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Gourmet versus Bon Appetit?

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  • Apple Jan 30, 2009 06:37 PM

I am going to get a subscription... don't want both - it's from the same publisher, but I am not sure which one I should get - I like recipes, food stories - politics, restaurants, cookbook reviews are fine - but I'd like to focus on great recipes - which one would you choose - Gourmet or Bon Appetit...

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  1. Hi Apple. I've had both, but I prefer Bon Appetit. I've liked everything I've made in the magazine. The pictures are appetizing and the layout is nice. For what it's worth Epicurious (dot) com has 20000+ Recipes by Gourmet & Bon Appetit magazines. I think you can choose which magazine to browse on the site, or you can search for a type of recipe and it will tell you which magazine the recipe came from. Hope this helps!

    1 Reply
    1. re: capitts

      I agree. Having had both, I would pick Bon Appetit. I think the recipes are a little more user friendly and I like the sections about entertaining. Capitts has a good suggestions regarding checking the internet for recipes for the magazine that you don't subscribe to.

    2. I just finished a one-year subscription to Gourmet and I have to say I was totally underwhelmed by it. Each month I'd flip through it in about 2 minutes. I never tried any of the recipes (too many ingredients, too complex) and I read only a couple of their pretentious articles. The photographs are superb, but that's it.

      For a serious cooking magazine, go with Cook's Illustrated and/or Cook's Country.

      1. May not be a point of discussion for long, given the speculation of Gourmet being on "life support": http://www.thesustainablekitchen.com/...

        6 Replies
        1. re: fullbelly

          The piece is totally speculation. Fantasy. Based on nothing. If nothing else, Gourmet is one of the magazine world's great brands, and the recipes are consistently superb. Bon App has its uses, but it is strictly the JV magazine. And Cooks Illustrated is useless, unless you enjoy being lectured to like a third grader.

          1. re: condiment

            Every magazine appeals to a particular group, just because you don't enjoy Cooks Illustrated, don't look down at those who may enjoy it.

            Currently I am writing a cook book and write some articles for a local book and magazine for those who don't know how to cook and to those want to learn. My goal is to teach and educate and help those single mom working 60 hours like me, no time, young child and trying to cook healthy. If you don't like the magazine fine, Don't run it into the ground or more so yourself. We all like different things and gets tips and points from various sources. I like BA, but Gourmet is descent. Hell, I get tips from southern living and better homes. Everything appeals to some and not others, that is why we have choices. Enjoy what you enjoy. But don't trash one and insult them.

            1. re: condiment

              Condiment: What do you mean by "JV"?

              1. re: Sharuf

                I'm guessing "Junior Varsity"

                1. re: roxlet

                  ``Junior varsity'' is correct.

                  And Cooks Illustrated does have its place - everybody has to cook his or her first flank steak sometime. And at least it's not Taste of Home, which outsells every other food magazine in the United States . . . put together.

                  1. re: condiment

                    You're oversimplifying Cooks Illustrated. It's not for beginner cooks, though it does take an exhaustive step by step approach to it's recipes. And it is bothersome that it makes a concerted effort to avoid any ingredients that would be hard to find in a 7-11. But I'm a pretty accomplished cook, and I still read it because it tries variations on techniques -- some of which make a big difference and were not common knowledge. For example, the vodka in pie dough to preclude gluten formation. Searing steaks AFTER a slow roast rather than vice-versa to get a good crust and maintain a more even medium rare interior. This is good stuff.

                    I find Gourmet to be a wordier Saveur, with less focus on ethnic foods.

          2. Ditto, Bon Appetite

            1. I love this board - CHers are always so knowledgable.

              Thanks all for the responses. I have the Cook's Illustrated Baking book, it's great. I find the magainze is very thorough but less food "porny" - does that make me pervy? :)

              I think I will wait a couple of months to see if/which surivives... meantime I will scout out the recipes on epicurious.com... I am looking at the parmasan pull apart bread for superbowl tomorrow.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Apple

                Bread ... just a thought. I know a whole different thought here. Sorry if out of line. I make stuffed breads. Several variations but here is the basics.

