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Dec 7, 2008 03:39 PM

Cooking magazine as gift

Looking to give a friend a subscription to a cooking magazine as a gift. What are your preferences/ideas? She is a young single female.

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  1. What kind of cooking experience does she have? What sorts of foods does she like? Does she have a fairly equipped kitchen or a bare bones one?

    12 Replies
    1. re: Leepa

      She likes to make stews, chicken dishes and fish. She has the necessities in the kitchen, nothing to extravagant. Thanks for your help!

      1. re: ajr524

        I'd replied to Bob's post earlier but for some reason it isn't showing up. Two of my favorite magazines are Fine Cooking and Eating Well. If she's interested in healthy cooking then Eating Well would be a good choice for her. Fine Cooking is a great magazine for both beginners and experienced cooks alike. I prefer it to Cook's Illustrated which, to me and like Bob mentions, seems a bit dry and technical.

        The other suggestion I had was to visit the websites of the magazines you are thinking of to get the idea of what they are about, what recipes they feature, the kinds of articles they have, etc. Only you will know the best fit for your friend.

        1. re: Leepa

          What about Gourmet, Bon Appetit or Food and Wine?

          1. re: ajr524

            Those are all good magazines, too. In order, with those, I'd pick Bon Appetit, Gourmet, and Food and Wine.

            1. re: ajr524

              Of those, I like Bon Appetit best and Food and Wine second. I like the recipes/ideas and the RSVP section of Bon Appetit more than the others.

              1. re: ccbweb

                RSVP was one of my favorite sections of BA too. I had a subscrip for about 5 years and never tossed the issues, so I have a drawer full now. I had Food and Wine for a year, but in my mid-20s, I found it a bit too hoity toity. BA was more approachable, less highbrow.

                1. re: sasha1

                  I've had a subscription for many years running now. Someone always gives me one as a gift (though, oddly, never the same person). I don't think I've actually purchased my own subscription to it at any point. I always enjoy it, though.

                2. re: ccbweb

                  Yes Bon Appetit. But, she is young so maybe she'd appreciate Rachel Rays magazine. I'm sorry.

                  1. re: melly

                    I haven't seen Ray's magazine, so I can't say. It's certainly possible. Bon Appetit as a part of its redesign has a new "basics' or "fundamentals" or some such section that many people on a different thread found to be too introductory or basic for their tastes but I expect would be welcome by a new-ish cook.

                    Are the recipes/tips in Ray's magazine good?

                    1. re: ccbweb

                      Speaking as a young, single male I can say that most of my peers find Rachel Ray and her magazine as obnoxious as everyone else does. My roommate subscribes and while I have to admit some of the recipes are indeed tasty, the magazine seems geared more to the time-crunched homemaker than that single girl on the make.

            2. re: ajr524

              I recommend Cuisine.
              Lots of pictures, and good informative and instructional articles.
              Some folks here may consider it simplistic, but hey, you don;t wanna scare off the newbie, with the 98 step coq au vin that requires that old french rooster, yes?
              Me, I'm partial to Cook's Illustrated (although their recipes, recently are becoming awfully fussy) and Bon Appetit.
              But then, not everyone has a taste or the finances for foie gras or caviar or fancy hawaiian salts.
              When I started, it was the "how to" that got me going.

              1. re: ritabwh

                How could I have forgotten Cuisine? It's a great "how to" magazine and would be great for a beginner. It only comes every other month though which may be a consideration for the gift-giver.

          2. If she's an avid cook and very into food as culture, go for Saveur. Otherwise, for a young single woman you can't do better than Food and Wine. OTOH, if she's new to cooking and wants to learn, Cooks Illustrated would be an excellent choice. Although many consider its recipes overwrought and a bit soulless, the reality is that their recipes are extremely well thought out and delicious.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Bob Brooks

              I love Saveur, Bon Apetit and the other high-end magazines. But for a single girl on a budget, a lot of the recipes and products are out of reach. Food and Wine, however, seems to target the younger crowd and is more accessible for someone new to cooking or who doesn't want to spend $78 to make a meal of roast poussin on a bed of chanterelle couscous.

            2. If she's relatively new to cooking, Cooks Illustrated would be a great gift. You'd do better to get her the website subscription though as then she'd get all of the back recipes and product reviews/ratings as well as some video content.

              1. i like all the above-mentioned magazines, but i've come across "cooking light" and found many recipe ideas appealing -- nice layout and photography, too.

                southern living used to be a favorite. has great recipes and entertaining ideas. i would think your young, single friend would be interested in entertaining ideas perhaps as much as "cooking" by itself.
                plus, many features are keyed to the recipient's region, so it is food festivals, gardening, etc. too.

                coastal living is similar -- and a sister publication of southern living. and it always makes me wishful to be "there"!

                i've gotten many "sunset" magazine cookbooks, but never have seen the magazine. the recipes are always good.

                i'd go have a look at the local bookstore with the list from this thread, and see which one "fit" my friend.

                1 Reply
                1. re: alkapal

                  I started reading Cooking Light several years ago when I needed to cook for a family member that had medical issues. It's not particularly chowish, but it does provide good solid recipes.

                  As a subscriber to Cooking Light I get a yearly offer to send additional gift subscriptions for a very low price, so this is a great opportunity to share with friends who might find the magazine helpful.

                  I really love the idea of gift subscriptions, because the recipient gets not one, but many, suprises every time a new issue arrives in the mailbox.

                  I currently am sending Cooking Light yearly to 2 friends (who I know have an interest in that type of cooking) and have been doing so for so long that they probably don't even remember why they are receiving it.

                  When you purchase a gift subscription, the magazines will usually send you gift cards that you can use to announce the gift, but I prefer to just let the magazines to begin arriving "anonymously" as a suprise for my friends.

                  Suprisingly, Saveur made an offer to send a free gift with subscription renewal this year, so yet another friend, who appreciates Saveur's style, will be getting a suprise in the mailbox soon.

                2. Does anyone subscribe to Penzey's ONE? I'm thinking of it for a friend who especially likes baking, and is a down home kind of cook and baker.