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favorite cooking magazine

  • k

Am writing this as I have just subscribed and am disappointed with Cook's Country, the offshoot of Cook's Illustrated. I have over the years subscribed to Gourmet (both pre-Reichl and Reichl), Cooking Light, Eating Well and Cook's Illustrated. Gourmet is fun for browsing and daydreaming but I never really wanted to COOK from it, Cooking Light had disappointing recipes and used too many packaged products, Eating Well had interesting articles, but I was not inspired to cook much from it, blah blah blah. So what's everyone's favorite magazine to COOK from?

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  1. I used to love Bon Appetit, but I have had so much trouble with my subscription that it has ruined it for me. It's a constant battle just to get my magazine, emailing and calling every month just to badger them into sending it. Grrr.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Cyndy

      I subscribe to Cook's Illustrated and Cook's Country. CI is well written and interesting, though I don't think I've cooked much from it. Their product comparisons are useful, I think. I don't like the big format of CC, but it's very entertaining and the recipes I've tried have been very good to excellent.

      I get so much food info and so many receipes from the Internet that I don't have a desire to subscribe to more food-related magazines.

    2. What timing!
      I was just reviewing what subscriptions I wanted to renew this year.
      How about my top three?:
      1) Bon Appetit -- Sorry for your mailing issues, Cyndy! No problems here in Northern CA. Lots of variety and I *love* the gadgets column.
      2) Art Culinaire -- love the pictures, the ideas and find I refer regularly to even old versions. (link below)
      3) Cook's Illustrated -- I love the combination of science and cooking, even more so as I don't always agree with their results so it reinforces my own opinions.

      Link: http://www.getartc.com/

      1. I have recently suscribed to a magazine called "Cuisine At Home" and I am very pleased with it. Their recipes are great and they illustrate the steps of preparation. The dishes are not complicated and are very appealing (to me anyway). Some of the recipes are Hot Wings Wraps, Crab Rangoon with Pineapple-Chile Dipping sauce, Slow Roasted Chipotle Salmon with Pineapple Cilantro Rice. Their website is www.CuisineAtHome.com. Their toll free number is (800)311-3996. I don't remember the cost but I'm sure it wasn't much.

        1. I've stopped subscribing to anything but Saveur. I'm not that much of a recipe-follower - what I want is good tips and inspiration, and Saveur is teeming with both of those things. That said, my stack of back issues is constantly being dug into for those Tuscan beans, that fried chicken, the Cuban and Salvadorean stuff...

          5 Replies
          1. re: Will Owen

            Yup, I'd have to go with Saveur too. Hands down my favorite...

            1. re: skewterchef

              For those looking for a cheap subscription to Saveur ---

              bestdealsmagazine.com has a 1 year sub for $4.69 (plus google coupons on the web and you can get another 15% off)

              Compare to magazines.com at $19.95

              No, I am not a shill, but it's nice to save a few bucks, especially on magazines. I've used this site in the past, so it's reputable enough. The only downside is that it takes a while (about 6 weeks) for the sub to kick in.

              FYI: I've gotten Gourmet here in the past for about 6 bucks, but it wasn't offered the last time I checked.

              1. re: Pupster

                Pupster, the fine print for the $4.69 Saveur subscription on bestdealsmagazine.com says you'll receive promotional mail from the sponsor who subsidises the cost of the subscription - will I be inundated with junk mail if I sign up for this offer ?

                1. re: ju

                  I don't think so. I don't remember any increase in junk mail. I don't get very much in general, so I think I would notice.

                  1. re: ju

                    If you are worried about junk mail, note that Saveur themselves are offering a year's subscription for $11.97. It may be just an offer for continung subscribers, but I bet if you called them they would extend it to you as well. That being said, they have sent me several notices of this offer - some might consider that annoying junk mail in itself!

            2. Fine Cooking, Fine Cooking, Fine Cooking! It's got the technical approach of Cook's Illustrated without the preachy pedantry, and their recipes are broader ranging and less fussy, to boot. Good wine reccomendations, always a feature on cooking technique, and enjoyable writing.

              I also love to read and occasionally cook from Saveur, which I think of as the National Geographic of cooking. I don't always find something I want to cook every month, but I save every issue, and some recipes have become permanent members of the recipe rotation.

              Finally, even though I hate all the advertising and the nouveau riche travel focus of many of Food and Wine's issues, I still like many of their recipes, as the cooking is straightforward and not too complicated, but always full of bright flavor and current food ideas and trends.

              1 Reply
              1. re: emdb

                I agree with the above.

                I get Cook's Illustrated, and Fine Cooking, and must say that Fine Cooking is a better all-around magazine. Highly recommended.

                Saveur is a good read.

              2. I recommend Fine Cooking, Cuisine at Home, Cook's Illustrated and ,if you're a baker, King Arthur Flour's The Baking Sheet.

                1. f

                  I subscribe or have subscribed to Cooks Illustrated, Bon Appetit, Fine Cooking, Eating Well, Food and Wine, Gourmet . . . I think that's it. I also buy most of the Saveur issues off the news stand and impulsively buy miscellaneous other magazines from time to time.

