Those of us that like to cook often wind up being relentless hoarders of recipes and food information. I have shelves overflowing with cookbooks, huge stacks of clipped and printed out recipes here and there, and piles of magazines all over the house. I currently only maintain three magazine subscriptions, but I am constantly thumbing through others that look interesting as well.
I like Cooking Light for everyday recipes. They usually have many relatively quick recipes that result in flavorful and relatively healthy food. The recipes are generally easy to follow, the ingredients are readily available, and the results are pretty consistent. They also have an interesting variety of health-related articles as well, which I find very interesting.
Bon Appetit is a good resource for fancier weekend fare. There are usually some good articles sprinkled throughout and the recipes are fantastic. Since they overhauled their image, the layout and photography has become quite superb – borderline edgy – I love it. I find myself digging through its scrumptious looking pages when I want to cook something decadent and complex. I save it for the days when I decide that I will ignore the amount of butter or cream a recipe requires. When I get the hankering for some fancy proteins, this is the magazine I most often look to.
Gourmet is an interesting one for me. It was the first food magazine I ever subscribed to, and some of my earlier cooking triumphs (and disasters) can be owed to reaching too far with some of Gourmet’s outrageous recipes. This is the magazine that teaches me new ingredients and cooking techniques. It is the magazine that first explained to me years ago not only what wheat berries were, but also how to turn them into something toothsome and satisfying. These days, I mostly curl up on the couch and read it, cover to cover. It’s filled with wonderfully written articles about faraway places that I’ll likely never be able to visit. As mentioned before, it describes food I’ve never heard of and increases my culinary vocabulary (a vocabulary filled with exotic and often mispronounced words). The recipes are still interesting, though I honestly can’t remember the last new thing I cooked from Gourmet.
Occasionally, I’ll pick up a Cooks Illustrated if it has a recipe I’m particularly keen on trying out. Every now and then, I’ll flip through a Saveur because the front covers are always so beguiling. But as it stands now, I’m at steady-state on the magazines – not willing to give up any that I have, and not willing to pick up any new ones. I’d be curious to know which magazines the food-loving community is partial to and why. There are so many to choose from, it can be a little overwhelming.