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Your favorite cooking magazine ranked.

I guess it all depends what you like in a cooking and food magazine.

A. I like new recipes that are challenging but I can make (including drink ones!).
B.I like articles about that informative and fun to read.
C..I like food porn pictures.
D.I like travel articles.
E.I like reviews of products and cooking equipment.
F. I like stories about food culture in different cities and other parts of the country or world.

With this in mind I'll do all the cooking and food magazines I can think of some have stopped being published.

1. Gourmet
A**** (in EVERY issue I found something cool I could make)
B*** (Sometimes they over the top)
F**** (Lots of insight!)

2. Saveur
A****(I can't get all the things or the recipe is written in odd format.)
F**** (WOW!)

3. Bon Apetit
A*** (Should be called boring Apetit IMHO)
B** (Fluff and filler)
C** (samey)
D* (Do they have them?)
E* (More like BUY THIS it'll go good with your wallpaper!)

4.Food & Wine
A** (I can't do them and they are boring)
D*** (Places I couldn't get to or don't want to go to)

5. Cook's Illustrated
A* (MAKE THE BEST version of dish that's been since the dawn of time! No thanks, yuck.)
B- (I've read less dry textbooks.)
C- (The black and white pictures make it look less appealing)
D- (Nope.)
E**** (Well now I know what to get)

I'll say that this all purely subjective and your opinion may differ then mine. I've heard lots of people on this board lambast Gourmet. Also I am biased about Food & Wine as half of it is devoted to wine which I don't drink. I'd have to say to me I've found better more creative ideas for food in Real Simple magazine. Now I know Cook's illustrated may be good someone who wants to make the BEST gravy, for which I'd just open the Joy of cooking and follow the recipe. It did help me make indoor BBQ pulled pork that was the only recipe I got from it after a year gift subscription. And the liquid smoke they recommended isn't sold in my area. But I do love Saveur and think it's Gourmet's spiritual successor.

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  1. Now that Gourmet is gone, I only get Food &Wine and it's ok for food news, some interesting travel articles and some very good recipes. I watch ATK but refuse to buy Cook's Illustrated any more. Made that mistake once a few years ago. Christopher Kimball's marketing contractors are borderline unethical. Just two weeks ago I received yet another unsolicited cookbook that I marked RETURN, NOT ORDERED and sent right back on their dime. For everything else I watch the Cooking Channel for inspiration and read food blogs.

    2 Replies
    1. re: sandiasingh

      So if you subscribe to Cook's Illustrated do you automatically get these books sent to you or did you "check" something? Have you ever tried to call and get off their list?

      I don't buy food magazines anymore but I will read them at the library. They have 3 or 4 including Cook's Illustrated, Vegetarian Times and Bon Appetite

      1. re: ylsf

        If I recall, I subscribed to the magazine and purchased a "best of ATK" book and then began receiving lots of emails and books in the mail which I did not request. I did call the marketing company and the woman I spoke to said to return them unopened and they would pay the return postage. When I complained that they were too aggressive and were becoming a pain in the can, she remarked "I know, I hear this all the time." It left me with a very negative opinion

    2. I subscribe to Cook's Illustrated and Cuisine at home...expensive but not filled with advertising and articles that do not have anything directly connected to cooking. I don't buy the books advertised in CI. I stopped getting Bon Appetit years ago because the smell of perfume from the ads nauseated me. I watch cooking shows on TV and also surf recipes online.

      1. my piicks are; 1. Fine Cooking
        2. Saveu
        3. Cooks Illustrated (ON LINE. I won't pay for a magazine then have to pay for
        website access ALSO!)
        Those satisfy my needs and if something special comes up, there's always the internet!

        1. Like others, I sorely miss Gourmet. I used to subscribe to Bon Appetite, which in the mid-90s had good recipes. I canceled my subscription when they changed to their new format with itty bitty font two years ago. How can anyone possibly cook from that? The photography got trashy looking, too.

          I find Saveur not practical, Cook's Illustrated way beneath my skill level, and Food and Wine not particularly inspiring, so at the moment, I subscribe to no cooking magazines, though I sure would if there were any good ones, and I suspect I am not alone. Could this be a business opportunity for someone to launch something spectacular?

          1 Reply
          1. re: bitchincook

            Bitchincook, if it were, what would you like to see in a three dimensional, real, something you can hold in your hands, cooking magazine for the 21 century. We all seem to agree the pickins are slim with the demise of Gourmet. The last version of Gourmet was ok with me altho the ones going back at least 10-15 years much better. I don't want a magazine to talk down to me. I don't really need the basics of how to roll a pie dough. I'd like information on REAL FOOD and how to do some cooking projects that are challenging, like making sausage at home. I do enjoy reading about food trends--that can be fun. Most of the new products the magazines feature are really boring and are no more than free promos from a PR company. Food and Wine has had some very interesting articles on new products and they are actual journalist written articles like one on the Schmidt Bros new line of kitchen knives which I just ordered. Those are the kinds of articles and recipes I'd like to see in a new mag.

          2. Saveur is the only one I look forward to receiving in the mail.

            Far behind are Bon Appetit (all my "free" Gourmet subscriptions from ecookbooks.com were transferred to BA) and Food & Wine. Sometimes they go directly into the trash (oops, I mean recycle bin) after I flip through them.

