If you’re curious about the why’s of the magazines I choose, here you go. There really is no rhyme to my reason. Just so you know, at the moment, there are none coming to the house that I’ve subscribed to. Notice that caveats? Yes, there have been in the past. Yes, I do receive one magazine; the subscription was a Christmas gift from family. Yes, a couple of magazine companies send me each issue on their own, without my asking. But, however they come into my home; gifted, subscribed, left in my mailbox, or given to me by friends, the reviews are honest and all mine.
If you have a yen to subscribe to any of the magazines below, just click on the image and you can do so easily through magazines.com.
All You Magazine
Time, Inc. wrote and asked if I’d be willing to give this magazine a review. Available only at WalMart or by subscription, all*you is a vast source of information, recipes and money-saving ideas. Even though I’ve made (and enjoyed) many of the recipes, I also gleaned plenty of useful information and ripped out several coupons. The big winner to date from all*you has definitely been the Apple-Ginger Snack Cake. That being said, since trying the Home Made Ginger Ale back in April, I haven’t bought it at the store but continue to make my own.
America’s Test Kitchen
Ah, America’s Test Kitchen, the creators of Cook’s Illustrated and Cook’s Country. A group of cooks who strive to create the ultimate of the ultimate recipe. It was by accident that I found Cook’s Country instead of Cook’s Illustrated, but I’m glad I did. I am the kind of person that enjoys reading the stories behind recipe creation, so this magazine works for me. If you’re just looking for a picture and recipe; not for you. The recipe that hooked us in this one issue we’ve tried (thus far) was the Rustic Potato-Leek Soup. It’s fantastic. As American as apple pie and steak and cinnamon bread and baby back ribs, all these recipes are things that I love. America’s Test Kitchen’s magazines claim to use a whole slew of test chefs to work and re-work recipes until they are perfect. I’m not sure they succeed 100% of the time, but who does. The only thing I don’t like about the magazines is that a paid subscription is required to view any recipe online. This is to help pay for both magazines, which have no advertisements. While I was a bit disgruntled about this at first, after making some of the recipes that have bowled my family over, I will keep buying them once in a while.
Better Homes and Gardens Magazine
What can you say about the fourth best selling magazine in the U.S.? There’s a reason it’s been going strong for close to 100 years. I’m a big fan of Better Homes and Gardens anyhow, still owning the red and white checkered cookbook that my mother gave me when I first moved out on my own, so I know I can trust these magazine issues as having been tested and tasted before being passed along to readers. For us, the Thai Thighs were a big score. Flavored with ginger, soy and garlic, they’ve become a family favorite. We also fell in love with the Walnut Pear Sour Cream Coffee Cake from the holiday issue. One of the greatest things about that recipe was the inclusion of instructions on how to freeze it for future eating.
Bon Appetit Magazine
Almost 100 reviews of Bon Appetit Magazine recipes. Huh. Really? That many? In truth, there won’t be a whole lot more than that unless Bon Appetit changes. Since a new editor-in-chief has come on board, I have been disappointed by the level of advertising in this magazine. I’m not talking about the regular ads that show up in most every magazine, but about a magazine that uses a recipe to push a product, including a link to the ‘advertiser’s’ online store. Additionally, there is an increase in the number of ingredients that are considered “specialty,” and can only be bought at upscale grocery stores or online. That aside, there are very few items in here I’ve made that haven’t been an absolute hit. Bacon and Leek Risotto with a Poached Egg? Holy cow. Lasagne with Asparagus, Leeks and Morels; out of this world. Maybe there won’t be less…
Cooking Light Magazine
I hang my head in shame as I admit that I went into my first issue of Cooking Light with a bad attitude. In my mind, cooking healthy meant cooking bland. After all, without butter and salt, what else could one expect? This magazine hasn’t had to work hard to change my ideas in that regard. I’m so impressed with the quality of the recipes, both the ones that take a bit of time Recipes like the Caramelized Onion Mashed Potatoes, to those that are quick to make yet still gorgeous and delicious, like the Lemony Chicken Saltimbocca or the Pear Chutney Bruschetta with Pecans and Blue Cheese. Since that first perusal through Cooking Light, I’ve come a long way. In fact, I am now a part of Cooking’s Blogger Connection. As a result of being a part of this group, not only will I continue to pass along my honest opinion on the dishes I cook, but I’m also given the opportunity to do a giveaway or two thanks to the magazine.
Cuisine At Home
A reader suggested I seek out Cuisine At Home, so I did and am grateful for the tip. The recipes are the epitome of comfort food. Some are basic, like the Whole-Wheat Dinner Rolls. Some are a bit more up-scale, Balsamic-Roasted Sweet Potatoes that have crumbled blue cheese on them is a case in point. And some are just delicious, which is why we inhaled the Pumpkin-Pecan Pie Bars and didn’t share. This magazine reminds me a bit of Taste of Home and yes, I’ll use it again.
