HOME > Chowhound > Food Media & News >


What Recipes Are You Tired Of Seeing In Cooking Magazines?

I'm about to let my Bon Appetite subscription expire, and I'm thinking of canceling my Food Network Magazine subscription because I'm tired of seeing variations on the same recipe in every issue:

- Flank Steak and some kind of spicy rub
- Sliders
- Salad with fennel
- Panini
- Crab cakes
- Shrimp and noodle salad
- Po Boys or sub sandwiches
- Pizza made with store-bought crust
- Fruit cobbler or crumble
- Pitas stuffed with ______
- Mussels with spicy broth (or mussels with noodles)

It's not that I don't like the above foods. (In fact, I would eat each and every one.) It's that I don't need a new recipe for pizza every month. It's not so hard to throw topings on a store-bought pizza crust, that I need a magazine to tell me how to do it. Ditto for panini: I think I can figure out some things to melt together between two pieces of bread.

What recipes do you seem to see cropping up month after month in cooking magazines?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Oh, month after month! I was going to say, around this time of year, 10,000 variations on turkey. It's like that Brian Regan joke about the pop tart: "roast it! Go ahead, roast it! Are you still reading this?" :D

    I read an article once by a food mag editor and she said that putting together the November issue is the worst torture imaginable for them, because despite the fact that what most people want on Thanksgiving is simple comfort food like their grandmother made, they have to make their magazine stand out on the newsstand, so they end up writing nonsense.

    We Know You're Just Going To Make the Pumpkin Pie From the Libby's Can, But Please At Least Look At This Article About Spicy Sweet Potato Bourbon Tartlets With Pecan Brittle Or This One About Goat Cheese Stuffed Figs With Mulled Cranberry-Pomegranate Reduction, So We Can Pay Our Bills. Pretty Please?

    1 Reply
    1. re: LauraGrace

      Lol! So true! I mean, my family would probably get annoyed if I changed the recipes for pumpkin pie or pecan pie, so those magazines can write all they want, and I'll probably read them, but we will do what we have always done since Thanksgiving is a holiday about tradition and memory.

    2. LaPomme,

      Can we expand this to include recipes not just in magazines, but cooking shows?

      I don't need another recipe for "the best chocolate cake", or another one for "classic" chicken salad, or "simple roast chicken" ... ugh.

      4 Replies
      1. re: ipsedixit

        Of course! The omnipresent roast chicken. Always introduced with, "This is a simple, classic..." If it's a simple classic, we don't need to see it several times a month. And enough with the crostinis (Giada, I'm looking at you). Little pieces of bread topped with something tasty. We get it.

        1. re: LaPomme

          Macaroni and cheese. Then m&c with lobster. Then put some bacon in it. Different cheeses. Add veggies. Yep, got it.

          1. re: SmartCookie

            +1 for the mac and cheese... and add m&c w/ truffles, with pulled pork, FRIED mac and cheese, crawfish mac and cheese, buffalo chicken mac and cheese... oh I could go on!

          2. re: LaPomme

            And enough with the crostinis (Giada, I'm looking at you). Little pieces of bread topped with something tasty. We get it.

            Or Nutella in wonton wrappers. Really? C'mon. I don't *need* anyone to show me how to do that.

        2. pasta. doesn't matter anymore how gorgeous the foodtography.

          1. Brownies, chocolate chip cookies, really!

            But then I think, okay that's pretty selfish of me....maybe THIS issue or this show or this recipe site has something to offer to the NEWBIE who really never paid attention before....then I go bake a batch of brownies or chocolate chip cookies, throw something new into it...and realize I'm just as guilty.

            3 Replies
            1. re: HillJ

              There's no guilt in throwing walnuts into a batch of chocolate chip cookies or brownies. My complaint was that I'm seeing magazines running nearly identical recipes over and over again. One week it's "flank steak with adobo" then it's "ancho chile flank steak" and then it's "Cuban flank steak" ad nauseum.

              1. re: LaPomme

                If I was paying for a mag subscrib, I'd be bothered by it more. With all the "free recipes" easily obtained online (including the mag sites) I'm less inclined to balk. But I understand the frustration for seasoned cooks/bakers/etc. For newbies (like my college son for instance) they appreciate the hands on basics, and recommendations that lead to experimenting with recipe ingredients more (imho).

