The featured dishes, the colors, even the placement of the elements make the May covers of Vegetarian Times and Food and Wine magazines nearly identical. Having already seen the cover of the latter, I had to do a double-take when I spied Vegetarian Times on the newsstand.
Perhaps with a nod to Cinco de Mayo, the Mexican celebration of victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla in 1862, both covers featured taco dishes on the cover. But if readers of both fear that the coverage is too similar or feel they must choose one over the other, they most certainly will miss out.
Granted, the two magazines appeal to different audiences. Vegetarian Times magazine extols the virtues of healthy eating with a diet, as its title would suggest, that eliminates meat and sometimes dairy. Food and Wine magazine favors the exotic in taste and travel, and serves as a gentle teacher for would-be wine aficionados.
Despite their somewhat niche allure, neither is too high brow to be inaccessible, nor too condescending or judgmental to rebuff readers. So it should come as no surprise that Vegetarian Times magazine and Food and Wine, even with their almost mirror image covers, manage to stay true to their very different missions.
The black bean and toasted corn tacos (and glass of water) that Vegetarian Times celebrated on its cover were actually part of a 21-day lunch challenge, and was but one recipe of seven suggested. The challenge urges readers to make their own lunch, schedule a 30-minute walk and set aside time for a meditation break every day for three weeks.
According to the article, the editors determined 21 days would be an attainable commitment and ample time to adapt to the lifestyle change. Along with boosting motivation, the challenge’s additional by-products would include increased energy and reduced stress.
Food and Wine magazine lavished more attention on their cover story, depicted with grilled chicken tacos paired with a fruity Pinot Noir.
Touted as the new craze among American chefs, tacos of numerous flavors with suggestions on where to find the best, even in some unexpected places, were detailed in an information-packed eight page spread, which included a step-by-step “How to Make a Tortilla” illustration, the best taco spots and best new tequilas, surprising taco toppings and education terms sprinkled throughout.
The seven featured dishes celebrated everything from classic to Asian-inspired flavors, such as barbecue, fried fish and tofu tacos, which can be found across the nation from restaurants to food trucks.
But if you can’t make it to the West Coast, Chicago or Atlanta, Food and Wine magazine includes the recipes for each taco purveyor, along with preparation time, yield and, of course, a cocktail pairing suggestion.
Despite the marked differences between the two magazines, the nearly identical May covers of Vegetarian Times and Food and Wine were at first disheartening. But further investigation revealed that, just like books, you shouldn’t judge a magazine by its cover alone.