Best cooking magazine ?

I am trying to to decide on a cooking magazine to subscribe to. Any opinions in Bon Appetite or Cooking Light or other suggestions? Thanks!

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kbckitchen
kbckitchen May 21, 2012

I personally live Bon appetit. Not crazy about saveur

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Voted the Best Reply!

ChefOno
ChefOno May 21, 2012


Cook's Illustrated

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Sam1148
Sam1148 May 22, 2012

I like their magazine. But heaven help you if you cancel...they'll continue to send you magazines and bills...and once a year books 'best of" that you didn't order or request.

But that's not too bad, as I write "Did not order do not bill" on the bills they send me, as is my legal right for unsolicited books and magazines and hey it's 'free stuff' under postal regulations.

Good magazine, but horrible businesses practices. I signed up for their web site for a couple of years and canceled a few months before my 'script expired, even tho it was paid for a year of access--they even somehow charged a expired CC that was registered on my Acct. Which was a pain because it zero and paid off until they dinged it was even more of pain as it was 'expired' and the payment was overlooked for that CC on my end which took a while with the CC company to get right so it didn't effect my rating.
Not only that; they wanted even more money for "Cooks Country" access on their website, but after I canceled they shut down my acct instantly----even tho I had paid for a entire year. I'm sure I could have cleared that up calls, letters, complaints etc. But I just chalked it up and learned to live without them. And you'd think after 4 years---they'd stop sending me books (and bills) I didn't request packed in a self destructive package so if you open it, to get the RMA sticker you have would have to repackage yourself to send back. Nope, If you didn't order it's a 'free gift' under regulations and they still haven't got the message.

Check out google search on "Cook Illustrated Scam" with keywords. It was a big headache until I just decided stop calling them and spend a stamp on the bills and 'thank you for the gift, did not order do not bill"..it takes a few times; but eventually they stopped sending bills---but not sending a once yearly book and random magazines.


Yeah, it is a great magazine, but their customer service and practices are kinda shady if you want to get out.

ChefOno
ChefOno May 22, 2012

I've heard stories like yours before so I braced myself for a fight when a book arrived unsolicited a year or so ago. One call to their 800 number took care of it, quickly and politely. Maybe they've straightened up their act…

Sam1148
Sam1148 May 22, 2012

The best thing for unsolicited books...don't call. You're legally allowed to keep a book you didn't order. Specific laws were enacted about this ages ago; so if a company sends you stuff you didn't order---it's legally yours. And it shouldn't be "YOUR" problem to correct it.
The billing you get later is another problem..just write "did not order, do not bill" on the bill they'll send and put a stamp on it send it back...it might a take a few cycles to get the message through..but they bank on the fact that most just give up and pay for it. But they'll stop.

ChefOno
ChefOno May 22, 2012

I absolutely agree it shouldn't be your problem to correct but sometimes a pragmatic approach is simply less stressful. Calling gets you to an agent trained in resolving problems and the issue can be put to rest forthwith. The mail goes to a another department (often a contracted fulfillment company) and, as you know, there's a entirely different philosophy employed there. Besides, I'd rather them foot the bill for the call than have to pay for the stamps.

bugbitten
bugbitten May 28, 2012

I agree about Cooks. My solution to Sam's problem is to just keep throwing money at them until they quiet down. I've tried writing to them often, appealing for all my life. that they stop referring to aluminum foil as "disposable aluminum foil." This drives me nuts, and is actually how I wondered onto 52, looking for other angry persons. I buy the bound annual versions and use the website as an interactive index. Their recipes force me to think even when I don't follow them.

kbckitchen
kbckitchen May 21, 2012

I really like cooks illustrated also. Great techniques but I still prefer Bon appetit for the diversity

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HalfPint
HalfPint May 22, 2012

I love Saveur for its interesting articles on food and culture. It's not heavy on recipes which suits me because I like learning about new places and their foods, not just recipes. I use to subscribe to both Bon Appetit and Cook's Illustrated. While I enjoyed the recipes, it became a bit mind-numbing and repetitive after a couple of years. My palate definitely changed and I think that my food interest changed as well. So if you are just starting your food journey, both magazines are good "gateway" mags. Saveur is good for when you got more confident with your cooking.

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Melusine
Melusine May 22, 2012

Intermezzo! It's published every other month, and combines food and travel articles and recipes in a terrific way -- the articles aren't just glorified advertisements. I've subscribed for several years, and just love it. The recipes are sophisticated, but very do-able. The current issue has a 'seafood extravaganza' theme. Seriously yum.