                  For pure cooking usefulness, I think Fine Cooking has the best coverage. Cooks Illustrated can be a bit too unauthentic with ethnic cooking -- for some reason they seem to be afraid of spicy food, which bugs me (this lack of authenticity has also stricken Eating Well, which is why I stopped subscribing to it), but I do like the approach of Cooks Illustrated. However, Fine Cooking's approach is just as useful to me as Cooks Illustrated, and it has nice photography, few ads, easy to follow techniques and good tips. It's a little too basic in its wine coverage, but I can and do get that elsewhere. I also love to read Saveur, not to get recipes from, but just because it's so darn interesting to read.

                  If you like the health articles in Eating Well but don't cook from it, do what I did and cancel your subscription and get a subscription to a Wellness Letter from a good research university.

                  1. "Everyday Food" love this one, a little of everything; dinner, desserts, wine. There is also a tv show on pbs. From time to time I will pick up "Taste Of Home"

                    1. And don't forget the Thorne's "Simple Cooking", a concise but ad-free bimonthly newsletter that is a touchstone that often is way ahead of the rest of the pack of publications.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Karl S.

                        Karl--Does Simple Cooking have recipes? I had always had the impression it was more of food writing. Smokey

                        1. re: Smokey

                          Yes it has recipes. But not tons. But what it has, is good.

                      2. I subscribe to Cook's Illustrated and Cuisine at home. I was not impressed by the premier issue of Cook's Country.

                        Screw Gourmet and Bon Appetit with their smelly perfume ads and page flipping to find anything of value to read or use. My motto is "Cook like a peasant...Dine like a gourmet."

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: ChiliDude

                          I love Fine Cooking, Cuisine at Home, Cooks Illustrated! I really, really like Cooks Country. The Seafoam Candy in the premier is outstanding! The winning potato recipe was great. The rest of the recipes I've tried have been very good as well. In the second issue the slow cooker pulled pork is perfectly balanced. If you haven't tried it you are missing out. You should give it a chance and try the recipes.
                          I like recipes that are authentic, timeconsuming, and educational as much as the next guy, but there is still room in my life for recipes that just plain taste great. More frequently unfortunately I just want really good food on the table when my family is ready to eat every night. Anyway my 2 cents.

                          1. re: Becca Porter

                            ...talking about pulled pork, here's how we make it without outdoor cooking gear. We put a picnic shoulder in an old-fashioned oval enamel roasting pan on a rack after washing the picnic (we don't have a slow cooker), cover the pan, place it in the oven preheated to 275 at 11:00 o'clock at night, let roast until 7:00 a.m., take it out and let it cool enough to pull, divide the pulled pork into 2 serving amounts, wrap in saran and freezer bags, and put into the freezer until needed. We make our own thin BBQ sauce in which to bathe the pork. Serve as sandwiches on crusty round rolls.

                            The reason for cooking overnight is because our old original equipment oven timing mechanisms failed before we owned the house. We would not leave an oven on when we were not at home. Old habits die slow, even with a recently updated kitchen with 2 full-sized ovens.

                            This method I learned long before Cook's Country was born. I don't need recipes, I need techniques. I have over 100 cookbooks (my wife considers me crazy), but we've been together for 45+years.

                            1. re: ChiliDude

                              Generally I get my technique from good recipes. And then expand and adjust to suit my taste. What do you mean by "I need technique"?

                        2. I subscribe to Cook's Illustrated and Eating Well. My enthusiasm for CI has waned considerably. I'm never excited about any recipes. I think b/c they've been recycling a lot recently.

                          And until I got this most recent issue of Eating Well I would have said, I've been excited to make at least 3 things in every issue and they've been good so far. However this issue with the pre-cooked shrimp really disappointed me. It seems like a sacrifice of quality over convenience. I'll probably wait one more issue before I get too depressed about this.

                          I've also subscribed to Saveur and the Wellness Newletter. Saveur is beautiful to pick up every once in a while but I've made a total of 2 recipes and 3 years and while they're good, not really worth a subscription.

                          The Wellness Newsletter was a gift. I'm just not that fastidious about being worried about every single bite I eat so I declined to have that renewed.

                          Really I find I'm better off picking up good cookbooks on sale occasionally and getting stuff from the internet. Currently I've been making tons of things from How to Cook Everything that have all turned out wonderfully. Soon I'll start on the most recent Marcella Hazan cookbook.

                          1. i've posted before on the topic of cook's country, but it might be worth doing again. i really feel like most folks who don't like it might be judging a book by its cover. i was very turned off by the presentation of the premier issue, but cooked from it because i have always loved cook's illustrated so much. i was really surprised and really enjoyed most all the recipes i have tried from the 2 issues so far, as old fashioned as some of the recipes seem. so, i'm a fan now and can't wait for the new issue. most folks i've found who don't care for cook's country have not actually tried the recipes. just my experience.

                            other than that, love cook's illustrated and fine cooking. their recipes almost always work for me and they're far more practical in my opinion than any other food mags. i read gourmet, food & wine, and saveur but don't cook from them as much as just read them for the culture and up-to-date food news they provide.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: theconiglio

                              I completly agree!

