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January 2013 Bon Appetit a monumental waste of paper

I've been getting BA for years and years. Even since the redesign some months ago I usually find one or two things worth trying, and an article or two worth reading. This issue (the "cooking school" issue) is so geared to a rank beginner cook that it's a total joke. "How to pan roast" "how to make a salad". I flipped through it and was done in about 3 minutes.

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  1. I will not be renewing my subscription. I grew out of BA about 6 years ago or so, dislike it even more since it's redesign. Only reason I'm receiving it now is in compensation for a long term subscription to Gourmet after it died.

    Might as well be getting Cooking Light. That's what I've been finding with BA. Light on content, light on depth, light on creativity...

    4 Replies
    1. re: nlgardener

      yup, it is worthless to its old readership.

      1. re: nlgardener

        That Gourmet subscription must have been pretty long term! How long has it been? Three years?

        1. re: Shrinkrap

          Yes, I had a long term subscription and added more years on top of that when Gourmet sent me an offer I couldn't refuse. Then they stopped publishing, so I'm receiving BA instead.

          Lesson learned on long term subscriptions...

          1. re: nlgardener

            My BA from old Gourmet subscription just ended, too.

      2. I am a fairly new cook, and it was my favorite issue ever.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Allieroseww

          Allie, I can understand that. I guess I'm just upset because I've been subscribing for 25+ years (I really got turned on to cooking using this magazine in grad school) and this just had nothing to offer me.

          1. re: DGresh

            and Allie can't be the only one....It's not a bad thing to dedicate an issue to basics...both for beginners, and as a review for us veterans.

        2. Same here. Yawn. I agree with others, and won't be renewing this year.

          1. Definitely not a great issue for me, though I have enjoyed a few over the past year.

            1. I flipped through in about a half hour. Nothing that really appealed to me.

              1. I have never thought a BA as a "cooks" magazine, at least not for years and years. When I first graduated from college BA and Gourmet taught me to be a more adventurous cook. They also gave me the tools needed to plan successful menus and parties. This many years later I don't expect to learn anything new.

                The key to keeping their readership is by getting new ones. Its like many retailers. Think Burberry. They were going to go under if they just hoped their existing customer would need new raincoats. They needed to get new (younger) customers in the door. BA is the same way. While it will be nice for them if the old timers keep renewing what they really need is consistent amount for new readers. They don't want the experienced cooks, they want to new ones.

                2 Replies
                1. re: foodieX2

                  Of course you are right. Sort of like what happened with Abercrombie and Fitch :) My husband (a rather buttoned-down type) used to buy his clothes there. Was *he* surprised some years ago with what it became!

                  I know they probably don't really need old fogies like me anymore.

                  1. re: DGresh

                    Ugh Abercrombie these days. The smell alone, never mind the noise. My dad would be rolling in his grave if he knew his favorite "outdoor/sporting good" stores was now for naked teenagers!

                2. I'm just grateful that they didn't fall into the stereotypical January theme of "diet" food.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: rasputina

                    So true, Rasputina. I usually detest the January issues of cooking magazines!

                    So, experienced cooks, if Bon Appetit is no longer challenging and Gourmet is gone, tell me, what are your favorites?

                    1. re: Allieroseww

                      Although I really do like print, if I want current information about food, restaurants, etc., I go to on-line sites like Saveur, La Cucina Italiana, The Guardian (UK) and others, and blogs I feel are reliable. For recipes I go to my own in-house cookbook library.

                      1. re: Gio

                        I completely agree with Gio. Bon Appetit has become a complete and utter joke--a total pompous dorky dude mag that's sort of awkwardly about food and has really lousy writing. I use the Saveur website all the time and recently renewed my Saveur subscription, since it's the last serious mainstream food magazine in the U.S. Guardian food website is terrific and I also cruise by Australian Gourmet Traveller from time to time.

                    2. re: rasputina

                      Those diet January issues are on a par with the same old Thanksgiving November issues.

                    3. 2012 is the last year that I subscribe to BA. Not renewing next year... I'm just not that interested in content that I can zip through in a few minutes.

                      1. Ever since they changed their editor in chief, bon appetit seems to be getting worse and worse. Some of the food articles and layouts seem to have been created by a bunch of guys getting together to grab a few beers (not that there's anything wrong with that, but there is a time and a place. Not much depth, no serious cooking. Increasingly frustrated, i've started going back to Saveur (a lot more serious) and even picked up Cooks Illustrated. Articles like the latest "detox" are interesting, but would be better suited for Shape, Eating Well, or Men's Health magazine, they don't belong in a magazine that is supposed to focus on great tasting food, butter and all! BA has started to resemble Food Network magazine, which let's face it, it's a joke full of advertisements and zero food complexity.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: heredlo

                          I agree and I"m really sad to see how bad it is. I had to swap out a magazine subscription as the one I wanted folded so I was offered BA for 6 mos.... pity!

                          1. re: heredlo

                            Yes! I had to chime in here with a specific complaint about the Feb 2013 issue...

                            The "Lifestyle by Design" interview with Kelly Wearstler, where she talks about her early morning boot camp classes (800 calories burned, y'all!) and the fact that she only eats solid food once a day. The rest of the time, she drinks vegetable juice, alkaline water (huh?) and plankton drops. Seriously?? Tell us why this is in a *food* magazine again? Seems more suited to a periodical entitled "Non Appetit" to me...

                            1. re: Monzie

                              +1 on that. Not what I wanna hear about. Not much bon in that appetit.

                              1. re: Monzie

                                I agree that has no place in a food magazine. However, I think there's room for stories like BA's "Food-lovers' cleanse," which was all about eating delicious healthy food (as opposed to just juices or whatever). I don't think discussions about health and even weight should be barred from food magazines, as long as the focus is still on preparing tasty dishes.

                            2. I'm going to be the one to dissent about the January issue. BA is not my fave by a long shot, but I, too have the Gourmet leftover sub. That said, because my cooking has undergone a radical change in the last 10 months after my husband died and I am just now starting to cook anything beyond an occasional dessert for a party or random batch of soup, I found some of the techniques a good reminder and update on things. I have pretty good experience and eater reviews on the way I cooked for many years, but this mostly-cooking-for-one is a shock, and the mag sort of reinvigorated me.

                              Obviously, YMMV - and clearly it has - but it just hit me right.

                              2 Replies
                                1. re: lemons

                                  Good for you. I also enjoy the magazine and don't quite get the disdain expressed here. It's not necessarily teaching me much at this point but that's not why I read magazines. I just like the escape- the articles about exotic places, the overpriced pretty stuff I'll never buy, the hipster bent it seems to have acquired. It's like a sitcom- not making me smarter but enjoyable nonetheless. Good luck on your cooking for one journey.

                                2. I used to get annoyed myself a few years ago with fashion magazines that detailed, yet again, an easy way to apply mascara.

                                  Then I realized that there are twenty year olds also reading the magazine and maybe they don't know yet.

                                  After awhile, you have to look elsewhere for new and innovative!

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: Violatp

                                    True. So what's a good alternative. Some years back I subscribed to Saveur, but as I recall it was somewhat light on recipes (though interesting) and often the ingredients were hard to come by. I have a monumental spice collection (I'm probably in the top .5% on that) but I don't want to have to drive to some obscure street in an outer borough to get a new one!

                                    1. re: DGresh

                                      Heh. I gave up on magazines and started reading Chowhound!

                                  2. It was a fairly light issue, I agree. I get the magazine for free because of my (ahem) strategically timed purchases from Jessica's Biscuit. It is certainly a good value for the price I pay. :-)