My Take: A Food Magazine’s Place in the World

foodnetwork_june.jpgOK, so I admit it. I eschewed magazines of all kinds for the longest time, preferring my hardcover books to their “flimsier” monthly and bimonthly counterparts.

But after the cooking bug bit me, I tested the waters with a Food Network Magazine deal of a subscription, and I have been surprised and pleasantly overwhelmed by the variety and amount of recipes and instruction it has afforded me.

I suppose you could say I also went the “online” route, with my virtual recipe boxes and email folders to organize the cute dessert ideas and the effortless brunch dishes that I just had to try later.

As the saying goes, out of sight, out of mind, and there are many recipes awaiting my attempt. That’s not to say that I whip up everything I see in a magazine, but after having subscribed to several, I can see the value in them over their “longer-lasting” cookbook counterparts.

I like to think of a food magazine as ever changing, bringing a new tip,
new idea, new dish, new something each issue. Sure, my accompanying
cookbook could do the same, but its finite recipe list seems at once
safe because of its “completeness,” yet also in danger of being outdated
because of its one and only publication date.

I can count on my monthly food magazines to shower me with ideas for
upcoming holidays, seasonal veggies, nutritional tips and more. What can
my cookbook tell me? Some don’t even include nutritional information,
nor do they tell me how to select the best produce, what fruits are in
season or any time-saving shortcuts. Don’t even get me started on their
sometimes lack of photography.

How do I wade through customer reviews in online recipes? How do I know
whose version might be best? Is my laptop fully charged and powered up?
Is Wi-Fi available here?

Not to get all Andy Rooney on the virtues of traditional, timely and
technological recipe-sharing methods out there, but I’m thinking food
magazines might really combine the best across these multiple worlds.

For one, they contain fewer recipes than larger cookbooks, perhaps
making them seem less overwhelming. You ask, “But aren’t online
resources more quickly update-able than food magazines?” Yes, but I’d
like to think that magazine editors skimmed this information
superhighway and are giving me the best of the best available knowledge.

Better still, there is something so invitingly comforting about an
information source in today’s electronic world that you can turn to
whether it’s plugged in or not. And until an “app” can re-create that
experience, my glossy food and cooking magazines are here to stay.

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Michelle Ryan

About 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.