Useful cooking mags
I recently got a subscription to Bon Appetit and have been disappointed to find that there's almost nothing in it that is relevant to a home cook. I'm looking for a good, inspiring cooking magazine, and my favorite so far is Cooking Light. Sometimes I've liked MS Living, but I was wondering if anyone had suggestions for a home-cook's desire to change things up from time to time.
In the past I really liked Fine Cooking, I used to make sure to pick up every issue. I find now that they do a lot of themed issues repeating old recipes. Not so useful or me, but maybe good for someone who hasn't followed them over the years. I have always had success with their recipes.
I think the only useful cooking mag I've ever seen is Cooks Illustrated. It's the "Consumer Reports" of cooking mags. It's not just recipes, but the whys and wherefores as well. It goes into a lot of food science. Oddly enough, I hate the show Americas Test Kitchen. But CI is still the best cooking mag there is, IMHO.
I make plenty of BA recipes, so I am not sure what you mean by "relevant to a home cook." The mags I currently like are Fine Cooking the most and Cook's Illustrated far less. BA I use less and less, but I use epicurious.com plenty.
My friend really likes Sunset--it's Pacific/Northwest/West oriented. I think Southern Living would be an equivalent, depending on your part of the country.
I second the CI recommendation. No ads, no glossy photos - just good recipes with techniques and whys explained well. I personally love it because I have never had a bad meal. Some are labor-intensive, and I don't think I'd make them again, but for the most part, they are reasonable and delicious. (Quite opposite from BA....I've had mixed success with their recipes).
Another note: I recently started a subscription to their website, which is a separate cost (no included in mag subscription), and it has a ton of great recipes, taste and equipment testing notes, and menu planning, BUT the recipes don't include the full explanation of how and why the recipe includes the exact steps it does. So if you are kind of a nerd for that sort of stuff (like I am), you might want to start with a mag subscription.
I'd also add the Cook's Country magazine - along the same lines as CI, only not quite as, well, not as nerdy. :) The recipes are a little more streamlined - nowhere near as fussy, and the explanations are not as detailed, but they're still informative.
I look at it like: CI recipes are good for a weekend "project" or a day off - CC's are usually quick and easy enough for a weeknight.
I do like CI's articles, too - I like to know, not just what worked and didn't, but why or why not. For me, it's not just about the recipes, but it's educational, too. I've been able to apply lessons learned to other dishes, usually with very good results.
I really enjoy and use Food Network Magazine. I have found some great recipes to try plus cooking tips and meal planning ideas and I love the layout.