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The Spiced Life
The Spiced Life May 22, 2012

Saveur, Bon Appetit, and Fine Cooking are all happily received at my house (although I might not renew Saveur, let's not forget that BA is substantially cheaper than the other 2, so if cost is a factor it's your best bet) and all fulfill very different needs/interests/etc. So it is hard to advise further without knowing more! :)

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olygirl
olygirl May 22, 2012

Just a quickie about Cooks illustrated, yes, they do solicit for a lot of subscriptions, but that's mainly because they don't rely heavily on advertising, which gives them the opportunity to run fairly thorough taste tests and equipment ratings. The Better Business Bureau currently gives them an A+. They have had some complaints through the years, but are rated generally well for resolving them. I like them because they break down the science of cooking and offer fairly easy, foolproof recipes.

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ChefOno
ChefOno May 22, 2012

Yay science!

Maedl
Maedl May 22, 2012

I subscribe to BA, CI, and Saveur. BA is more style oriented, and if you are into that sort of thing, it is fine. for my taste, it is way too fluffy. It doesn't hold a candle to the late, lamented Gourmet, and I will most likely not renew my subscription because I am still so aggravated with Conde Nast for pulling the plug on Gourmet.

CI provides a good scientific approach to food, and is reliable and a good reference. Saveur is my favorite, because I am most interested in the cultural aspects of food and that is Saveur's beat. I also have a subscription to Gastronomica, a food journal published by UC-Berkeley, and to the Art of Eating. Both are excellent and offer thoughtful writing about food and related topics.

The NY Times recently mentioned some food publications and one that looked especially appealing was Wilder, another quarterly journal. A print subcription is almost $60, but Zinio offers a digital subscription for $29. I am sure I will shortly cave in to that temptation.

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healthierkitchen
healthierkitchen May 22, 2012

In addition to many of the others mentioned above, I have been really liking Food & Wine lately. Lucky Peach is an interesting read, too. For healthier eating, Eating Well is very good.

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cowgirlculture
cowgirlculture May 22, 2012

Thank you for your advice! I was just unsure of the differences between some of my options. I knew that the food52 community would know!

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TheFritschKitchen
TheFritschKitchen May 22, 2012

I currently subscribe to both BA and Cooking Light. BA is my favorite of the two and I plan on not renewing my CL subscription. I find that with their recipes it is often hit or miss with the results. Nearly every time I am blown away by BA. I love the In the BA Kitchen section they have every month. Quick, fast, absolutely delicious week night meals. It's the first thing I flip to!

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sexyLAMBCHOPx
sexyLAMBCHOPx May 22, 2012

Everyday Food. It's a quick read that reminds me to eat in season and keep it simple.

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susan g
susan g May 22, 2012

Eating Well, Saveur. I think after a while any magazine gets to be a burden! Too many recipes, articles: how do you keep up? But they give pleasure.
For a couple years I got DISH, a food magazine from New Zealand, from Zinio (online). I found that it was awkward to use, but a fantastic magazine.

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Peter
Peter May 22, 2012

Cowgirl, it depends on your goal. If you're looking to *learn* *how* to cook from the magazine, then Cooks Illustrated can't be beat.

If you're looking for simple, everyday recipe ideas (especially for feeding a family) well... Everyday Food is a winner.

If you're looking to read about food culture as much as see interesting new recipes then Saveur.

Fine Cooking is a bit like Cooks Illustrated but seems a little more advanced from what I recall.

And don't know Bon Appetit really as I was always a Gourmet Magazine guy.

Do let us know what you end up getting and what you thought!

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pierino
pierino May 22, 2012

Okay, here's the wild card, and I get all the magazines and quarterlies. Lucky Peach is new, now up to issue #3. If you can find issue #1 used it might cost you $250. The relentless David Chang is the evil mastermind behind it.

Cooks Illustrated is for sissies.

Even though I didn't renew my subscription to Bon Appetit they still send it to me anyway, I'm guessing for advertising revenue.

I'm not in love with current editorship of Saveur since Colman Andrews departed but they did win a Beard award this year.

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Shaelyn,Clements
Shaelyn,Clements May 22, 2012

I love Eating Well. Not a fan of Cooking Light.

And agree with everyone that Cooks Illustrated is a great overall resource for your kitchen.

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Tony S
Tony S May 22, 2012

Adding to Peter's comment about useful magazines for those that are just getting into cooking. Cuisine is well laid out, has useful pictures, and typically uses readily available ingredients.