                I take a large baguette or an Italian load. Hollow out a little (save the bread of course for thickening soups, stews etc or for making a small amount of stuffing). Brush olive oil on both cut sides, then lightly brown in the oven cut side down, just for a bit 5 min or so. Then stuff. My favorite is pesto smoothed on both cut sides topped with fresh mozzarella and parm. Top with the top piece of bread. Wrap in foil and bake or grill. Usually 350-375 for about 20 min. Same on the grill. Medium heat.

                Carmelized onions and gruyere is great
                Sundried tomatoes, feta, olives and pesto
                Peppers, onions and Mozz
                Mushrooms and swiss
                Fresh thin slices of tomato, mozz, basil and parm

                Slice in 8-10 slices for great bread!!

              2. Personally I don't particularly like either and have found both to have gone down a very slippery slope of mediocrity over the last few years. The only cooking magazine worth it's salt these days I find is Saveur. I absolutely love it.

                1. There's a rumor floating around publishing circles that Gourmet won't last the year. I think BA is dull.

                  1. I'll buck the trend here -- Gourmet hands down. Bon Appetit is the kind of magazine that uses shortcut ingredients like pre-made marinades and such -- that I would never do. BA's recipes are more simplistic, and usually don't inspire me.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: roxlet

                      Bon Appétit didn't used to be that way, but it's really been dumbed down and simplified in recent years, I think.

                      1. re: roxlet

                        Well, I do enjoy BA, also Gourmet, BA to me tends be a bit more interesting. As far as using shortcut ingredients, I hate to use them to ... however I would rather use short cuts and still eat healthy rather than fast food. I work 60 hrs, single mom, writing a cook book and do consulting work on the side. Some of us have to use any shortcuts we can get. When I have time I create and do everything from scratch, but face it ... I don't have that much time.

                        1. re: roxlet

                          I'm going with roxlet on this one. I used to like them about equally, but in my opinion BA has gone way downhill in the last couple of years. Neither of them are stellar, but in a contest between the two I would hope to see Gourmet win. But looks like I'm in the minority on this one. I, for one, would be disappointed to see Gourmet go under.

                        2. I'd have to say Bon Appetit. I find more successful recipes in BA and I'm not interested in the upper-crust lifestyle Gourmet always seems to be hawking. Not to mention that their latest issue has to be one of the single worst issues they've ever put out, IMO.

                          1. After reading the posts over the last several days- i am stuck -I thought i would go with gourmet...I did like the article this month on Grenada and ooh, that bread. Am going to go out this weekend to take a look the Bon Appetit, Saveur, and Cooks Illustrated.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: Apple

                              If you're a fan of ethnic cuisines and no compromise recipes, Saveur is great. Interesting articles and worthwhile recipes. As for Cooks Illustrated, the trick is to think of it as a tool, not a collection of recipes to be followed verbatim. If you read the article explaining WHY they made something the way they made it, you'll learn a lot. And then feel free to monkey with their recipes.

                              1. re: sbp

                                Totally accurate descriptions of both Saveur and CI.

                                1. re: sbp

                                  Well put, SBP. My heart belongs to Saveur, and every once in a while I buy a CI from the newsstand if they cover something specific that I'd like to learn about.

                                  Can't even tell the difference btwn Gourmet & Bon Appetite. But I just discovered a new column about Food Politics in Gourmet online, so I may be reading a lot more of it!

                              2. I quit my Gourmet sub when they started getting quite political about two or three years ago. I deal with politics in my day job, and I have no interest in them when I'm trying to learn more about food and cooking on my own time (even when I agree with the viewpoints, as I often did -- it simply got in the way and seemed wholly inappropriate to me). I've found its tone gradually more patrician over the years, and its focus too east-coast-centric for my tastes.

                                Saveur is probably even more out of my personal economic realm of reality, but I like it as escapism. I have to admit I don't cook a great deal out of it, though.

                                Bon Appetit is more approachable, though I don't find too many surprises in its recipes. I haven't subscribed for years.