Deen Brothers Good Cooking Magazine
This is a perfect magazine to pick if you want basic good food that isn’t challenging to make. Recipes use a lot of canned and packaged products, but as with their mother, what they create is tasty; not low fat, but tasty. A case in point is the Warm Beer-Cheese Mexican Crab Dip. I don’t think I’ve ever seen crab paired with processed cheese (aka. Velveeta), but they do it in this recipe and it’s delicious. Another are the Sweet and Smoky Baby Backs. They were outstanding, but I was supposed to use a bottled barbecue sauce (huh?). I may head back to this magazine, but we’ll see. I prefer cooking from scratch and knowing exactly what I’m putting in my family’s body too much to continue with canned this and processed that.
Donna Hay Magazine
Ah, the power of photography. I just about fell over other people browsing in the bookstore to get a copy of this when I saw it. Donna, who’s based out of Australia, does much more than just provide recipes; she provides moods. Her winter issue made me want to find a snow-covered cabin in the woods in which to make the dishes I found in it. And I hate snow. The summer issue was full of breezes, sunshine and delicious summer fare. I have to admit that the recipe’s results weren’t always home runs, but there were enough good, solid hits that this is another magazine I’ll go out of my way to find on occasion. We loved the Chicken and Chorizo Cassoulet and I found the Chicken and Leek Pie, with its Parmesan crust to be beautiful and delicious.
Eating Well Magazine
The main reason I headed towards this magazine was to give balance to the amount of time I spend with Cooking Light. There are so many healthy cooking magazines out there and they deserve their due. The good news is that this one delivers the goods. The Fennel and Pork Stew is brilliant with flavor and we might have battled for the leftovers of the Cheddar-Stuffed Mini Meatloaves with Chipotle Glaze. One of the perks about going through magazines is being able to discover new ones and I’m thrilled to have met this one’s acquaintance.
Every Day With Rachael Ray Magazine
Please don’t hate me if I say that Rachael is someone I would rather read than watch. She’s just too perky for me. I also have to admit that I prefer reading food-only magazines over those that also share everything from decorating ideas to how to lose weight. But, when all the other is taken away, what’s left can be pretty darn fantastic. I find that I gravitate more towards Rachael’s recipes that take over 30 minutes. I like it when she takes the time to develop flavors. Our whole family likes it. The Horseradish Beef Streudel is a good example. I served it as an appetizer for guests and it was gone in minutes.
Everyday Food Magazine
I prefer this magazine to Living simply because it’s all food (see my thoughts on Every Day with Rachael Ray). I do realize that the food is along the lines of quick-make comfort food, but that’s not a bad thing. The Grilled Pork Chops with Spice Paste and Grilled Whole Chicken with Barbecue Sauce prove that. I’m thrilled that Martha has created this magazine for those of us who haven’t been through Cake Decorating 201 and just want a dessert that tastes fantastic and the family will love. This is that kind of food magazine.
Family Circle Magazine
There was a mini-meatball lasagna on the cover of the Family Circle issue that decided me to go through this magazine. Oddly, I never got around to making it, but the Chicken Biryani I made instead earns this magazine a keeper spot on my rotation. What I like about Family Circle is that the recipes are all located in the back, so once I’ve read everything else, I know where to easily find what I’m focused on; the food.
Fine Cooking Magazine
I had never heard of Fine Cooking before, but as I was looking at a magazine rack, it caught my eye, especially the gorgeous looking mac and cheese skillet on the front page. I picked it up and glanced through the recipes and fell in love. Fine Cooking picked up where Gourmet left off. In truth, it is the only magazine to which I subscribe. I found one of those classic go-to recipes that I’ve been looking for for decades in this magazine. It’s the Classic Scalloped Potatoes. They were heavenly, with just the right balance of garlic and cream.A feature that I adore is called the Classic/Classic Update. I will always make this when I go through an issue. It’s too much fun and very challenging. By far the hardest dessert I’ve ever made was from this feature, the Lemon Icebox Cake. And it was beyond outstanding. Hubby preferred its partner, the Frozen Lemon Cream Cakes with Toasted Meringue and Caramel Sauce.
Food & Wine Magazine
One of the criteria I use when choosing a food magazine is the percentage of recipes it has that I can serve my whole family. I understand that there are some dishes I’ll make that only I will eat, but there have to be a good amount that the three of us can enjoy. Unfortunately, while Food and Wine has some amazing recipes, many of them include ingredients or final results that don’t fit within the family’s ‘enjoyment’ parameters. I do and will keep looking, which is how I found the May 2011 issue. For the Honey and Lemon Glazed Roast Chicken alone, it was worth it. I hope I’ll find another like that soon.
Food Network Magazine
Even though I’ve stopped watching the network because they’ve moved from a format that has chefs teaching people to make amazing dishes to anyone that wins a cooking show making something I can do at home, I’m hoping the magazine will provide a bit more culinary substance. I’ve been a bit disappointed about the move from chefs teaching readers and show watchers how to cook to a more ‘every person with a schtick’ set of shows. I miss Emeril and Mario. But, there are still some great recipes in the magazine. I’m even willing to set my feelings for some of the show hosts/chefs. Like Guy Fieri. Not a fan, but his Pretzel Rolls were amazing.
