What food magazines do you subscribe to?

by Kate Steadman

Anticipating a long afternoon of travel back to DC on Sunday, I ventured into the airport magazine section to examine my choices:

People?  Only in cases of emergency (9 hours flights, funerals, etc).

Us Weekly?  Oh god, Spencer and Heidi are on the cover, again.

Vanity Fair?  Meh, don’t feel like staring at Gisele for two hours.

Foodie Mags?  Now that I could get behind.  I briefly thumbed through Bon Appetit and Gourmet and decided the recipes and columns could sufficiently distract me.   Bon Appetit had a decent travel issue, along with some great short, well-written columns and a several wonderful recipes that made me want to parachute home to my kitchen from the plane window.  I actually didn’t make to Gourment, falling asleep instead, but it left me wondering: is it worth subscribing to the traditional food mags?

I’ve had a sub to Cooks Illustrated for a few years, and while I enjoy it enough, it’s a different beast. There’s no traveling, no ruminating, no trends.  But the Gourmet I remember featured terribly stuffy recipes and features written for individuals with 30 years on me.  What about Food & Wine?  Others?

Is it worth subscribing to these mags? I’d like something to thumb through and I appreciate the added sources of inspiration.  But I don’t want to be bombarded by obnoxiously rare ingredients and pretentious tales.

So tell me, readers — what do you subscribe to?

I’m a newbie food magazine consumer, and


29 responses to “What food magazines do you subscribe to?

  1. Dude gourmet is the tits. You don’t have to cook it (though some recs are simple), just read it and drool.

  2. If I had the money, I would subscribe to Bon Appetit and Gourmet, with Martha Stewart thrown in for her massive how-to articles. As it is, I buy these three instead of dinner when I’m at the airport for a business trip.

  3. Saveur is nice. I have been a subscriber from issue 1, good travel and some great recipes for real food. They also share a lot of the content on the website. Food and Wine is another that typically has some useful recipe ideas. I also have subscribed to Cooks Illustrated since the beginning but it is not light reading.

  4. Right now, we get Bon Appetit and Food & Wine, which I devour each month. Somehow, our subscriptions to Gourmet and Cooking Light have expired, but in 2oo7 and 2008, we were getting all four.

    I actually go through each one each month, finding the recipes we’re interested in online, and importing them into MacGourmet. We do the same thing with the wine recommendations. That way we can either give away older magazines, knowing we won’t forget a recipe or recycle them.

  5. Oh, and Food & Wine is definitely my favorite.

  6. I really like Cooking Light the best. Delicious, healthy recipes and easy to follow instructions. I like the Cooking 101 feature they have. I am a seasoned cook and always see a better way to do something. Also – the magazine is produced in Birmingham, Alabama. They say that if they can find ingredients in B’ham, they should be available everywhere. (The only time that failed me: wax beans – not even at my farmers market.)

  7. I’m addicted to food mags and blogs. The mags: Gourmet – excellent, and Bon Appetit – sometimes the upscale priciness is off-putting, since the late ’70s; Food and Wine, not always impressed; Cooks Illustrated, a classic; Fine Cooking, another favorite; La Cucina Italiana, a recent favorite; and the best by far – Saveur.

  8. Cook’s Illustrated, and I keep them all.

    I subscribed to Wine Spectator for a year but didn’t read much of it.

  9. I subscribe to Gourmet, Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, Everyday Food, Entertaining from Cook’s Illustrated, and Saveur and used to subscribe to Martha Stewart Living and Real Simple as well.

    I like Gourmet for the recipes, but most of the articles never resonate with me. (Maybe if I were 15 years older, they would. Saveur kind of falls into this category too, but the articles are a little more approachable.)

    I love Bon Appetit and Food & Wine. I constantly use recipes from Bon Appetit. I don’t make the dishes from Food & Wine as often because I feel like a lot of them are party recipes, but I like the articles in there best, especially when there’s a nostalgia section.

    And Everyday Food is great for simple recipes and quick info.

  10. I used to subscribe to Cooking Light but never once enjoyed a meal I cooked from it. The focus was way too much on reducing calories and fat and, frankly, I just didn’t care. I switched to Food & Wine recently and I enjoy it more for its focus on travel and dining but I admit I always gloss over the wine articles so I’m probably not getting my money’s worth. I also found the last couple of issues lacking but I loved the grilling one I recently received. I haven’t added Gourmet or others yet because I’m trying to keep it down to one mag but I’m sure I’ll eventually get bored of F&W and move on to one of the others. So no ringing endorsement for any of them. Gourmet has great online content so I never feel the need to get the mag.

  11. I’d forgo Bon Appetit, frankly. Ditto on F&W. For my money, the best monthlies are Saveur, Gourmet and Cooks’ Illustrated.

  12. When Gourmet arrives, I drop all the other mail on the floor and go to bed and read it, even if it’s 4 in the afternoon. Eventually I cook maybe one of the recipes, but boy do I sleep well that night. It’s so pretty! And occasionally, when I blow the whole salary on a ridiculous meal out, I get to drunkenly slur, “I saw a croquette just like in Gourmet two months ago, only it had goat mozzarella,” and then I laugh and laugh and love life. Dear god I hope Gourmet survives Conde Nast’s troubles.