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petitbleu
petitbleu May 22, 2012

Love Bon Appetit. I also love Gastronomica, but that's not really a cooking magazine. If you like to read about food, though, it's great. I'm not wild about Cooks Illustrated. They recycle content over and over and over in all their affiliated magazines. They also have a way of being pushy with selling you things. AND I don't trust people who review products as if they're being impartial, and then the next thing you know, you buy a KitchenAid stand mixer attachment, and there's a Cooks Illustrated advertisement in the box. I smell something fishy there. But then again, I'm kind of a grump about things like that. I know there's probably a lot of good information in there, but take it with a grain of salt ;)

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Peter
Peter May 22, 2012

Totally agree that they recycle content from magazine to magazine and over the years within the same magazine... that said, if you're relatively new to cooking and new to the magazine it's, as they used to say about NBC reruns, "new to you".

In my experience, you'll enjoy the magazine and the material for about 3 years before it starts to become a bit stale.

ChefOno
ChefOno May 22, 2012


The reason you see CI advertisements in KitchenAid product boxes is because CI pays for that advertising -- not the other way around. Targeted advertising is hardly something to be grumpy about. Unless it's the blow-in cards in Bon Appétit…

ChefJune
ChefJune May 22, 2012

The only consumer food magazine I subscribe to is Saveur. (I do miss Gourmet.)

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HalfPint
HalfPint May 22, 2012

Me too.

louisez
louisez May 22, 2012

Me three.... I don't think any of the current magazines can equal Gourmet, both for recipes and articles (travel, restaurants, chefs). I used to subscribe to some of the others, but have abandoned them all. I'm much happier with what I find online (viz. Food52.com).

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susan g
susan g May 22, 2012

Well, I think you have all the input we can provide. What I would do now is go to my public library, which has a magazine section that carries some of these magazines. If you can, check out a couple of issues of as many as they provide. You can take them home, browse, read, maybe do a little cooking. Another 'try before you buy' strategy is to go to a really good newsstand and buy whichever ones appeal to you. Another thing I've been doing is to get the free newsletters from their websites -- again, so you can see what the magazine offers and whether it appeals to you. Then (on the website, or in the cards tucked into the magazines), find a good offer and subscribe. You can't go totally wrong with any of them!

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cowgirlculture
cowgirlculture May 22, 2012

Thank you all! Our library has cooks illustrated and everyday food and I do look those which is fun! Thank y'all for all the advice! I agree that food52 has tons of wonderful resources!!! I was just wanting a fun inspirational magazine to be able to take outside while the kids play in the water and what not. Soooo now is the hard part of deciding. Thanks again!!

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Bevi
Bevi May 23, 2012

CI, BA, and Fine Cooking. The all-utility pot roast recipe from Fine Cooking of a few years ago is one of the best formula recipes - pick one from column A, 2 from Column B, etc. etc. - that I have ever seen. I also love to use the Mark Bittman weekly NYT magazine article - he also breaks down cooking steps and shows you how to change up ingredients.

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Gibson2011
Gibson2011 May 23, 2012

I've subscribed to BA for about four years and I think I'll let my subscription run out this year. I suppose I'm looking more for recipes than basic cooking tips and travel to exotic places. I really enjoyed when Molly Wizenburg wrote a column for them, but am not thrilled with their new guest column. Also, I really dislike the reporting of celebrities' food habits.

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SMSF
SMSF May 23, 2012

Gibson2011 -- you might enjoy Saveur! I agree with you about Bon Appetit, too.

SMSF
SMSF May 23, 2012

I like Fine Cooking, Cook's Illustrated, and Saveur. I found Bon Appetit more interesting when I was learning how to cook "for real". I enjoy the science of Cook's Illustrated and have made many of their recipes as written. I rarely do that otherwise, but in this case I figure they've done all the trial-and-error, so why mess with that?

Fine Cooking gives me a lot of great ideas, and I particularly like the way they do their features on substituting ingredients to make new flavor profiles for dishes. Bevi mentioned above the one for pot roast, and they've also done a great one for meatloaf in the past year or so. I'm getting hungry now!

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GIOVANNI50
GIOVANNI50 May 23, 2012

I personally like La Cucina Italiana, and Saveur. Bon Appetit is also good. I don't subscribe but browse at Barnes and Noble and get one if I see something interesting

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pierino
pierino May 23, 2012

The American edition of La Cucina has seriously improved, and is not a bad rec. It used to be that they would publish articles that were a year old translated from the Italian edition. If you can read Italian, AND can find the current issue (expensive) then that too is another choice.

healthierkitchen
healthierkitchen May 23, 2012

No one else for Food and Wine?

