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Free, in-store Magazine at the Grocery Store-- Who has them, why do you like yours?

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does your local grocery store offer a free store magazine with articles, food photography, recipes, in-season charts and updates, etc? if so, is it blatant, prettified shilling for the grocery store, or does it contain serious food writing with nationally known writers, journalists, chefs etc? what store has your favorite in-store magazine?

someone told me this isn't common everywhere and i'd like to know if that's true. to be clear, not talking about coupon/sale flyers. thanks.

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  1. <<someone told me this isn't common everywhere>>

    Yup. That explains it. I had never seen/heard of one of these before -- we're in NYC. Then DH and I were upstate (NY) at a county festival and a supermarket had a booth (Hannaford which I gather is their local chain) and they were handing out this glossy mag (marked $2.00 or Free with purchase -hahaha).

    It's filled with recipes and photos and a few short (very) articles. I have no idea if the writers/photographers are anyone (I've never heard of them but maybe they are "famous" upstate).

    The mag itself seems okay -- it had an "all-American" theme covering KC bbq, LA cajun, SD fish tacos among other things. The recipes were very simplistic and seemed to be largely an excuse for hawking their own brand. Or, since I'm not familiar with the store, I think it's their own brand of stuff. It's called "Inspirations" and ran from various spice mixes (chipotle rub, cajun rub) to dressings (ranch, bbq mustard, raspberry-lime salsa) to meats ("southwest boneless chicken breasts", "Angus Beef Boneless Strip Loin Steaks") to what I assume are pre-packed veggies (Inspirations Baby Spinach).

    I must say the recipe for Blueberry Salsa actually looked intriguing and I may try it (we like stone fruit salsa). It didn't have an "in season chart" but did have a little blurb about local blueberries.

    1 Reply
    1. re: LNG212

      Hannaford is a New England chain, based in Maine. I like their magazine. Sure, it's shilling for their products, mostly the "Inspirations" line. But most of them can be made with regular ingredients, or maybe just one of their sauces. And if they're giving it out free (or for $2) in their store, shouldn't they be able to push their product lines? Anyway, they have some well-known writers and some unknowns. Once there was an article buy the guy who does the equipment testing on America's Test Kitchen. Some of their articles are about home cooks and include their recipes. I got a great recipe for Filipino beef in the crockpot from there. And with another recent article I gained an appreciation of there they get their some of their store brand cheeses. They've even had an article on gluten-free baked desserts.

    2. A friend of mine just picked one up at Nijiya market here in San Diego.They just started doing it in English, "Gochiso" - Ultimate Japanese Gourmet Magazine, the Primary edition I have is about 50 pages loaded with great recipes and info. I will definitely grab the next issue.

      1. In Northern California, Raley's / Nob Hill / Belair puts out a glossy, free, monthly magazine called "Something Extra" which I love. All the recipes are online as well as some of the tips.
        http://www.raleys.com/store/semag/se_...

        I find it a lot more useful with better recipes than the 'women's magazines

        Besides the many, many recipes there are the following sections
        - What's New (in-store products)
        - Food Editor's Favorites - There's usually stuff I pass by otherwise.
        - On Location - The issue I have in had covers an article about Stilton Cheese with interviews with cheesemakers and recipes
        - Dear Joey - Household tips

        The majority of recipes are just what's in season like this one for Panzanella
        http://www.raleys.com/apps/recipes/re...

        There is are slight reminders where the products can be found in the store like this one for The Ravine's Restaurant Brie, Mushroom and Chicken Salad which mentions the brie is in the deli section
        http://www.raleys.com/apps/recipes/re...

        Even those with heavy product plugs ... well, the recipes work without those brands
        Sunflower Hummus
        http://www.raleys.com/apps/recipes/re...

        I also love Raley's period. Sure they are a supermarket. They take chances though and carry a selection of non standard products. This week it is Hatch Mexican Chiles.

        Raley's and Andronico's have 6 page flyers with a few recipes, but they are more of an ad plug.

        4 Replies
        1. re: rworange

          The only store I know of around here that has an instore mag is Whole Foods. I have found some good recipes in there, as well as coupons for some of the brands they carry.

          1. re: rworange

            After saying how much I liked Raley's Something Extra magazine, this month's magazine was much thinner ... 20 pages less than usual.

            Not to panic. They are using recyled paper now for the publication and they seem to have fitted the same number of recipes in fewer pages. Some recipes I particularily liked this month

            Spaghetti Squash with Pancetta, Tomatoes and Walnuts ... I'll definately be making this
            http://www.raleys.com/apps/recipes/re...

            Baked Apples stuffed with gingersnaps
            http://www.raleys.com/apps/recipes/re...

            Wild Blueberry and Lavender Pound Cake
            http://www.raleys.com/apps/recipes/re...

            Blue Cheese, Honey and Walnut Figs ... the ingrediants are better sounding than the title. It is the touch of fresh rosemary that speaks to me.
            http://www.raleys.com/apps/recipes/re...

