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Food Magazines

I'm wondering if it's worth subscribing to a food magazine and if it is which ones would be the best. With all the blogs, websites and other media covering food it seems redundant to start a magazine subscription on top of all that other stuff. However, I'm sure there can be interesting articles and tips in this form of information that could be of benefit. I'm really looking for recipes and information that I can actually use vs. something that just looks good on the coffee table. Any suggestions?

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    1. After subscribing to all of them over the years, the only one I can stick with is Food Arts, it's for grown-ups, not little suzy homemaker. Art Culinaire is by far the best but it's $75/yr and hardbound!

      8 Replies
      1. re: tudor3522

        If you're looking for insight on nutrition along with your recipes, I heartily recommend Eating Well. The focus is on real food and real flavors rather than lots of substitute ingredients. Almost every recipe I've tried from Eating Well has ended up becoming part of my standard repertoire.

        1. re: JRBlack

          At one point in time I subscribed to seven food magazines. Now that I am past that crazy period, I keep only three of them; Saveur, Food and Wine and Eating Well, and I think I am pretty close to canceling F&W.

          Eating Well is by far the most comprehensive and varied food magazine out there (this is JMHO so don't jump down my throat). It really has it's finger on the pulse of healthy eating. It never uses the word 'diet' and it advocates so much variety. The recipes are top notch, the articles well researched and complete and the photos striking.

          I love Saveur for the stories, period. I have never mad one recipe from it, but the stories simply take me away.

          1. re: cooknKate

            cooknKate (or anyone)--how in your opinion does Eating Well compare to Cooking Light? I'm curious what the relative strengths of E.W. are... I've never seen E.W. on the newstand anywhere. Is it subscription only or am I just not looking in the right places?


            1. re: The Dairy Queen

              I'm not cooknKate, but I am anyone! I've subscribed to both Cooking Light and Eating Well. I think the EW recipes are more sophisticated and the photography is much more beautiful. EW also has more interesting articles (yea, it's like Playboy/girl--I read it for for articles :-) Peter Jarrett, a contributing writer to Eating Well, has won awards I believe. On the other hand, CL has a lot of stuff on exercising, which may be of interest to you. I would rather have a magazine that focuses solely on cooking and nutrition, but my sister prefers CL because of the exercise/fitness component.

              I do find both CL and EW in most newstands--supermarket, Borders, Barnes and Noble. It's NOT subscription only.

              1. re: nofunlatte

                I must not be looking in the right newstands for EW, I will look more carefully next time!

                I don't mind the occasional topic about exercise and "healthy lifestyle", I suppose, but I do already subscribe to a woman's fitness magazine that probably covers that already.


              2. re: The Dairy Queen

                I subscribed to CL once and hated it. In one issue I had to page through over 100 pages before finding one recipe!

                EW focuses on healthy cooking, healthy living and healthy lifestyles. I thought CL was fluff and hot air.

                1. re: cooknKate

                  HA! I, too, have noticed that they put the recipes way in the back. Weird, no, in a magazine about cooking? It sounds like I really need to check EW out--I hadn't heard of it until I read about it on CH a couple of months ago.


          2. re: tudor3522

            What do you think about gastronomica?

          3. I would highly recommend Gourmet as not only does it have great recipes but also wonderful stories that you can really sink your teeth into. I look forward to receiving it every month for the wonderful writing and typically try out one to three recipes from each issue. The recipes tend to be more involved, but well worth it. The recipes are always unique and interesting. I get really tired of many other magazines with recipes I can find right in my cook books here at home. I have been collecting Gourmet for about 7 years. When thanksgiving comes around I just love to sit down and create my menu from years and years worth of November issues. It also includes a well put together glossary of recipes in the back. If I were to be stranded on an island with one magazine to choose from it would be gourmet. Unlike other “flip through” magazines, I typically spend about 2.5-3 hours per month reading an issue of gourmet, while others can be breezed through in a half hour.c

            My other fav would be cooking light. It is a woman-centric mag, so it may or may not appeal to you. But if it is recipes for the home cook that you are looking for then it is a good publication. It typically is about 1/2 other content though, so if it is cooking info that you are looking for i would not recommend it.

            My other fav would be Saveur. They have the best photography and really great stories. A bit weak on the recipe content.

            Personally I really dont like cooks illustrated, I would not recommend it. They have lots of unique tips and tidbits. However, it is sort of the NPR version of food mags, sort of bland and dry. Good coffee table mag... with one or two good tips per issue

            Another fabulous mag if you want something that pertains to you and your region is a new series of franchised magazines called Edible communications. Most major cities now have one (see Edible communications.com) they have local publishers and focus on your local community. All of the issues i have seen thus far are exceptional. They have wonderful recipes and commentary that is close to home. It is quarterly. If your area dosent have one, you could always take up new employment as publisher of one for your area.

            4 Replies
            1. re: culinaryculture

              Thanks for the tips, I am went on a magazine buying spree and am in the process of reading them now. I'll let you know how it turned out.