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BoulderGalinTokyo
BoulderGalinTokyo May 28, 2012

Well, I would drool over the mag and decide which wine I wanted to pair with my turkey, but after going to 3 liquor stores and not finding the wines they'd highlighted, I just thought It wasn't for me.

Dan Barthel
Dan Barthel May 23, 2012

Fine Cooking or Cooks Illustrated would be my two recommendations. No fluff, just great articles and recipes that really work.

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irinaleibo
irinaleibo May 24, 2012

Saveur and La Cucina Italiana. I agree that Bon Appetit is a good gateway for starter cooks.
Good luck
irina

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Linn
Linn May 24, 2012

My subscriptions are Eating Well and Saveur. May not renew Saveur ... Guess when all is said and done, I prefer books. Actually, just picked up Essential Pepin today.

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BoulderGalinTokyo
BoulderGalinTokyo May 25, 2012

Haha, just love this topic.
I started Southern Living when we lived in DC because the gardening articles were the same seasons as here. Go figure.... Then took Cooking Light for years thinking I was doing something good for myself until I realized they are light on fats and eggs but TOTALLY LOADED WITH CARBS.

But the yearly compilations of SUNSET recipes I won't part with.

I do like La Cucina and Fine Cooking.

Does Lucky Peach have an iPad version?

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Shazza
Shazza May 25, 2012

Love Saveur. Love to see it in my mailbox. Have subscribed to Bon Appetit for almost 20 yrs. It's a staple. Photography better in Savuer.

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Miachef
Miachef May 25, 2012

I recommend either Food & Wine or Bon Appetit. I think Food & Wine is more consistent, which is why I subscribe...and the wine coverage is good. I pick up an occasional issue of Bon Appetit, but most are good.

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Meghann Cantey
Meghann Cantey May 26, 2012

I really like BA, CI, etc., and I think I'm gonna like Lucky Peach, but I love Food Network magazine. Say what you will! It is fun, entertaining and has good recipes. Since you said you were looking for a 'watching the kids play' kinda mag, I think this one fits the bill perfectly. My children even like looking through it with me.

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dymnyno
dymnyno May 26, 2012

I really like the BA iPad app.

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Steven J
Steven J May 27, 2012

Subscribe to Bon Ap, Saveur and Lucky Peach, but have also been enjoying the new online food mag Spenser. www.spensermag.com It's free to read.

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Vickie
Vickie May 27, 2012

Bon Appetit.

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rtg
rtg May 28, 2012

It has to be Saveur or Donna Hay. Both are brilliant.

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Regine
Regine May 28, 2012

The best TESTED recipes come from Cooks Illustrated, Country Cooks(or Cooks Country) and Fine Cooking. I find that some recipes in Food and Wine, Saveur, and Bon Appetit are better on paper than when made according to directions.

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PatriciaScarpin
PatriciaScarpin May 29, 2012

Donna Hay magazine - I have been a subscriber since 2006 and I use it all the time, for both savory and sweet recipes.

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milkyacid
milkyacid May 29, 2012

my mom and I have been picking out great and tasty recipes out of Gourmet Magazine for years now, it's definitely a good one to try. several Gourmet recipes are part of our kitchen lifestyles now. you'll definitely appreciate it :)

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annski
annski May 31, 2012

I mourn the demise of Gourmet. Nothing will ever replace it. I still jones a little around the 21st or 22nd of each month until I remember that there's no real reason to go to the mailbox anymore.

Cooks Illustrated is a little too condescending for me. I'm afraid I'll turn the page one day and find that I've been peeling bananas incorrectly all these years.

Cooking Light gets a little repetitive. And some recipes are impractically edited. 4 1/4 cups of chicken broth. Really? Don't they realize that the stuff comes in cans that are slightly short of 2 cups? Or 2 oz. of cream cheese. What are you supposed to do with the other 1 oz. or 6 oz.?

Eating Well is the current favorite. I've never had an issue without trying a recipe and being pleased. They include added sugar in the nutritional information, which is nice for some of us. Whole Living has some good stuff. I'll buy Bon Appetit or Food & Wine at an airport occasionally but haven't been tempted to subscribe.

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Regine
Regine December 17, 2015

Cooks Illustrated, Country Cooks, and Fine Cooking. Their recipes are well tested.

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Regine
Regine December 17, 2015

Cooks Illustrated, Country Cooks, and Fine Cooking. Their recipes are well tested.

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Picholine
Picholine December 17, 2015

I buy the holiday issues of the magazines mentioned and a few summer issues after perusing table of contents in the store.
Seems like I never enjoy them as much when I have a subscription.

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