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Nov 22, 2006 02:20 PM

Best food mag- Gourmet? Bon Appetit? Eating Well?

I'm not interested in diet foods, low fat foods, fake foods, just GOOD foods. I don't mind the occasional complicated recipe, but don't have half a day to cook very often. Which of these (or some other) mag is the best? I also like interesting articles, wine info stuff like that. Thanks.

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  1. I have subscribed to Bon Appetit, Gourmet, Cook's Illustrated, Saveur, Food and Wine and Fine Cooking, and in my opinion, Fine Cooking wins hands-down for me. It not only has good recipes that are usually reliable and reasonably simple, but it also will highlight an ingredient (like brussels sprouts) and just throw out a bunch of ideas for preparation. Since I don't always follow recipes to the letter, that's the kind of cooking instruction I really enjoy. They also highlight artisan foods and have a pretty decent web site. My only complaint about their web site is that it doesn't house all their recipes (like Bon Appetit) - it just will refer you to the issue of the magazine, which means you have to save the mags or purchase a back-issue.

    6 Replies
    1. re: Andiereid

      Thank you, Andie! I will check that one out, because I did not like Cook's Illustrated and Saveur was a little thin.

      And I'm sorry I missed the Brussels sprouts issue- one of my favorite veggies!

      1. re: uttanasana

        I hated Cook's Illustrated. What a yawn. I got so tired of reading about their exhaustive testing. I was glad they did it, but didn't really want to read a blow-by-blow. That said, I did glean some good repeat recipes from there, but I got to where I just quit reading it when it came in, so I didn't re-up my subscription.

        1. re: Andiereid

          I have my issues with Cook's Illustrated. The "hot tips"/"great ideas" sent in by readers are often unintentionally funny/obvious. Kimball's editorials are practically unreadable. However, the recipe testing is endlessly fascinating to me. I love knowing why processes do and don't work.

      2. re: Andiereid

        Yep, hands down, Fine Cooking is the best!

        1. re: Katie Nell

          Third vote for Fine Cooking. I've also subscribed to them all. I think Gourmet and Bon Appetit are a lot of fluff, plus you can get all their recipes on

          1. re: JoLi

            In fact, at least for BA (I don't subscribe to Gourmet so I don't know), not all the recipes are on Epicurious, even for recent years. It's made me very glad I subscribe, just because I have a few very wonderful recipes are not on the site.

      3. I absolutly love Food & Wine Magazine. They consistently have good articles and cutting edge recipes and ideas. A long time favorite is Gourmet; the sheer volume of recipes and a theme based premis makes it easy to plan a dinner party. And the recipes ALWAYS work.

        1 Reply
        1. re: tarconi

          I'm glad to hear that. I just recently started subscribing to Food and Wine, and haven't done much out of it yet. I always find myself wishing they had more pictures of the food. That's one of the things that really inspires me to try something a lot of times - a mouthwatering photo. I have been pretty pleased with the articles, though.

        2. I'm obviously in a minority but I think Gourmet is really good. I've been a subscriber for years and I think it took a quantum leap forward when Ruth Reichl took over.

          I'm intrigued by all the votes for Fine Cooking. I'll be checking it out.

          - Sean

          3 Replies
          1. re: Sean Dell

            I used to subscribe to Gourmet, and I think it went totally downhill after Ruth took the helm. For those who like to cook, Fine Cooking is definitely the best out there right now - lots of advice on technique, interesting recipes, and great reviews of kitchen technology. Bon Appetit is also fun, but with half the educational value of Fine Cooking.

            1. re: KevinB

              I'm a longtime subscriber to BA, and I don't plan to cancel my subscription. BA isn't something I look at for articles (what there is I often skip), reviews, technique, or anything cutting-edge, but it's recipe-heavy and over the dozen or so years I've subscribed I've found enough excellent recipes, and saved enough that look good enough that I want to try, that I think it's eminenently worth it, especially considering it's a cheap subscription. Yes, they repeat themseleves...I was surprised to see the cover picture of their recent restaurant issue was of a flourless chocolate cake. How many FCK recipes have they published over the past decade? But people were raving about it on the HC board.

              Over the years, many people on CH have bashed BA for dumbed-down recipes or using too many prepared food products, and there is some of that, but it's the minority. And yet people consistently provide links to recipes from Epicurious that they adore which are from BA. I find Epicurious a great help if I'm looking for a certain type of recipe, but I like having something in my hand to flip through (I don't save the magazines, I clip the recipes I want).

              I got Food & Wine for a couple of years, but thought it was just too expensive; now I'm getting it again because I got a year for $12 instead of $36. It has some interesting articles about food and wine (I skip the long intros about the family meals on the estate in Italy, etc.) and good recipes.

              Saveur, to me, is not so much a cooking magazine, but a great read about food and culture. It's extremely interesting, but not the subscription to get if you want something you can open up and cook from every month, both because it doesn't have a lot of recipes compared to many of the others discussed, and because what it has is related to the stories it features that issue - which aren't necessarily seasonal, and may not inspire you to cook at that moment.

              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                Bingo. I couldn't have said it better myself.

          2. By far, my favourite food mag is delicious. -- it's an Australian magazine with fantastic recipes and food photography. Several FoodTV bigwigs (Nigella Lawson, Jamie Oliver, etc.) are contributing writers.


            1. I have never checked out Fine Cooking, but I love Saveur. I must admit that I do not cook from Saveur very much but I love the obscure and interesting facts and articles. I cook from Gourmet occasionally, but have found that the bulk is a result of advertising not more editorial content. Has anyone else ever noticed that the same topics come out in more then one mag around the sametime (and I am not just talking about current trends and the like. I am talking about featuring the same person or city)?

              2 Replies
              1. re: sweetie

                Yes, I have noticed that. Maybe they all travel together.

                I like to look at Saveur, but I rarely find anything in there I want to cook. It seems to me as though their recipes are a little too complicated and often have ingredients I can't get. I remember an issue not too long ago with several recipes for thistles. They didn't look good anyway, but no way can I get thistles here.

                I really did used to love Bon Appetit, but yes, like Gourmet, it's chock full of ads now, and one of the things that has always bugged me about it is their party articles. They're always about people with weekend homes in the cape or huge estates, etc. - I'd like just once for them to do a party of real people with a moderate income instead of it always seeming like Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. Some of us have tiny houses and still manage to entertain a lot and pull it off OK.

                1. re: Andiereid

                  I also seldom find something I want to cook in Saveur, at least just then...but that's the only cooking mag I've ever gotten that I'm glad I save for the occasional recipe I DO want to cook, because those are always the best ones. Tuscan beans, Indiana persimmon pudding, Coleman Andrews's fried chicken, fried plantains in all their various glory...

                  I don't really get magazines for recipes, but to get me thinking about food, learning about different cuisines, exploring the culinary/gastronomical world. That's why Saveur is now the only food magazine I subscribe to.