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Jul 31, 2012 10:20 AM

A new low for cooking magazines

I had to do a double, triple, quadruple take to make sure I wasn't missing something. No, not an ingredient to make some mouthwatering recipe which would send my taste buds soaring- but to make sure I was really seeing a "recipe", in Bon Appetit's August 2012 issue. Luckily I no longer pay for the magazine- which leads to my next shudder of disgust- why would Epicurious choose to publish this recipe on their site?????

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  1. So sad. I guess they thought some people might need to know the order in which to do things. What if they sprinkled the herbs on first, before the olive oil?

    I have noticed that there is a fair amount of repetitiveness out there. I used to love .delicious magazine (Australian and UK versions) but after a number of issues, there seemed to be repeats of the same thing with some small tweaks. I'm looking for new ideas, not more of the same. I want exciting new flavor combinations, not the same old tired things.

    3 Replies
    1. re: chefhound

      Geez--I should submit this "vintage" tomato recipe--we used to "make" the following when we were kids:
      Take a tomato from the vine/plant
      Get mom to cut it in half
      Oh yeah. don't forget to wipe the tomato clean.
      Sprinkly salt.
      Eat with your hands.
      Wipe juice off of chin with forearm
      Jump into sprinkler on lawn.

      1. re: jarona

        My dad had you beat. He'd walk out into his garden with a salt shaker. Maybe he'd wipe the tomato off on his shirt before sprinkling some salt on it and eating it. I don't know. I didn't like tomatoes back then. I sure do now.

      2. re: chefhound

        Yum. My favourite lunch recipe to enjoy right after Banana for breakfast.

      3. Why is that a 'low'? Do recipes or food ideas have to be complicated or non-obvious to be good?

        Is it any simpler or more obvious than this one from Food & Wine?
        with bread, chocolate, olive oil and salt

        11 Replies
        1. re: paulj

          I never said the recipe had to be complicated or non obvious- but this is not a recipe. This treating readers like morons. If I need to "look up" a recipe for a sliced tomato salad, I probably shouldn't be attempting to cook.

          Telling people to slice tomatoes, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and fresh herbs is not a recipe. They don't even give amounts...

          What's next, a "recipe" for toast? How to "prepare" a bowl of cheerios in the morning?

          This is Bon Appetit- and Epicurious.

          1. re: maisonbistro

            Was this recipe part of an article in BA? I've learned in other 'new low' threads, that context means a lot.

            1. re: maisonbistro

              "If I need to "look up" a recipe for a sliced tomato salad, I probably shouldn't be attempting to cook."

              Especially not with sharp knives.

              1. re: maisonbistro

                Hear! Hear! Thank you for pointing out the trend in dumbed-down, low-brow cuisine for mass appeal, something we're also seeing in cookbooks. Last spring, a publishing house actually published Ree Drummond's Pioneer Woman Cookbook that contained "recipes" for hamburgers and fried eggs. Someone shoot me now.

                1. re: LindyCindy

                  I just watched a show were two "chefs" made grilled cheese. LOL!!!!

                  1. re: tommy

                    I didn't see the show, but I can imagine a Grilled Cheese can be stepped up significantly by a good chef. I saw Eric Greenspan's (of The Foundry ) on a show called something like "America's Top Comfort Foods" (Alton Brown??). Interestingly, none of the comfort foods on that show were comfort foods for me -- no doubt because I'm an immigrant -- so it set me on a month-long project to recreate my own comfort foods.

                    Edit: I see LA actually has an annual Grilled Cheese competition (which Eric Greenspan won one year):
                    Sounds like fun. Maybe I'd do a limburger sandwich. Unfortunately, I'm in Joisey where we have crab cake competitions but no grilled cheese competitions.

                    1. re: tommy

                      Drummond made a casserole using two cans of cream of mushroom soup. And isn't that what most serious foodies are looking for, a recipe, circa 1960, that can be found in most church cookbooks? Sad, really.

                    2. re: LindyCindy

                      Else where you expressed your admiration of the Food52 blog. What do you think of this recipe from 2 years ago?

                      Expensive Tomatoes

                      Serves 2
                      2 Large heirloom tomatoes Ask a question about this ingredient
                      1 dash Good course salt

                      The instructions are a bit more complicated, something about buying the tomatoes as a S Calif farmers market (but that's another thread).

                      1. re: paulj

                        Though in fairness the "Expensive Tomatoes" recipe was submitted by a Food52 member ("Jestei") not by any of the Food52 staffers ( )

                      2. re: LindyCindy

                        SmittenKitchen has this tomato salad

                        "Assemble salad: Halve each tomato lengthwise and arrange cut side up on a platter. Whisk together vinegar, olive oil, salt, sugar and a few grinds of pepper in a small dish. Drizzle over tomatoes. Sprinkle tomatoes with crushed croutons. Garnish with slivers of basil."

                        Nearly as simple as the BA recipe (sliced tomatoes plus seasoning), except there is a long photo essay (isn't that what PW is noted for?), and an elaborate crouton preparation.

                    3. re: paulj

                      Certainly it's more obvious than the Food & Wine recipe. Although Nutella, of course, contains chocolate...putting bittersweet chocolate on bread with olive oil and salt is not a combination that I would think commonplace.

                    4. Nah, just because it's a no brainer to us, doesn't mean it is to like 90% of their readers.

                      Trust me, to many people this is a recipe.

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: Crockett67

                        I agree. I had to explain my warm caprese pasta to my friend a few weeks ago: cooked farfelle, cubed fresh mozzarella, halved grape tomatoes, fresh basil, olive oil, salt, and pepper. I thought it was incredibly easy and obvious but she asked me to write it all down so she could make it one day.

                        What some people think is obvious others just know nothing about.

                        1. re: Njchicaa

                          Or maybe like me, she just has a poor memory and needs to write things down...

                        2. re: Crockett67


                          I have friends who would consider that a recipe. They're not cooks. They don't particularly enjoy cooking, but do so to feed their families. If they ever expressed interest in such a dish, they would HAVE to have some kind of reference because they're not confident in their skill set.

                          We're looking at this from the other end, so yeah, to us it's a no-braner.

                          1. re: xo_kizzy_xo

                            If they ever expressed interest in such a dish, they would HAVE to have some kind of reference because they're not confident in their skill set.
                            These people wouldn't be reading BA or surfing This sounds more like a RR recipe and would pair well with this one:

                            1. re: al b. darned

                              In most cases, you're no doubt correct. However, you'd be surprised how many noncooks surf all kinds of food sites. One of my friends is an adamant FN/RR hater and will always turn to epicurious first because "they're the experts".

                              1. re: al b. darned

                                I disagree. BA is a magazine for foodie wannabes. Some of those folks have no idea where to start and came from noncooking households so may never, ever ha ve thought of something so simple that would be so good. Chowhounds generally have far more culinary knowledge and experience than BA's target audience, in my opinion.

                          2. I've seen worse on this site. Yes, there are people that need an explanation, apparently. It was probably part of a photo display so the "recipe" is included as par for the course.

                            1. I'm all for easy dishes but that, truly, is a bit much. You'd think with that degree of specificity, they'd describe the exact type of tomato, the width of the slices, the type of knife to use...

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: tcamp

                                A good cook needs inspiration, not those kinds of details.