  13. My favorites are Food & Wine and Saveur.

    I find them heads and shoulders above the rest, about serious food and serious issues, and no “83 ways to use avocado!” silliness. Saveur in particularly is very high end, very serious, with long-form essays and beautiful exposes on other regions’ cuisine.

  14. I get Gourmet and Saveur. If you really like food writing, which I do, I think Gourmet under Reichl is the best. They consistently win James Beard awards, and get interesting people to write for them (David Foster Wallace’s “Consider the Lobster” was originally published in the magazine.) Their menus are generally high end, pricey, and aspirational, but also well tested and almost all delicious. Some of their other stuff is easier and simpler, and still good. Saveur is a great all purpose magazine…lots of good recipes, and lots of good info, and in a somewhat easier form for reading quickly.

    Bon Appetite seems to me primarily about the recipes, which are fine, but are also one of the less interesting parts of cooking magazines to me.

  15. i subscribe to gourmet and

    a) almost every copy is stiff with dog-eared pages (i may not end up doing the exact recipe, being an impoverished grad student, but as inspiration-fodder it is awesome)

    b) about every other copy has a recipe that makes it into the permanent repertoire

    c) the past year or so, they’ve been stepping up their coverage of food politics issues – there was a recent standout article on the labour conditions of tomato pickers in a particular community in florida

    sure, the travel articles are kind of irritatingly glossy, and so is the occasional raving about obscure pricey ingredients, and the photo shoots make me want to abjure shabby chic forever, but the subscription is totally worth it. i enjoy food blogs but a magazine is a different kind of sensory pleasure.

  16. Props to two Vermont mags:

    Art of Eating
    Eating Well

  17. catherine got me a thank-you subscription to food & wine, and i love it. I’ve made a bunch of their recipes and they all turned out great.

    and i love me some martha.

  18. I’m a vegetarian, so many food magazines don’t have enough to make me feel like I’ve gotten my money’s worth. I used to subscribe to Gourmet and let it expire. I will say that I give them kudos for running some of the food politics articles that they do. I’m thinking specifically about a Daniel Zwerdling article on the poultry industry and David Foster Wallace’s essay Consider the Lobster (which I read in his collection rather than the magazine itself).

    I currently subscribe to Vegetarian Times and Cook’s Illustrated (the equipment tips are enough to make me feel I got a fair deal). I also read Veg News, but that’s only incidentally a food magazine.

  19. I have had subscriptions to F&W, gourmet, cook’s illustrated and fine cooking. The only one i have kept up is fine cooking. The photographs blow the others out of the water, and I find that everything I tastes and looks amazing. I have heard good things about saveur but have never read it.

    The biggest complaint I had about Gourmet was that I found that the recipes all had one or two ingredients that I never had and were rather expensive. Fine Cooking doesn’t really call for rare recipes. One other thing they do that I really like is each issue they take an ingredient and will have 3 or 4 recipes on how to make it, and they will take a meal, like ‘comfort foods’ etc, and have several recipes for that. I left Cook’s Illustrated as I felt I got similar quality recipes and tips from Fine Cooking and CI didn’t have the photography. For me, there’s nothing like opening up an issue and getting inspired from a photo to make a dish.

  20. I like Food and Wine…not quite enough to subscribe…Saveur is great…and I’ll second Deb on La Cucina Italiana…I like it better than Saveur though. I love some of the ingredient spotlights they do (Polenta, Chestnuts, always of a big traditional Italian ingredient that it’s in season when you get the mag), and then they give you lots of recipes to try to ingredients out…definitely my fav!

  21. I just started Culture (a new magazine about cheese) and have been getting Saveur for about a year and Cook’s Illustrated for at least 3 years. Culture is probably the best I’ve ever read.

  22. melissamccart

    I wish there were a food mag with some teeth. But I do like Gourmet, Saveur and Food Arts.

  23. Last week after 10+ years I stopped my subscription to Cooking Light. Before that I had a subscription to Bon Appetite. I like both of these magazines, but I find most new recipes from cooking blogs. Thanks IFA!

  24. Fine Cooking is the best food magazine there is, and I’ve read them all.

  25. I get Cooking Light and buy Cooks’ Illustrated on the stands so often, I should really just subscribe. Used to get Gourmet but found it stuffy (this was probably a good four years ago).

  26. Fine Cooking has kept my husband and me happy for years now. It has a nice balance of basic techniques (how to properly roast chicken or make a Thai curry) and interesting recipes.

    I don’t need a fancy travelogue…I want to know that if I need the *best* recipe for mint brownies, I can skim through the pages I’ve flagged and there it is.

  27. “I’m a newbie food magazine consumer, and” … and? You’re breaking me down!

  28. Cooking Light. Also, Sunset Magazine has some pretty good recipes. I’m also a fan of mid-century mod design, so I get food and design in one.

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