              1. re: picapau

                Cool... I am looking forward to your comments

              2. re: culinaryculture

                Saveur is total food porn. The stories in that magazine are unlike any other and for an armchair traveler like me, it's a great option.

                1. re: cooknKate

                  Saveur needs better blooper-preventing fact-check editing. In the current issue, they refer to hops as "a grain". And there's reference being made to making butter by churning milk.

              3. Any comments on Saveur? A friend was telling me the other day that a client of his, once a professional chef, says it's the only cooking magazine worth it's cover price. I've been meaning to take a look, but haven't gotten around to it yet.

                2 Replies
                1. re: JoanN

                  As I said to some degree... I like the photography it is by fart the bast, but the recipes are few and far between-- for good and unique ones and I - personally dont find the articles very interesting or well written. I would go for Gourmet over Saveur any day when looking for good food porn. They are basically the same magazine. Gourmet is just better.

                  1. re: culinaryculture

                    Sorry CC. Thought I'd read your post but obviously wasn't sufficiently attentive. Thanks for repeating. Since it would be recipe content I'd be looking for, I'll probably pass after checking it out.

                2. It really depends on what you are looking for with recipes - do you just want more variety, or do you want deeper technique, or explanations of things you've never encountered but could do with ingredients reasonably available to you? It seems you aren't interested in cooking-mag-as-lifestyle (which, unfortunately, is what a lot of cooking magazines fall into these days).

                  Understand that Gourmet and Bon Appetit have a definite formula over the course of each year - it's rather dependable. Also know each has a cookbook issued in recent years. I think the Gourmet cookbook is the better of the two (I have both) and is worth having. And then skip those mags - or read them in your public library. (Frankly, I think a couple of solid technique-oriented cookbooks are far more valuable than any cooking magazine.) As a mag, Fine Cooking is better than those in terms of recipes, but is light on interesting articles.

                  Saveur sometimes has interesting articles, and occasionally a really good recipe. But it's really "experience" oriented rather than recipe oriented.

                  Cooks Illustrated is recipe oriented. It is at the point where it is re-investigating many of its original findings, and sometimes lately turning things on their head, for usually well though-out reasons. I am find this interesting - it was getting a bit tired (but very useful for people who want to grow their own intuitions based on experiential evidence).

                  Now, all that said, I must plug Simple Cooking - a no-frills newsletter published erratically a few times a year by John & Matt Thorne. Why? Because it's basically the most consistently good food writing in the US for the past many years. The kind of stuff that will go in food writing collections decades from now. The kind of stuff that is what gives ideas to the magazine editors, writers and restaurant chefs. None of it is obviously innovative (the Thornes are not about innovation) - it's just thought through, and very well. Which is what you don't normally find in US food writing this days. Despite the erratic nature of the publication schedule, it's always worth reading. PS - get Serious Pig, Pot on The Fire, Outlaw Cook and the other Thorne books....

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Karl S

                    also Gourmet and Bon App make it easy to look at recipes grouped together by the issue they were in. this feature is on the home page.


                  2. I prefer to browse and buy whatever magazine catches my fancy in any particular month - since both a Barnes & Noble and a Borders bookstore are nearby along with a couple independent newsstands this is never a problem. And I have a pet parrot who loves tearing up the zines (minus any staples!) after I'm done perusing them so guilt over the cost is never an issue!

                      1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                        i would say all of the above and more. each and every magazine out there have pros and cons
                        oh food and wine is another good one
                        no bashing please but rachel rays mag while not as good as some but better than others it ain't that bad

                        maybe as each of us presents our nominations we should also present the pro/con of our choices to allow Picapau more understanding of our choices

                        1. re: foodperv

                          The Art of Eating is the serious non gloosy picture magazine. Unfortunately it's quarterly and by subscription only.

                        2. re: Sam Fujisaka

                          After subscribing to many of the aforementioned, I agree w/ Sam; Taunton Presses Fine Cooking.

                        3. I have to disagree with those who recommend F&W. I find I spend most of my time trying to find something substantial to read amongst all the ads.

                          I've been a subscriber to Cuisine at Home (formerly just Cuisine) since it's inception. Every single recipe I've ever made has been wonderful, and I've made a lot. They have great tips as well, recommending short cuts where it doesn't hurt the final outcome but insist on taking the time to do things correctly when it matters.

                          I also enjoy Cook's Illustrated, mostly for the science behind how they figure out what works and what doesn't.

                          And for the best food writing, in my opinion, Gastronomica cannot be beat. For a journal it's reasonably priced as well. When my new edition arrives I literally curl up and read for hours.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: dagwood

                            I recently purchased my first copy of gastronomica. I really like the idea of it, but for $12.00 I really expected better writing. Some of the writing is good, and all of the stories are interesting topics, but there seems to be a lack of editing quality, like stuff written by undergrads the night before the essay is due. Also, I was a little bummed that the layout and photography wasn't very aesthetically pleasing, but I didn't buy it for that reason.