                1. re: LaPomme

                  oh I throw a heck of alot more than walnuts in my cookies...hahaha. I have a hard time leaving a recipe (ingredient list) alone. Always changing it up.

              2. There was a time when I subscribed to just about every food magazine. I'm sure my mailman cursed me out every time he had to lug them all to my mailbox. But, I've cancelled them all except for Fine Cooking for the very reason you mention…they all have the same stuff in them month after month after month (are you listening Cooks Illustrated?). And, everything is so dumbed down its ridiculous. Why does everything have to be easy and quick? And, If I see one more recipe for sliders I'll scream. Do you really someone to tell you how to make a little hamburger? Its so sad.

                1. I just read the topic, but not the post, and thought "pizza on a store bought crust". That's the top for me! For goodness sake, the directions on the package are sufficient. I can figure out that I can put whatever toppings on it I want. I feel the same way about pasta with anything (with the exception of, perhaps, a classic like carbonara with a discussion on authenticity and technique). And I think it should ba against the law to publish a recipe for guacamole - you either know how you want it to taste and make it that way, or don't make it. And I heartily second skippy66 about the dumbing down of recipes. Have you noticed that in the recipe request column in Bon Appetit, the recipe will be listed as "based on the [insert restaurant name here] recipe" and then will have ingredients like jarred salsa, or canned chicken broth. If I'm writing a magazine to ask how the restaurant makes the sauce taste so extra good, I'm not interested in time saving, store bought ingredients. If magazines want to attract new cooks, how about one column on basic recipes for the beginning cook, instead of dumbing down the whole magazine? Surely many of the subscribers to cooking magazines are experienced cooks looking to broaden their horizons!

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Kathleen M

                    better yet, have a column about basic cooking techniques. "stir fry" -- bao style. braising, roasting, stew. emphasis "garbage" cooking -- whateva is in da fridge. Hell, i'd buy a mag for that.

                    1. re: Chowrin

                      "have a column about basic cooking techniques."

                      The magazine "Fine Cooking" often does exactly that. Plus, check out the "How-to" tab on their site : http://www.finecooking.com/how-to

                      1. re: Chowrin

                        Bon Appetit used to have a column called (IIRC) "The Basics" or something like that. Circa 1984, which I first started reading BA. I clipped and saved many of those columns for years, as I was (then) a very novice cook. I subscribed to BA for a few years, stopped when I had accumulated enough recipes and became proficient enough to go solo without the mag (and helped by a subscription at my office). The only cooking mag I get now is Fine Cooking, which I really like. No fluff, no glitz, no filler. Perfect.

                      1. re: wattacetti


                        In all honesty, I think I have to give cooking magazines and shows some slack on how to prepare a roast turkey.

                        There are so many variatons and hardly a consensus on what's best, and even the type and size of bird is always up for discussion.

                        Personally, if some show provides a teaser on how to make the "best" turkey for T-Day, odds are I'm going to take a peek just to see if it's something novel or worthwhile.

                      2. Mashed potatoes, mashed sweet potatoes. Enough already!! Mash them and throw in whatever the hell you want. It's not rocket science.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: baseballfan

                          We've all become so dependent on having someone else tell us what to do and what's good or bad. And, everyone is so afraid to make a mistake. Everything doesn't have to be "perfect." I think it was Julia Child who used to say that if something doesn't come out the way you planned, just tell everyone that that's the way its supposed to be. Its only cooking…!

                          1. re: skippy66

                            Love you for saying that skippy66... I also used to get multitudes of cooking magazines... Bon Apetite, Gourmet, Saveur, Fine Cooking., La Cucina Italiana... plus thanks to my step son being a Chef, we still get industry stuff like Food Arts and there's another one that I don't remember, but also has amazing food porn. I cut out all of those subscriptions... I figured out that I MAYBE made one dish per and sometimes not even that... I know what we like, it's not always 'gourmet' but I cook from fresh ingredients and grew up not needing a recipe to figure out how to make a really good meal... so I appreciate your comment skippy!

                          2. re: baseballfan

                            Exactly what I'm talking about. "Mashed potatoes with cheddar", "mashed potatoes with garlic", "mashed potatoes with cheddar AND garlic."

