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best magazine for literate foodies?

Quick question: What's the best food magazine for foodies who also enjoy fine writing? (I like the recipes in Cooking Light, but the writing is often boring. I like the articles in Saveur, but the recipes sometimes contain ingredients that are hard to find in my neck of the woods.)

What say you, Chowhounds?

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  1. Food and Wine is pretty good, I'll say without really knowing much about many alternatives. Hardly literary, but certainly more than just explaining the recipes. It is a bit like Martha Stewart. The target demographic is clearly big spenders, so if you're not into fancy wine and restaurants, some of the content will not be useful. In it's favor, I've pulled lots of great recipes and had good success, although obscure/expensive ingredients are often, but not always, involved.

    1. You may be after two things that won't be so easy to find in the same place: really high quality writing and recipes with easily accessible ingredients. I can't think of a magazine like Cooking Light (Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, etc.) that I think has consistently well written, compelling articles.

      For high quality writing: Gastronomica. http://www.gastronomica.org/
      For recipes: Cook's Illustrated specifically uses products that are available at supermarkets nationwide with very few exceptions. I also like their writing, generally speaking, though it is only about the recipes.

      1. Over the years I have subscribed to Saveur, Bon Appetit, Gourmet, Cook's Illustrated and Food & Wine. The only two that gave me both fine writing and a nice variety of recipes are Bon Appetit & Gourmet (and I still subscribe to both).

        I think Gourmet has a slight edge over Bon Appetit though. I love when they include excerpts from culinary literature. They once featured a portion of My Life In France by Julia Child & Alex Prud'homme that drew me in so much so that I bought the book and thoroughly enjoyed it. On the other hand, I really enjoy the piece Molly Wizenberg writes for Bon Appetit each month and always look forward to reading it (she has the Orangette Blog). The annual subscribtion for each is $12 bucks... so I say get both. :)

        There's always Wednesday's New York Times too.

        1 Reply
        1. re: lynnlato

          Ed Behr's The Art of Eating must be added to the list--a uniquely personal take on discovering food worlds with depth, seriousness, and a palpable but unpretentious (and always humble) joy.
          Of the rest, Saveur is a regular; I can no longer take Gourmet's cynical gloss. The current issue, for example, "celebrating" classic Italian American cooking is one done every year, and as always almost entirely without novelty or imagination. Alas.

        2. Hands down, Gastronomica. None of the mass-produced mags come close to it.

          1. Over the years, I've subscribed to Cooks Illustrated, Bon Appetit, Gourmet, and Fine Cooking. Head above the rest, FC gets my vote (followed by CI) - subscribed to it for multiple years. (Then Food Network emerged.) FC included recipes that the "everyday" individual would actually consider preparing as well as recipes that were more advanced and chi-chi. I loved the articles which were educational, interesting and informative. This was one magazine that I read cover-to-cover.

            Grocery stores are beginning to stock more ingredients that were once considered specialty or goumet, but at one time, Bon Appetit specifically called for ingredients that were unattainable in my area - plus it seemed to be more about commercial advertising than cooking. BA is at rock bottom for my likes.

              1. I'll throw in another vote for Gastronomica. It's more cultural studies than recipe book.

                I also enjoy Alimentum quarterly, "the literature of food". http://www.alimentumjournal.com/

                3 Replies
                1. re: bostonbelle

                  Thanks to all who responded. As you can see, there's very little consensus, except for Gastronomica, which is both wonderful and expensive. I've decided to keep my subscriptions to Cooking Light (for day-to-day recipes) and Saveur (for the multicultural approach). Otherwise, I'll still look to books for the fine writing. Here's a list of some of my favorites, if anybody's curious:


                  1. re: Jeff C.

                    If you like John Thorne, he has a quarterly letter called Simple Cooking. Should be easy to Google (guess I should have looked it up first) I also find a lot of interesting collections and anthologies at my local libraries and every year there is a Best Culinary Writing of 20?? released. I receive Saveur, and liked it very much for the first several years but even it is now becoming not pridictable exactly but less of an event for me and I rarely pick up the issue again after reading it once. I was given a collection of old 60's and 70's and Gourmets once that were fun to read ~ and the ads were great! Maybe at garage sales or ask on Craigs List, lots of people might welcome the chance to get rid of collections that you can recyle after you read. Picking up some good food sections across the country and checking in with their food sections on line is good, especially in the summer when they have an abundance of local produce. I like NY Times, LA Times, Boston and the SF Chronicle.

                    1. re: tomatoaday

                      You reminded me to mention that I also enjoy Mark Bittman's articles in the N.Y. Times.