                          2. Becasue the 'Net offers a treasure trove of food related/recipes sites, blogs and vlogs, I agree its getting harder to justify paper versions...when I could be saving trees! But I continue to enjoy and keep Eating Well & Imbibe (a beverage mag that I had heard about on CH) most.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: HillJ

                              i can still justify the paper versions for several reasons
                              1 the paper versions are bigger (many times)
                              2 they are different (many times )
                              3 you can carry it with you to work to read on your break (not all of us have the Luxury of internet access at work)
                              4 not to be rude on this one but some people like to read in the toilet (not me i like in and out qiuck but to each their own)
                              5 and here is a strange one
                              you all know how everyone(not everyone but....) is going old fashioned,or organic, or from scratch, etc. , well the i think the printed version fits into that sort of genre
                              i know it be a little odd but do any of you feel either the same or if you don't feel it do you at least understand where i am coming from

                              1. re: foodperv

                                foodperv, I'm not sure I understand your explanation (pls clarify) #5.
                                Unlike my love of magazines, I have come to prefer printing out recipes from the Net rather than owning an entire cookbook. I have yet to own (and I have a fairly large cookbook library) a copy I used cover to cover but a magazine, I can easily try every recipe in an issue over the course of 6-12 months.

                                1. re: HillJ

                                  see if i can clarify for you HILLJ
                                  well i think it's more of a feel for having a real mag. or book in your hand kinda thing if that makes more sense

                            2. I've subscribed to so many magazines over the years,it's hard to say which ones I like best.
                              Cooks Illustrated and Cuisine at Home are great for recipes and tips. They re-evaluate recipes and try to make them better. Also, they review different foods and cook wares. After about 5 years, I've given up on them. They really are great magazines, but I feel like I've gotten all I can out of them. Right now, I have Gourmet, Bon Appetite, and Saveur. There is also Taste of Home, but it's more of a home-cooks magazine-more of the heartland type food. I cut out the recipes I like from all my magazine and save them in a folder. Saves room and keeps me orgainized.

                              1. I stopped buying Cook's Illustrated even though I really like the magazine and their approach to preparing food. Now I purchase the annual compilation that is published in hardcover.
                                I have a subscription to Cuisine at Home, but it hasn't been delivered to my PO box in Mexico since October. I hope that whoever is getting it enjoys the recipes. CaH just keeps extending the last issue date for the subscription.
                                I used to subscribe to BA, Saveur and Gourmet but I was only making 1 recipe out of each magazine per month, on average.

                                1. Like others have said, it really depends on what you're looking for. Of the mainstream mags I prefer Gourmet to Bon Appetit primarily because it has more interesting articles. However, if you're just into cooking new recipes you might prefer BA. Saveur has interesting recipes but it's really more about the culture around cooking around the world. Cook's Illustrated I used to enjoy, but has a very mainstream feel. Their "ethnic" recipes are appalling at times, for instance. Gastronomica I like sometimes, depending on if I'm interested in the subjects, but of course there are no recipes.

                                  1. My three faves:

                                    Gourmet- out of all the mags i get, the find myself making the recipes from this one the most.

                                    Saveur- for the stories and photos.

                                    Cooks Illustrated- b/c they give the science and reasoning behind why the recipes work- and i have yet to attempt one of their recipes that didn't turn out perfectly.

                                    These all offer great insights and I've found a number of favorite recipes that i keep returning to. Though I don't subscribe to Cooks, but only buy it off the shelf when the recipes interest me.

                                    1. I used to subsribe to (tail between my legs): BA, Gourmet, Cooks Illustrated, Food & Wine and Saveur. Of those, I only currently still get F&W and Saveur. BA and Gourmet started to turn me off (BA more so) with more and more recipes calling for frozen veggies and premade ingredients that were essentially being "doctored up". I also, rarely found myself reading articles in either of them. I will say that I recently bought the Gourmet Bistro Issue and found it alright. Cooks Illustrated was just way too dry for me. I've never made anything out of it, though I'm sure if I had it would have been successful given the agonizing detail which the testing process goes through (and is written about, ad nauseam, IMO).

                                      I like the recipes in F&W, and the magazine in general seems to have more of an on going dialogue with current chefs, which I appreciate. More than any other magazine they seem to have their finger on the pulse of the restaurant/food scene. I adore Saveur for the pictures and the eccentric locales and people that they choose to feature. I haven't made many recipes from them, but of the few that I have, they've been successful. More a magazine I like to curl up with and wistfully dream about exploring the world.

                                      After reading through this, and a couple other boards on CH, I am thinking of adding Fine Cooking and Eating Well to my current subcriptions.

                                      1. taste of home now there is a mag that has killed one too many trees
                                        i find it to be a waste of paper everyone opens cans,and jars and the worst part is they think they are all julia child for doing it

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: foodperv

                                          I have a coworker that keeps bringing recipe from taste of home telling me to make them for events at work.

                                          1. re: foodperv

                                            Taste of Home is the car accident of cooking magazines. Whenever I see a copy (usually in the dentist's office), I just have to look at it. But I feel kind of guilty and dirty about it. There are some culinary train wrecks in that one!