...sometimes even a single feather is enough to fly. (Robert Maclean)


6 best food magazines

 I'm not much of cook (and that's an understatement!), at least not yet anyway, but that doesn't stop me from enjoying food magazines.  Over the years I've gotten hundreds of issues, devoured and dog-eared them, and saved recipes for that elusive "someday" when I might start to get my proverbial feet wet in the kitchen.  If nothing else, they whet my appetite, and sometimes, if I get lucky (when she takes a break from her other reading material), they inspire Bootsy to get busy in the kitchen.  And when she gets busy in the kitchen, delicious things always happen. 

I've subscribed to a bunch of food related magazines over the years, 
but these are my tried and trues, my 6 best, which I recommend, hands down:

Fine Cooking
Total eye candy.  Probably the best photos of any food magazine.  Nothing too outrageous, but some nice creative riffs on classic fare.  There's an emphasis on fresh and seasonal, whole foods, and keeping flavors clean.  (Thankfully there's no skimping and no diet-talk, which I absolutely loathe in food magazines or cookbooks.)  Most recipes look fairly straightforward, do-able, and have all been tested.  You can't go wrong.  

Edible Fingerlakes
I absolutely love that this magazine is so LOCAL.  I read through it and see so many faces from our local farmer's market, and discover new farmers, restaurants, and other food purveyors slightly further away that I didn't know about.  I plan summer day trips and exploratory afternoon adventures around what I find.  The recipe portion of the magazine is relatively small, but always good, and always seasonal.  They have Edible magazines in many local-food-centered communities around the country.  Check it out and see if there's an Edible near you. 

Bon Appetit
The former Gourmet magazine used to be one of my favorites, but alas they are no longer except for some special editions and cookbooks they put out.  Bon Appetit has been a nice fill-in and has its own merits.  One of my favorite features is in the front of the magazine where readers have written in about something that they loved at a restaurant somewhere that the magazine then seeks out the recipe to share with everyone.  There's always something interesting in there.  But really, the whole magazine is usually quite good.  On an average month there are probably at least a dozen recipes that I save. 

Oh good God.  If you love cheese even half as much as I do, you will swoon over this.  You will daydream about quitting your job to a) become a cheesemaker or b) open your own cheese shop because your refrigerator is no longer big enough for all of your cheeses and it'd be nice to write off all of the money you spend on cheese as a business expense or c) travel all over the world in search of more cheese, or d) all of the above.   Need I say anymore?

Saveur stands out from the others in that it goes really in depth into one particular food or theme.  If it's a theme that you like, you're in luck.  Occasionally the theme is something that doesn't excite me, but that doesn't happen often.  They also publish an issue each year that's the '100 best' of something that year, and while sometimes it gets tedious, there are always treasures in there.  Out of all of the magazines, this one challenges me the most -- pushing into different flavor zones that I definitely wouldn't think about, and sometimes am still unsure about, but try to keep an open mind.  It's definitely the most worldly. 

La Cucina Italiana
I was on the fence about this one for awhile, and even let my subscription lapse, but I found that I missed it.  I like the stories.  It makes me feel like I'm on vacation in Italy when I'm reading it.  The recipe titles are first written in Italian and then in English, so I've learned some Italian foodie vocabulary without even trying.  It's helped me to think about different things like zucchini blossoms, chestnut flour, and ways to use things that I'm not terribly attracted to like anchovies and bitter greens.  The desserts consistently look spot on.  There's always plenty of olive oil, garlic, and italian cheeses... and I don't think there's ever an issue without pasta.  And I'm not talking about heavy pasta drowning in something like cheese or meat or sauce.  The pasta in La Cucina Italiana looks so light, so pure and holy, that sometimes my old Catholic roots kick in and I feel an internal need to genuflect.  

So what does a girl do with gobs of recipes?  Why, she organizes them of course: 

Back in the day I used to just save my food magazines, but that quickly began to take up too much space, and finding recipes I wanted to look at again was cumbersome and frustrating.  Then Sasha enlightened me about her friend Sigrid's method, which is essentially to cut out the recipe and glue it to some 5" x 8" index cards.  I put the picture on the front of the card, note the source, and then glue the recipe to the back.  My general rule of thumb is that if the recipe doesn't fit on the back of the card -- it's probably so complicated that I won't ever want to make it, no matter how good it looks.  

The 5x8 index cards, storage boxes, and tab dividers are available at Staples, 
or probably any office supply store.  

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