please also remember a sector we call "Elsewhere in Europe" on Egullet. It is comprised of countries other than Great Britain, Italy, France and Spain. These are of course great cuisines that have many fans among your readership, including myself, but I also value Saveur as one of the few places that covers other cuisines, including those from the other European countries.

I hope the small number of good stories from Scandinavian countries, Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Hungary, The Czech Republic, Slovenia and Slovakia, Russia, Poland and other eastern European countries don't decrease!

Good luck in achieving an interesting balance; I also enjoy the regional American articles very much as well as those from points north and south of the US. There is so much great food and many interesting cultures to cover...

Thank you for a great magazine.

Edited by ludja (log)

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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  • 4 months later...
Well, what are folks thinking about the latest issues?

So cryptic! I haven't received it yet, but I will be sure to look out for it. Is this the first edition entirely of his content?

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

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Well, what are folks thinking about the latest issues?

I'm a little peeved at 10 un-numbered pages of "Saveur Special Section" on specialty coffees. Reminds me of the endless NYT magazine "special" sections on various health problems with cures, or travel + real estate in Florida or someplace, complete with appropriate advertising.

I like the coffee timeline (I never knew a goatherd put 2&2 together while watching his goats get wired chewing coffee leaves and berries in 600AD), but I don't buy the rest. Had trouble reading it as a result - doesn't feel like it belongs there. I don't recall Saveur doing that before but I could be wrong.

Edited by johnnyd (log)

"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

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I have subscribed since I purchased the first issue on the newstand.

With anything, when the creative individuals who had a vision and worked hard, leave, the result is a decline, which is what I see in Savuer today. The last issue Jan/Feb 'The Saveur 100' was/is the last straw.

#4 "Peas, Please". Anyone with half a brain cannot reccamend canned peas. There is no comparison to fresh from the garden! It's like I'm back in the 1950's and Betty /Crocker is touting the virtues of all the prepared products.

#15 "Our Favorite Hack".What is this?

#20 "Star Anise". You'd think Saveur discovered the Holy Grail! Someone forgot to tell them that Star Anise has been used by cooks and chefs for a long time!

#31 "Most Comforting Color on the Plate". There is NO redeeming information here, only a picture and words designed to take up magazine space and decrease expenditures to find and understand real world foods.

#32 "Straight from the Pan." Huh?

I could go on and on but leave you with:

#8 "The Other Thing That Made Milwaukee Famous". Since I live near Milwaukee and like custard, I can unequivocally tell you that the writers of this little vingette, never ever made it to Milwaukee but are just parroting something they read. EVERYONE in Milwaukee knows Kopp's Custard is best!

I want my money back for the rest of my subscription! -Dick

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  • 3 months later...

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Online Editor, Saveur.com    04-13-2007, 01:12 PM

Our online edit staff is diligently reformatting and posting the complete archive of Saveur recipes for the new site; when we are finished we will create a full recipe index and post it online for all to enjoy. Please check back soon!

Sounds good; I'm looking forward to the complete index being made available.

It would certainly help me to maintain my subscription as the lack of an index (either online or printed yearly in the Jan or Dec issue) has been a major drawback for me with respect to this magazine.

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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While I agree with budrichard that several of the selections in the Saveur 100 are nauseating (which is nothing new), I don't agree that Saveur is going downhill. The past several issues have, in my opinion, been more readable and have had a higher percentage of interesting (to me) content than anything from last year.

I also wanted to mention, for anyone who missed it, that a few months back we featured James Oseland in an eG Radio foodcast. In that eG Radio foodcast, recorded on location at Saveur magazine headquarters in New York City, we spoke to James Oseland, then the new editor-in-chief of Saveur, and Pete Wells, then the new editor of the New York Times dining section. The discussion topic for that foodcast is here

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
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I'm somewhere in between Steven and Dick here.

I think that the last few issues haven't had the oomph of the previous decade: the current article by Barbara Kafka on "spring salads" isn't very compelling, and I was disappointed to see the obvious holiday covers in November (turkey) and December (cookies), something Saveur avoided pretty consistently for a while. In addition, Saveur seems to be implementing a lot of the ad and marketing strategies that clog the pages of Gourmet (gift guides -- blech) which drives me nuts, but, hey, whatever it takes to stay in business.

Saveur is still, consistently, the best place to find quality articles on non-western and regional American food. (Two recent examples: Grace Young on red cooking and Daphne Beal's letter-perfect piece on Milwaukee fish fries.) And, largely for that reason, boy oh boy am I looking forward to having that recipe index up and running.

Chris Amirault

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Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Hi, James!

I've recently renewed my subscription to Saveur (the digital edition, as the print one is too expensive for me and is bound to suffer the indignities of the Spanish post). Whereas I really enjoyed the article on the Basque country and felt it captured well both the atmosphere and the food of the area, I think most of your Spanish readers must have felt quite offended at one thing that appeared there. You mentioned ETA as a Basque separatist group that has "violent struggles" with the Spanish government. Excuse me, but they are a terrorist group, full stop. Last Christmas they put a bomb in Barajas airport that killed two innocent people, the last in a long list that spans 30 years.

Calling it only a "separatist group" feels like excusing them for all this (there are other perfectly legitimate separatists groups that are not violent), and naming its manners "violent struggles" with the Government borders on the intolerable.

Obviously, I enjoy the magazine far too much to cancel my subscription for this, as I've loved it for years and look forward to receiving every new issue. But let me just say that I was shocked by the expression, which none of the international news organizations or the UNO use anymore.

Anyway, good luck on your new job! We'll keep a close eye on you!

Mar

(Edited for typos)

Edited by Mar Calpena (log)

Middlebrow Catalan gastronomy??????

http://baixagastronomia.blogspot.com/

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I, too, recently re-subscribed after a lapse. While I echo some of Dick's complains about the recent top 100, I've felt that way about each of the top 100s, so I don't feel that it has gone down this year. I've never expected it to be the "100 best new things of the year," though, just "100 things we most want to talk about in our top 100 list this year." So I don't mind Star Anise or custard (though doesn't everyone know that Ted Drewes frozen custard of St. Louis is the standard by which all other frozen custard's should be judged?). I haven't noticed any decline, yet, but I think it's too early. I'll give it a year or two for new ideas and visions to trickle down and start having a real effect before judging whether the quality is going up or down.

M. Thomas

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