                              1. re: theconiglio

                                I did post a query several days ago asking for recommended recipes from either the charter issue or the April/May issue and got few responses. I'm interested in what you've tried!

                              2. m
                                Miss Tenacity

                                Even if I get frustrated with the uninspired writing and the overuse of smelly ads and blow-ins.....

                                Food & Wine has NEVER let me down when it comes to actually cooking from their recipes. Everything I have made from that publication has turned out fantastic.

                                Saveur.... eye candy. I currently subscribe but that will probably only last the year.
                                Cook's Illustrated.... brain candy. I'd rather read Harold McGee anytime.
                                Eating Well..... not bad, not great. I acquired the 4 four years of issues (87-91 or so...?) and have found nice recipes in there but haven't cooked enough from it to give a recommendation.
                                Veggie Life.... just bought this off the newsstand this spring for the spring rolls extravaganza. Very nice recipes - I might look up this one again when the next issue is out.


                                1. I buy a huge number of cooking magazines every month but I only really like Fine Cooking and Savuer. Food & Wine has also really impressed me lately.

                                  I also read MS Living, CI, and Gourmet but each usually has some irritant that prevents me from praising it.

                                  1. I love Cooks Illustrated. Well, OK, I also hate it... which is to say it is the magazine I have the highest expectations of, so occassionally I am let down. It is the only magazine I actually keep on hand so that I can easily flip back through the years. So if I'm honest I cook from it all the time. The used to have the best cook book reviews ever. I still mourn their loss.

                                    For glossies, I almost always buy Gourmet, and sometime cook from it - its really the food articles I like there. I am a bit nauseated by their new lifestyle focuss, so we'll have to see what happens.

                                    I sometimes get Bon Appetit, but quite often I can scour an entire issue and not find a single recipe I want to cook. Seeing as they don't have much writing, there is little reason to buy it.

                                    I came across an Australian "delicious" and really liked its in-your-face glossiness and the recipes seemed really different and fresh. Alas, it is hideously expensive (at least here in Canada). if anyone knows how to get a cheap subscription, I'm all ears.

                                    Reading the other responses, I think I'll give Food&Wine a try. I never found much in Fine Cooking - just a little too plain jane - but I know other people like it, so I'll keep an eye on it.

                                    Any advice on foreign mags?

                                    1. When I first started seriously cooking about 10 yrs. ago, I relied on magazines for inspiration and basic culinary education. At that time, Bon Appetit was the most accessible to me and I loved Saveur (and still do) for their international coverage and their journalistic approach. Also got Gourmet and Food & Wine along the way.

                                      Forward 10 yrs. to now, and I DO NOT subscribe to one food mag. With the wealth of free and updated info and recipes on the Internet, FoodTV and PBS programs, and access to great cookbooks at my public library, I don't miss subscribing to these mags at all. Have been getting MS Living, but am not going to renew when my subscription lapses.

                                      I find that most mags have TONS of ads and very little useful content. Cook's doesn't have ads but their mag is so dry and uninspiring to me. I mean I enjoy looking at mags, but don't refer back to them like other resources. I'd rather just scan the mag racks at Borders/B&N each month and purchase an issue that really strikes my fancy. Less clutter and less to throw out too...

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: Carb Lover

                                        I'm with you. I've subscribed in the past to Gourmet, Bon Appetit, Cooks Illustrated, Fine Cooking, Saveur, Pastry Arts and Design (or whatever that was called) and Chocolatier. Now I don't get any. I get Martha Stewart for decor, antiques, and gardening, but I don't remember ever cooking from her. I have a few old Cooks that I hold onto because there are recipes I use, but generally mags don't fit well with how I cook, I can't do the sort of focussed search I can with cookbooks. And I hate "stories" about how such and such a very wealthy family always celebrates whatever the month's holiday is at their vacation home somewhere insanely expensive by cooking a lovely meal and blahblahblah. I also don't care much about pictures. I get far more inspired to cook from one of John Thorne's essays than from a whole magazine's worth of pictures. (My guy doesn't get this - he cooks his way through cookbooks starting with the recipes that are pictured and can't imagine buying a cookbook without pictures.) Anyway, as a result, if I were to get a food magazine, Fine Cooking or Cooks would be my choice, because they are more centered on actual cooking, rather than lifestyle articles. But overall I would rather spend my money on more cookbooks.

                                      2. My favorites are Bon Appetit, Cuisine and Fine Cooking. Two of my least favorites are Food and Wine and Gourmet.

                                        1. p
                                          peppermint pate

                                          I really love the Donna Hay magazine. Alas, it's only issued quarterly but the format and recipes are great.

                                          1. j
                                            Joan Kureczka

                                            Saveur is definitely my favorite, but pricy. I'll subscribe to Gourmet when I get the $12/yr or less offers, so currently have it. I tend to like some of the more journalistic pieces but can't remember the last time I used it for recipes.

                                            In the '80's Bon Appetit was the best -- but by 1990 they had dumbed it down and now I'm not interested. I still have a few of those old issues though, and lots of clipped recipes.