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December 17, 2010

Best Food Magazine of 2010: How Bon Appétit Does Everything Right

bonappetit_dec2010.jpgNearly every food and cooking magazine offers a little something different, that memorable thing that another might not do quite as well. So when it came to picking the best food magazine of 2010, I was often left wondering “How?”

But time and again, I kept coming back to one that offers the best of what I like in several other magazines in one convenient place. After much deliberation, Bon Appétit magazine gets my vote, though changes are without a doubt ahead.

In 2011, the magazine officially replaces editor-in-chief Barbara Fairchild with GQ’s Adam Rapoport, not to mention breaking in a new executive editor, test kitchen director (from Saveur magazine) and publishing director, all in its new home in New York City.

Speaking strictly for 2010, here’s why Bon Appétit bested its competition–and why I hope they’re still in the mix next year:

Bon Appétit is tops in photography. Really, no other magazine even comes close for being a feast for (almost) all the senses, especially the eyes. Look no further than some of their best covers.

Bon Appétit offers gourmet–and simply gourmet–recipes. Its variation will please the palates of experienced chefs and will challenge aspiring cooks at times (but they’ll be better for it).

Bon Appétit gets healthy. Its “Fast, Easy, Fresh” section covers dishes that come together in an hour or less. And its Menu Guide denotes recipes that are low calorie, low cholesterol and low fat.

Bon Appétit goes on a budget. It doesn’t publish costs per meal like some do, but one of my favorite newer sections is “Sunday Suppers,” which transforms dinner leftovers into meals for the week.

Bon Appétit is (somewhat) meat-free. Though no Vegetarian Times magazine when it comes to the number of meatless dishes, each issue contains several options that appeal to this lifestyle.

Bon Appétit can have fun. I love checking out the “R.S.V.P.” section that tracks down readers’ favorite restaurant recipes, whether the establishments have closed or the chef isn’t talking.

Bon Appétit goes on the road. It may not quite match the exotic locales of Saveur magazine (who does?), but whether you want to see the world for yourself or experience it vicariously through food, Bon Appétit can take you on a culinary trip.

Bon Appétit knows wine too. So the wine coverage may not be as in-depth as Wine Spectator magazine, but there is plenty of advice on pairing drinks with your meals.

Bon Appétit takes you to school. “Prep School,” that is, in step-by-step graphics for perfecting a certain technique or dish. Helpful tips also accompany recipes throughout the magazine.

Ultimately, Bon Appétit incorporates the best of a lot of things that other magazines do well–and does them well itself.



About the Author

Michelle Ryan
Michelle Ryan
Michelle Ryan is obsessed with good food, great shoes and Alabama football way down South in Savannah, Georgia. She hasn’t met a kitchen gadget she hasn’t at least thought about buying (trying them is another story) and devotes her time to Bikram Yoga, baking and trying to overcome long-held finicky eating habits.