Archive for the ‘reading’ Category

Food Magazines


Our friend Suzette asked:

What do you think are the best food periodicals out there right now? I really like finding a good food mag. in my mailbox mid the bills and ads.


A torchsong of a magazine: lush, spooky pictures, mad impractical travels, amazing food, some of it quite fast and easy but never unglamorous, serious articles about every aspect of food and cooking.

Bon Appétit
I can hardly remember what the old Bon Appétit looked like, the new one is so brash and shiny and comical.  They amaze me by publishing good, serious recipes in the midst of such of-the-moment and boffo visuals.

always a pleasure

Martha Stewart Living
Staid, careful, beautifully thought out recipes, fascinating themes, and of course you get the articles on how to cane your own furniture or how to grow hosteas in porcelain pots as bonus features.

Food & Wine
For some reason Food & Wine doesn’t make a strong impression on me.  Maybe there’s too much wine and too much fantasy travel.  Or too much wine and not enough food.  Or something.  Anyway, I always enjoy it when I actually read it, it just doesn’t call out to me.

good words

Wednesdays the New York Times publishes the Dining section, which I read cover to cover, and Sundays a food piece in the Magazine with at least one recipe.  Mark Bittman, Melissa Clark, Florence Fabricant, Amanda Hesser, reviews of restaurants in New York I will never go to, reviews of restaurants in New York I’ll go to on my next visit, gossip of the food world.  I’m addicted.

Vegetarian Times
A benevolent guide for omnivores like me who want to eat more plants.


Cook’s Illustrated
I’ve grown weary of their schtick, which involves starting from improbably bad beginnings and gradually building up to a real recipe.  I have scorned their tasters ever since they rejected okra in gumbo.  And I feel indifferent to much of their food.  But on the occasions when they’re treating a dish that interests me, I read every word and often write some down.

Cook’s Country
From the same stable as Cook’s Illustrated, they teeter on the edge of condescension to the casseroles and cakes of yester yore.

Great idea — a quarterly journal for academic food studies plus non-academic food professionals plus foodies.  The problem is that the academics write more than anybody else.  Classy visuals.


Cooking Light
They should change their name to Cooking Chicken.

Eating Well
There’s not enough progress in genuine nutritional knowledge to keep this magazine going.  Strangely pale, washed-out visuals.

not my thing

Everyday Food
Looks very nice.

Every Day with Rachel Ray
Looks chaotic and loud.


Formerly the most beautiful and intelligent food magazine of all time.

Taunton Fine Cooking
Formerly dowdy but perfectly clear, a masterpiece of classical magazine design.  Now weaving and bobbing like a friend who’s had a few too many.  The best ads of any food magazine, but will that continue with their new look?


I’m lucky to live in a town with several international magazine stores, and when I see them I always pick up a copy of Donna Hay, BBC’s Olive, and Waitrose Food Illustrated.


Cuisine at Home
They keep sending me free issues, trying to get me to sign up.  Heavy paper, boring process photographs, emphasis on meat.  Why won’t they leave me alone?

sui generis

Simple Cooking
John Thorne’s newsletter is jam-packed with something or other, but I think I haven’t been subscribing long enough to get the drift.


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Marcella Hazan

What experience of food can compare with eating something good made by someone you can hug?

                                                                — Marcella Hazan
                                                                     NYTimes 29 Nov 08 p. A21

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Last Night at MB’s


Last night I had the pleasure of dining alone (a very unusual occurrence), so I made the thing I most like to eat that my family doesn’t care about so much … salad.

Very simple too:  butter lettuce, red bell pepper, Morningstar Farms fake chicken buffalo wings, and a simple dressing of olive oil, lemon juice, and salt.

This, my friends, is comfort food at its best for me.  Lovely, simple, delicious.  Perfection.

M-C: Have you read Jenni Ferrari-Adler’s Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant (Riverhead, 2007)?  It’s a collection of essays with a good number of recipes on the topic of eating alone.  Some of the writers are cookfolk, like Marcella Hazan (Italian food) and Amanda Hesser (NYTimes) and Paula Wolfert (Mediterranean food), and some are litfolk, like Ann Patchett (novels) and Haruki Murakami (novels + short stories) and Rattawut Lapcharoensap (short stories).  A few of the pieces have been published previously, like Jonathan Ames’s “Eggs Over Uneasy”; most were written specially for the book, like Phoebe Nobles’s “Asparagus Superhero.”  Ferrari-Adler’s choices are discerning, and her arrangement of the pieces makes reading the book from one end to the other enjoyable, not always the case with collections.

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noodles w/soupmeat + pepper-nut dressing
cucumber salad

Another night alone, another noodle dish.  There’s a pattern here.

You might like to know that Judith Jones’s The Tenth Muse: My Life in Food (Knopf, 2007) includes some wonderful recipes and strategies for solo eating.  Jones is the legendary editor who shepherded Mastering the Art of French Cooking from manuscript to publication.  The book is light, discerning, and fluent, pure pleasure from one end to the other.

MB:  Ah, pasta.  It has long been my belief that pasta, not chocolate, is woman’s greatest friend.  But hey, maybe that’s just because I’m your daughter.

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