Food & Wine Deteriorates Into "Food TV Guide"
I'll try not to rant (per Chowhound policy), but I am really alarmed with what has been happening to Food & Wine magazine, a magazine that used to have a serious focus upon food and connoisseurship; a magazine in which the word "Wine," in the title, was not just an afterthought.
My main gripe is that Food & Wine appears to have drifted into the current inane obsession with "reality" TV shows, such as "Top Chef," and otherwise lost its meaning and focus. The latest issue, touting "secrets of the hottest TV chefs" on its cover, was the icing-on-the-cake and caused me to cancel my subscription. There is not a single article in that issue I care to read. Maybe its just me, but I just have no interest in what the latest winner of a reality TV food-fight thinks about food, or anything else. (And an Al Roker recipe on the cover? He's a TV Weatherman!).
What's weird is that Food & Wine jumped right from the top of serious food magazines to the very bottom -- passing all of the "food porn" magazines, on the way down, and going right for the mass Food Network audience. I am sure that Food & Wine's marketing experts tell them that this is the way to go, to "grab eyeballs" at the supermarket check-out. But in the process, I think they risk loosing their core audience.
In my cancellation letter, I suggested they change the name of the magazine to what it has become: "Food TV Guide." I hope I am wrong, and they regain their focus, but I'm afraid this "Paris Hilton-ization" of cuisine is here to stay and just getting stronger.
Thank you! Al Roker's three bean (all from a can) chili on the cover? (By the way, Al's 'secret' is to let the chili sit overnight so the flavors will blend. He also puts it on hot dogs!?!?) F&W has one or two good issues a year-the 'Hot Chef' (I think) issue had some great stories and recipes (Grant Achatz, etc.), but the 100 Best was lame. Their wine advice is usually a waste of time, and the features about teaching Peter Travers about wine were cringe-inducing. But the yearly subscription rate ($12) is cheaper than buying two or three off the newstand. Oh, and Al also recommends putting some grated cheddar or sour cream on top!
I never thought Food & Wine was among the top. I hear they have / had some good recipes, but it wasn't a very well-edited magazine. It was one of the first we dropped when we realized we were subscribing to more than we could get through.
I think being owned by a credit-card company rather than a publishing house has a distorting effect.