Unlike magazines built around a celebrity identity – Martha Stewart Living, Cooking With Paula Deen and Every Day With Rachael Ray – Taste of Home magazine makes its readers their stars.
Though its issues are usually thin – April/May 2010 was less than 90 pages – Taste of Home magazine is packed with recipes from cover to cover, many submitted by its readers and volunteer field editors, who also assist at cooking schools, judge contests and blog about their food interests.
Even Taste of Home magazine’s features are slim on the editorial side, with most jumping straight to the recipes centered around one of its showcased ingredients. April/May 2010 highlighted light dishes, seasonal vegetables, bacon and coffee in new and traditional ways.
A sampling of the bacon dishes include fried rice, bacon scones, a bacon blue cheese appetizer and, most unusual, chocolate-covered bacon.
A number of the recipes are presented with the photo on the front with the recipe on the back, making it easy to snip favorites out of the magazine. But if they were printed on heavier paper, they would stand up better to repeated use.
Also notable in Taste of Home magazine is the section it devotes to kids and their interest in cooking. The April/May 2010 issue featured one Wisconsin teen who cooks frequently, along with a 9-year-old Alabama girl who enjoys helping her mom in the kitchen. Favorite recipes of both were included.
That’s not to say that other cooking magazines omit coverage aimed at kids. Most detail recipes and projects kids would enjoy and could assist adults with. But for some of those magazines, like Every Day With Rachael Ray, that is the goal – to get kids and their families in the kitchen working together.
Another boost for Taste of Home magazine is its traveling cooking shows, which typically are supported by newspapers and sponsors in smaller towns, in addition to its national sponsors, and attract cooks of all experience levels hungry for new recipes.
As more and more people are watching their wallets and their waistlines, Chef Karen Schwark, culinary field staff manager with the Taste of Home Cooking School, said she has seen a renewed interest in preparing meals at home.
For well over a decade, Taste of Home magazine has sent chefs into the field to demonstrate new recipes with basic skills, secrets and tips to make the cooking process seem less intimidating.
Such a program makes food preparation seem much more accessible, particularly for the inexperienced or newly interested cook. That same approach in delivering tips and recipes for “real food from real home cooks,” as touted on its cover, seems fundamental to Taste of Home magazine’s success.
Largely based on reader submissions, Taste of Home magazine’s recipes are very likely some family’s favorite before they become your own, making it very similar to a trusted cookbook filled with flavors that have already been put to the test.