I like to get my favourite magazines by post. That way I never miss an issue and it’s like getting a gift each month. Over the years I’ve tried several and find it’s usually best to rotate rather than subscribing to the same thing for years because invariably they start making an ARS of it. (ARS? You know, the annual repeated story – the same old thing trotted out time and time again.)
I read BBC Good Food for years but Orlando Murrin took over as editor (1997-2003), and boy, did he dumb it down. I was not a happy camper. I’m not in the habit of writing to magazines to complain but I couldn’t help myself when the editorial was about cats, the main recipe was some disgusting hash they called Thai curry and boasted that it only had five ingredients, and the product review of the month was about washing machines. Hey! I thought it was supposed to be a magazine about food! He moved on in 2003 but by that time the damage had been done.
I tried Olive for ages. It was a step up from BBC Good Food, but still a bit repetitive – and what really put me off was when they started doing stupid features such as “Chefs’ Wives”. Why the heck would I want to read something like that? I’d want to know about food, cooking, kitchen equipment, perhaps the chefs’ routes to success, their philosophies, their favourite cookbooks or foodie telly programmes. I neither need nor want to know anything about their wives – nor have to look at full-page spreads of them trying to look like models. Bah! That put me right off. Anyway, it was a bit sexist – anyone up for a feature about chefs’ husbands? There are female chefs, you know.
Next I got the Australian Gourmet Traveller. I really liked this one, although I kinda missed having the British slant. I didn’t miss Gordon Ramsay, though, because Gordon Ramsay is everywhere, including in Australian magazines. I’d recommend the Aussie Gourmet Traveller mag but now my subscription has ended and I’ve decided to go for the Donna Hay magazine instead. I’m a big fan of Donna Hay, and her magazines contain so much information it’s like getting a new cookbook every time you buy one. I’m looking forward to the first one plopping into the mailbox.
Yes, I’ve just subscribed to another Australian mag. Why can’t the British publish a sensible magazine for the keen cook? I don’t want all the dumbed-down stuff about “only five ingredients”, “how to cheat – buy a ready-meal”, or Hello-style articles about chefs’ wives. Equally, I don’t want a Condé Nast type of publication that mostly features things beyond my means. I just want a down-to-earth magazine aimed squarely at the keen cook. What’s so difficult about that?
By the way, I have a page which lists some of the foodie magazines available. You can read lots of their content online. Enjoy!