HOME > Chowhound > Food Media & News >


Help. I'm a food magazine packrat

I have, in chronological order, at least a decade (or more) of old Gourmet, Bon Appetit, Food and Wine, and several other food magazines. I use the internet often for recipes now. My husband of 7 months is gently encouraging me to let them go, but it's not easy....any thoughts of how to let them go other than just recycling? It almost feels like I'm throwing out food!!!!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. You could do what a friend's father did with their 20 years of National georgraphic. the wife wouldn;t let him get rid of them so he built an expansion to his house and walled the magazines up inside the new rooms. Still got them!

    1. Me, too. I have them ready to donate to the library but then recipes catch my eye and I can't part with them, even though I haven't looked at them in years.

      1. I know exactly what you mean. It's nice to know I'm not the only one drowning in a sea of older food magazines. Our local library accepts old donated magazines and books and sets them on a table and sells them for 10 and 25 cents a piece. So I've been gradually going through them and occasionally cutting out a recipe or article that I really want to save and then bringing bags of them to the library. It's sort of hard to let them go at first but after I donate them I really don't miss them. It's sort of a relief. And it's definitely better then just throwing them in the trash. (Shudder!) And just think - More new ones are on the way each month!!!!!

        1. Take some to a Senior center, assisted living center, domestic violence shelter, you get the idea.

          So many of the older folks used to get the magazines themselves and might enjoy looking through them, even if they won't cook from them.

          Also, take some to a school that has limited resources so they can use them for collages or whatever. Teachers on a shoestring budget are often happy to make use of such things.

          One more thing, don't do it all at once so you can see if you can stand to be without your collection. If giving some away works for you, then go all the way!

          4 Replies
          1. re: fern

            Ditto library, teachers, etc.

            Don't forget to get your tax deductible receipt :)

            PS I think I have some boxes of food magazines in the attic!

            1. re: financialdistrictresident

              Don't forget hospitals on your list of donor sites--speaking as a former patient, a stack of magazines helps the time go by nicely.

              1. re: pine time

                Probably a good idea to check w the hospitals/doctor's offices and the like first. We used to donate magazines and books but over the few years have found most facilities will not accept them due to risk of germs.

                1. re: Breadcrumbs

                  Even if they're from a person who lives alone, ie untouched by anyone else?

          2. Every few months I scan the articles\recipes\ideas I want to save into my PC. I then hand them over to my cousin, who works in a hospital and distributes them to the various waiting rooms.

            1. I donated a bunch of food magazines to a program that Nashville has for teachers. It is a closet of supplies and you can donate new paper, pens, pencils, rulers, glue, etc. but they also want things like magazines for art projects. So I hope the kids had a good time cutting out some fantastic looking food! And maybe the teachers cut out some good recipes too. I took another bunch of magazines to work and let my co-workers pick out any they wanted before I recycled them. I just mentioned that I was going to recycle them and 3 co-workers asked me to bring them in first. There seems to be renewed interest in cooking at home at my workplace and so people were really excited about getting them.

              I haven't had the guts to get rid of my Gourmet magazines yet.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Boudleaux

                i had just begun the process of sorting through and throwing out my Gourmets since 1993...when the mag crashed and burned. Now I CAN'T do it.

                1. re: danna

                  It is really difficult. I think I'll hang on to them a while longer. Especially that very last issue that none of us realized was going to be the last issue.

                  1. re: Boudleaux

                    I miss Gourmet so much . . .Didn't want Bon Appetit. Food and Wine just isn't the same.

              2. I'm fairly certain your husband won't appreciate this info but just in case you're looking for a reason to hang on to your magazines (and I too have a cooking mag monkey on my back . .. add Donna Hay and BBC Food to your list), Eat Your Books, an online resource for cookbook collectors, is now indexing magazines too. What this means is that we can now get more use out of our magazine collections because we'll be able to search for recipes/ingredients online.

                If you really do want to part with them, you may also want to check w local culinary schools or, high schools offering culinary programs as they may have an interest in them. I have parted w some of my collection over the years and I've always found it easier to do so if I feel they're going to someone who will appreciate them as much as I do/did.

                1. Offer them in yearly sets on eBay.

                  1. I had about 4 years worth when my husband and I married and consolidated our stuff. It simply wasn't possible to keep them in our new combined space, so I went through 1 magazine a night and tore out the stuff I really wanted until they were all ready for recycling. Then i got a binder and page protectors and sorted everything by type of recipe (chicken, pasta, etc.) or article. Now I have all the pieces that mattered most in 1 big binder!

                    1. Insist upon keeping them. But if you give into this kind of pressure the way I once did, I'll be happy to pay for the postage for you to send me Bon Appetit from 1981-1986.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Jay F

                        Take a look at www.freecycle.org for a group in your local area. You can post the availability of the magazines and find someone who will appreciate them.

                      2. Thank you for all the very thoughtful replies - I have been dropping off magazines to the ERs of our local hospitals for some years, now - they have no problem receiving them and they seem to disappear. I think I'll just bite the bullet and do that. I put in a call to the culinary school at our local community college to see if they'd like them but they didn't call back (maybe busy with graduation). It's also good to know I'm not alone in my hoarding ways....