            1. "Saveur" and "Eating Well" are the only ones I currently subscribe to & enjoy.

              1. I still get them all...but miss Gourmet...especially the pre_Ruth years. Nothing compares so I get them all and then hope to find something in each. I also added three travel magazines to make up for that aspect of Gourmet.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Tripper

                  I agree - the "old" Gourmets were the best. As much as I admire Reichl's writing, I was not
                  crazy about the direction she took with the magazine. As I am currently downsizing and
                  recycling, I have flipped through dozens of copies in the last year or so saving certain
                  reviews and travel pieces, and the earlier ones, although obviously not as current in info,
                  were, to me, superior. (Didn't realize my late husband has issues back to the '70s
                  stashed away! I now have two giant boxes of "clips" to be filed.)

                  Currently subscribe to F&W and BA, but am not terribly impressed with either - some
                  interesting recipes but little substance. Regularly pick up Cooking Light and Eating
                  Well because I'm trying to cook healthier meals - may subscribe because it's so much
                  cheaper to do so. Also may restart my husband's Wine Specator which I let lapse -
                  not that I buy that much wine, but I've found myself picking it up frequently because of
                  some the topics featured on the cover.

                2. Saveur is quite something! Cook's Illustr., i'm sure is for robots.

                  8 Replies
                  1. re: hetook

                    Robots who don't have Joy or Cooking programmed into them, I think. I have no idea why everyone loves it so much.

                    1. re: YAYME

                      I guess I'm in the minority here, I like CI. Maybe it's the robot in me, but they're easily the most "hypothesis driven" cooking magazine ever (eg. "we cooked turkey 80+ different ways..."). So maybe it's the OCD cooking crowd they're after, rather than the robot crowd. Either way, poor pictures, and forget the travel/leisure/culture aspects, it's all about the food. And I also like the way they test time-honored cooking lore. Saveur has the best food porn, though.

                      1. re: lenmad

                        I got a new subscription to CI after years without it because I like to refer to it now and then but I probably will not renew it though I do like their equipment and product reviews. I loved Bon Appetit in the 90s like some above but the recipes are not as good or reliable anymore. I miss Gourmet for food porn and pics. One of my current favorites (please do not groan) is Cooking Light. I have never liked or used their dessert recipes much but some of the quick dinners and other veg and meat recipes are very good and in my everyday file. As a bonus, you know how much fat, etc. you are eating.

                        1. re: tvmovielover

                          I got a groaner too.Mine is Vegitarian Times...I'm not even a vegi

                        2. re: lenmad

                          Lenmad, I totally agree about CI. Just because Kimball's greedy marketing people turned me totally against subscribing < and what is this on-line subscription nonsense?) doesn't mean the concept is not good. At least for those of us who like a little Alton Browning on techniques. I think some of their recalibrated recipes and techniques are extremely valuable and I always learn something when I watch ATK. I just get weary of Kimball's down Easter, bow tied Yankee persona. It's so fake. They are based right in Brookline, which is about a mile from Fenway Park.

                          1. re: sandiasingh

                            I really liked the older Cook's Illustrated. It had better recipes, and the explanations were simpler.
                            I also really liekd the old feature that had them test two cookbooks per issue. They didn't just read the cookbook, but tested it, said what they made and how it came out. Maybe they stopped once they realized it might cannibalize their own books?
                            So what DO I like? I like Jamie Oliver's cookbook. Asked for a subscription for Christmas.
                            I like Lucky Peach enough to read on the shelf, but not enough to buy.

                            1. re: Westy

                              Yeah, I liked the CI cookbook tests too and wish they would start that again. I also prefer the older issues and those are the ones that I still have several of for reference.

                      2. re: hetook

                        Great way of putting it! I love 'Delicious'. You can't subscribe to it in the US but I get it at Barnes & Noble.

                      3. Had bound Gourmet's from 1952 through 2008, they are now gone. Only food magazine l still get is Saveur. Just pulled an article on NC grits and ordered them, always find interesting things, like what 30 different types of onions are or 15 types of sweet potatoes are.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                          Have subscriptions to Cook's Country, Cuisine at Home, and Bon Appetite, and online subscription to CI. ATK/CI/CC's recipes involve more of the science of cooking and that is why they make so many versions to find the best one.

                          Re: The ATK books; when you order, there is fine print that you agree to essentially sign up for a book club, and that they will send you a postcard (supposedly) for you to return if you do not want the book. I order their books, but from Amazon. They are usually cheaper that way, and I don't get stuck in a book club.

                        2. I unsubscribed from Cook's Illustrated and subscribed to Cook's Country instead. It's got much of the same types of recipes and other related information as CI, put together with a lot more personality and charm in a much nicer form factor (big and full-color). Like CI, most of the recipes work -fairly- well if followed to the letter, although for some reason they recommend ridiculously tiny amounts of salt and spices (e.g. 1/8 tsp of cinnamon for an entire coffee cake, or 1/4 tsp of salt for a large dish of roasted vegetables). I've gotten a number of good ideas from reading it over the years -- all in all quite happy with it.