I mourn the loss of this magazine. It was cooking for those who aren’t afraid of the kitchen. This issue was what got me started on going through magazines. I loved the photography and made a few of the dishes simply because the pictures in the magazine were so well done. In order to produce such amazing photography, I needed to pull out my reading glasses to be able to see ingredients and instructions, the type was so small, but it was worth it. I miss Gourmet. The Good Living section brought some wonderful articles and recipes. Ones that stood out were the Braised Chile-Spiced Short Ribs with Black Beans, and the Gumbo Ya-Ya. In the Gourmet Every Day portion, there were two dishes that received high praise from our family and were quick to make (a huge bonus). They were the Fennel-Rubbed Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Fennel Wedges and the Black Bean Burgers. Finally, the “Cooking Class” gave step-by-step instructions on how to make a perfect Beer-Braised Beef and Onions.
Martha Stewart Living
No one gives me a complex like Martha does. Every issue focuses on amazing areas around her gorgeous house. Her multi-acre (so it seems) garden puts my little plot to shame. She has collection after collection of beautiful things, from glassware to pie tins to salt cellars. She makes me want and covet. I went through her February 2012 issue because there were so many amazing scone recipes in it and I’ll head back there again when another feature pops up that I like, but I’m not fond of the shade of green I turn when I read Ms. Stewart’s stuff. So, she’s not a regular visitor to my corner of the world.
This seems like a strange magazine to include in those related to food. However, I was very intrigued by the “5 Dinners on a Budget.” The author of the 5 dinners was Chef Uehlein, Corporate Chef at Canyon Ranch. I took the challenge and made all five dinners (in under $10 each). As a result, I have gained a tremendous amount of respect for Chef Uehlein. Not only did he create recipes that did come in under the budget he set, but they were flavorful, healthy and child friendly. We really enjoyed the Penne Pasta with Turkey Sausage and Peppers, even though it was the first time we had tried turkey sausage. The real star, however, was the Cheese and Spinach Tart with Glazed Carrots. I think it is that recipe that started Dudette on the path to spinach love. The one item that was a disappointment was the mashed edamame included with the Ginger Salmon and Mashed Edamame recipe. It was pretty bland. None of us had had it before and it did nothing to encourage us to try it again.
Paula Deen’s Magazines
Paula, Paula, Paula. How many of us have felt betrayed by the queen of butter. Is she a savvy business woman and did she make a great deal? Yes. Has she inspired my trust and desire to follow her? Nope, not at all. The facts are, however, that every time I post a recipe she’s made, people flock to it. We still want her fattening, delicious concoctions. So yes, at some point Paula’s magazines will make their way back here. But, as with everything high in fat and calories, they’ll be back in moderation.
My experience with Saveur had been nominal, but when someone dropped off an issue of Saveur for me I fell in love with the picture of the pork chops on the cover. What really did me in however, was the opening article by the Executive Editor, Dana Bowen. In the article, she talks about a trip to Rome and with regard to the food she ate says, “We ate pasta like it was going out of style. Spaghetti alla carbonara was our house favorite.” Those two sentences decided me. I love Italian food and like Ms. Bowen, spaghetti alla carbonara is my all time favorite pasta recipe. Many of the recipes in this magazine are a bit too advanced for my family’s every day fare, but I have to dabble in its glory upon occasion, when I want to challenge myself in the kitchen or introduce Hubby and Dudette (ok, and myself) to something new and wonderful.
Southern Lady Magazine
In truth, I ended up with this magazine because it was the only food magazine on the shelf of a pharmacy, it was the first day of the month and I was one short. I’m glad the planets aligned that way because I really enjoyed the dishes I made from that initial issue. I’ll definitely return to this one.
Southern Living Magazine
I spent years subscribing to Southern Living; way before the word blog even existed. I loved the magazine for the decorating and gardening ideas. I still love it, but either my budget has shrunken by an awful lot or the magazine has targeted an audience with a few more dimes to rub together than I do. With the exception of the food. While I’ll probably never have a mud room the size of some small houses to decorate, I do love the food in this magazine, especially the baked goods. Most are classics and the ones that aren’t, should be.
Taste of Home Magazine
It may not seem like it if you look at the number of recipes I’ve made from this magazine, but I think it’s fantastic. The issue I have is that I can’t seem to find the general, not addendums attached Taste of Home. When I look on grocery store shelves, all I find is specialty issues, targeting seasons, baking, summer, that kind of thing. I keep looking because since the magazines provide the menu for my family, I like them to be all-encompassing. Plus, the one I did go through already was a special issue. I think the real deal is in order.
Tastes of Italia
The one issue I’ve tried of this came from a fellow blogger who loves it and wanted me to try it. I love Italy and I adore Italian food. This is another one of those magazines that isn’t found on your everyday grocery store shelves, but can be located at bookstores. Not only will I make the trek to our Barnes and Noble to find another one of these, but you’ll be seeing more dishes from the issue I do have thanks to Turn Back Time Tuesday.