            Also came across this from previous months. It is a mini burger recipe. People are always asking on the SF board where to find mini hamburger buns. This recipe uses frozen parker house rolls and forms them into a circle before baking. Sounds like a, uh, cool idea.
            http://www.raleys.com/apps/recipes/re...

            In the tip section ... Ask Joey ... someone asked what to do if they have squirrels in the attic ... real squirrels ... real attic. Seems like squirrels are repelled by Old Spice Aftershave ... as we all are.

            1. re: rworange

              I was reading through your post thinking "ooh! I'll have to copy that blueberry & lavender pound cake recipe!" when I came across your last paragraph about how to repel squirrels and just burst out laughing! Thanks, rworange! ;-)

            2. re: rworange

              I agree that Raley's magazine is the tops. The recipes are practical and good. The tips about the squirrels and how to clean things are a little strange, but then I have never tried them.
              Safeway has (had?) a magazine, for which they charged money but they seemed to be nothing but old Sunset magazine articles being recycled. While I liked Sunset, there didn't seem to be much excuse for buying the same thing twice.

            3. Edible Publications can be found free of charge in mag bins at WF, farmer's markets, gourmet shops and have WF as a major advertiser.

              I enjoy Edible Publications very much. Issues are done tastefully, well photographed. I learn a good deal from these magazines, especially when they cover the food scene for an entire state/food hub. I might not overwise know/hear about food fest in time but these magazines highlight food happenings well in advance.

              Also, EP publications are a helpful tip sheet when I'm traveling overnight and haven't a clue where to find a farmer's market, restaurant hot spot or food event within a short distance of my accomodations.

              1. Stop & Shop in the New England area *used* to have them, but I haven't seen them in several years. Yes, they were shilling for the store, but often had good recipes that I saved.

                1. I always like the Sainsbury magazine when I'm in the UK. I've never seen anything at that level here in the states as a store freebie.

                  1. Not the grocery store, but Ontario's government owned liquor stores offer a magazine called Food&Drink, that I rarely remember to pick up, but enjoy leafing through when I do.

                    Loblaw's stores have the PC Insiders Report, which is about half way between a sales flyer and a magazine. It's pure shillery for the PC products line, but a lot of people read it anyway.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Jacquilynne

                      I really enjoy Food & Drink as well. The liquor/beer/wine features are obviously to push product but they have some pretty good recipes as well.

                      1. re: ms. clicquot

                        http://www.lcbo.ca/fooddrink/index.shtml

                        1. re: Mila

                          Just pulled up the Canada site. That is pretty impressive.

                    2. I suppose not all of them are well done, but, in general, I like them and have found that they are pretty common in both the metro areas where I've lived in recent years. One of the free publications available at an upscale supermarket chain (Lunds/Byerly's) located in the metro area where I currently live is edited by Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl, a well-known local food critic who has received a lot of national attention. I noticed Martin Yan is a contributor to the most recent edition of that mag. You may or may not like Martin Yan, but you can't deny that he's nationally-known!

                      In the metro area where I used to live, a good friend of mine, who was a well-known regional writer, frequently contributed pieces to the local supermarket publications.

                      Our local co-op seems to have banded with other co-ops to produce a publication that is free to members. (I can't recall if it's free to everyone). I wouldn't say it's a very attractive publication, though. Printed on newsprint insteady of glossy.

                      If it's a grocery item I've already purchased, I don't mind reading ideas about what to do with it. Otherwise, I tend to skip the recipes that require anything other than real food. But, what I really like about the publications available where I currently live--both the co-op one and the Lunds/Byerly's one-- is that they often get local restauranteurs to contribute a recipe or two. (Like 112 Eatery's lamb scottadito!) Also, I like the seasonal focus of most of the publications. It's part of the changing of the seasons I look forward to in a really silly way. As in, yay (or, boo hoo!) he fall magazine is here--time to get ready for fall!

                      But, I confess, I often take a copy of these mags and never get around to reading them. When I do, I'm glad I have, because there's usually a gem or two in there. There's a lot of nothing in there, too, but you can find the gems with a few quick flips.

                      ~TDQ

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                        I like the Byerly's magazine too-- TDQ is correct, one or two good things in every one I pick up.

                      2. I picked up a Safeway magazine which is 8 pages and a waste of good trees. There's an article about freezing grapes, one of the most boring articles on Jazz apples that I've ever read and some of the most unappetizing receipes I've seen in a while.

                        It is not a magazine, but the WalMart superstores that have produce put out some pretty terrific recipe cards ... in both English and Spanish.

                        1. The local heath food store has a free magazine that I assume it shares with other stores around the country. The articles about health, produce and cooking are okay, but it mostly seems to exist to sell vitamin pills.

                          1. Wegmans has a superb publication called "Menu" that they mail to your home, for free, if you are a store card holder. They do have the seasonal food education articles and menu suggestions, which have encouraged me to try different foods that I wouldn't ordinarily have tried. They also have recipes for many of the packaged products that you can buy in-store.

                            I think you can also buy the mag for a couple of bucks in the store if you are not a member.