                          3. Any kind of slider
                            Any kind of burger that just is a variation of different condiments and toppings (Yes Rachael Ray I AM looking at you)
                            Another version of Mac n Cheese (oh I put hot sauce in it this time, so it is a "new" recipe)
                            And any burger that is a hamburger just with a different type of ground meat.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Firegoat

                              I agree with burgers. Please, if you cannot make a decent burger without a recipe, hang it up. And any "burger" that contains a ton of stuff is not a burger. Its a meatloaf sandwich.

                              1. re: invinotheresverde

                                Yes! Along the same lines...seafood paella. It's lots of rice, with a few shrimp thrown in for color. I make paella when I run out of food - it's not something that every up-and-coming chef must master, which is what today's magazines tell you.

                                1. re: ooroger

                                  I can't believe I neglected to mention paella. It seems like it's in just about every other issue: paella with chorizo, chicken and shrimp. Paella with chorizo and clams. Paella with mussels, chorizo and shrimp. Okay, I think we get the idea.

                              2. stop publshing "the best" of any recipe... only because you KNOW three months from now, you're going to publish another varation of the same... so what's the new recipe? low-rate compared to the best?

                                1. Roasted Vegetables!
                                  As another pointed out, it isn't hard science -- cut vegetables in pieces, toss with oil and roast in a hot oven. Yep, same treatment for beets, carrots, sweet potatoes, fennel - ad nauseum. Using different vegetable combinations does not require separate recipes. Hey editors -- we're not idiots, we can figure it out.

                                      1. "signature" drinks and anything with pomegranate.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: jillbcooks

                                          "and anything with pomegranate"


                                        2. I'll hazard a guess that the "typical" food magazine subscriber is not much of a CH. We spend obsessive amounts of time on the subject of food. So the things that drive us crazy are/may be inspiration for most people. My recently departed MIL had a subscription to BA and it's being forwarded to us til it runs out in a few months. I go through and look at every recipe and rarely see anything worth holding onto. I'm no food snob but I have better sources and, yes, it does get awfully dumbed down. But, again, that's an unfair term, I suppose. "Dumbed down" may be a challenging recipe for someone new to or not really into cooking like we are.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: c oliver

                                            pretty much sums up what I tried to say upthread. Plenty of friends who are timid home cooks or hesitant bakers love these magazines and feel a full on cookbook is more of a commitment and strictly for the experienced. Magazines may feel tired (and frankly I'm more miffed by the number of ads keeping these mags afloat than recipe content) and repetitive but they serve a purpose.

                                          2. i agree with every one already mentioned, and i have to add a few more:
                                            - maple-glazed salmon
                                            - seared duck with fruit sauce
                                            - blueberry muffins
                                            - hummus
                                            - any variation on hot breakfast cereal or porridge
                                            - chef's salad
                                            - cobb salad
                                            - Greek salad
                                            - [spinach] salad with dried cranberries, goat cheese, walnuts and beets
                                            - any "recipe" that involves little more than assembly of prepared ingredients...e.g. ice cream sandwiches using store-bought ice cream and cookies, or trifle or parfaits using store-bought cake and pudding. arghh!!

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                              Oh gawd yes, that candied salmon nonsense. Eeeeuuck.

                                            2. Recipes for a "meal for four" for under $10 where they put ridiculous prices on the ingredients to get to their $10 mark.

                                              1. It drives me crazy when a magazine reuses the same recipe with a minor change the following year. For example:
                                                Year 1 - chicken breasts stuffed with goat cheese
                                                Year 2 - chicken breasts stuffed with goat cheese and topped with a pomegranate sauce
                                                Year 3 - chicken breasts stuffed with goat cheese and topped with a pomegranate ginger sauce

                                                Ugh! Find a new recipe!


                                                1. I just discovered that my mother-in-law left behind 5 cooking magazines that she had brought with her from Romania. I wish I could subscribe to them! The recipes are so different from the typical recipes found in American cooking magazines. It's fun to look through them. While I understand enough to make out most of the ingredient list, I'll need husband to translate the directions for me before I can attempt any of the recipes. One of the issues has a whole section on aspics! Talk about different!