A feast for the eyes and an awakening of the senses, Bon Appétit magazine lives up to the English translation of its title: “Enjoy your meal.”
Everything from its R.S.V.P. section with readers’ favorite restaurant recipes to transforming one meal into leftovers for the week to exploring foods around the world, Bon Appétit magazine presents new and familiar tastes to be enjoyed.
That’s not to say it couldn’t be better. Its May 2010 travel issue shared dishes from Italy, Spain, France, Belgium and Britain, but the information was presented with little more depth than a gastronomic tour of Europe, along with recipes to recreate at home.
Saveur magazine, on the other hand, is highly esteemed by its readers for celebrating food within its historical and cultural contexts, almost to the point each meal becomes a must-visit destination.
Unlike Bon Appétit magazine, Saveur is not packed with recipes–less than half the issue is dedicated to cooking instruction and tips. But it shines, and is apparently appreciated by many online reviewers, because it brings food to life.
Described by some as the National Geographic for food, Saveur magazine explores a city–like Los Angeles in its March 2010 issue, for example–and unearths all its culinary gems. Then it shares them from a first-person perspective, as if a trusted local were dishing about where to dine.
This approach, some readers say, has inspired them to take trips to places they wouldn’t have otherwise considered and to venture to out-of-the-way restaurants.
With its heavy focus on travel, Saveur magazine not surprisingly serves up plenty of exotic tastes as well, like the Roman, Taiwanese and Spanish dishes from its April 2010 issue. But it doesn’t shy away from traditional comfort foods like meat loaf and macaroni and cheese in its May 2010 issue.
Just recently, Saveur magazine earned three James Beard Foundation Journalism Award nominations, which recognize writers and media for their food coverage. The titles of some articles nominated are indicative of the context and depth of Saveur’s approach: “Faith and Bacon,” which examined religious taboos related to food, and “The Wonders of Ham,” which introduced readers to different varieties around the world.
Other than Gourmet, which closed after its November 2009 issue, Eating Well was the only other major food magazine to receive a James Beard nomination for its reporting on food.
Despite some criticism that Saveur magazine showcases recipes using ingredients that are hard to find even in diverse urban areas, readers still tend to appreciate the new flavors it introduces among its elegant prose. So much so that since Gourmet magazine closed, some of its subscribers have turned to Saveur and found a satisfying substitute. Having been named to AdWeek and Media Week’s annual Hot List in recognition of increased ad pages, Saveur seems to be picking up where Gourmet left off and then some.
The growing popularity of Saveur magazine–even over the Bon Appétit replacements would-be Gourmet subscribers are receiving–could also indicate greater disposable income among readers to pursue the travel it inspires instead of merely recreating exotic tastes at home.