Food Writing in Magazines Is Alive and Well
Devastated over the death of Gourmet? So are we, but we're not ones to sit around crying: there's still plenty of fantastic food writing and photography out there. Whether it's an entire magazine dedicated to food or an occasional feature in a general interest title, once we put together this list, it became clear that food journalism is alive and well. Magazines are struggling, and if you're serious about supporting them, then you need to show your support by subscribing. In no particular order, some of our favorite reads:
When it comes to pure food writing, no one out there can beat Gastronomica. The academic quarterly provides essays, scholarship, photography, fiction and poetry (!) dedicated to the culinary arts, and is as passionate and literary as they come. While the $50.00 subscription rate is a bit pricey for a quarterly, when you consider the fact that each volume is more like a book that you will keep, it doesn't seem so bad. Also, they have student and retiree rates.
When a magazine tells you — right off the bat — that they like "metaphors more than marinating tips," and also that said magazine is entirely about meat, you know you're in for some serious meditations on the carnivorous lifestyle. Full of anthropological articles, meat art, interviews with famous ranchers, and bacon taste tests, Meatpaper runs the gamut from humorous to butcherous.
Publisher Merri Lee Kingsly gave an interview to Forbes in which she declared Saveur to be "the only real travel, culture and foodie magazine left." While we can't say we agree with her entirely, Saveur does have a more complex, sophisticated edge to their recipes, and it does contain more travel writing than, say, Bon Appetit.
Food & Wine
Don't underestimate the title: this title has many, many articles on wine, and if that's not your style, you may want to subscribe to something else. However, for those who do have a bit of the oenophile bug, this is a fantastic introduction to the world of wine, regardless of your budget. The food aspect of the magazine leans towards the professional side, with serious restaurant coverage and simplified versions of chefs' recipes.
Yes, we read Christopher Kimball's rant against the internet and blogs in the New York Times, and yes, we know the ad- and photograph-free magazine can be a little stuffy at times. But put down the haterade for a second and ask yourself whether or not you have the time or money to test 20 different blenders or 60 recipes for carrot cake, and then reconsider this title.
The obvious contender to fill the gap left by Gourmet is Conde Nast's other major food title. After redesigning to magazine to appeal to a younger audience with their January 2008 issue, the new Bon Appétit hasn't been a hit with everyone, particularly the photography. We're fans of the new, starker style, though, and have found the magazine to be more supportive of female chefs than other major mags. The recipes are good without being too trendy or precious.
The Edible Series
Grown out of the locavore movement and designed to bring farmers, cooks, and consumers together in one lovey-dovey food community, these regional titles can be a little hit or miss. They are invaluable in their purpose, however, which is reporting the food news in your area — many of which are rural and unlikely to have an in-depth food section in a major newspaper nearby. Oh, and also, the magazines free in retailers, restaurants, etc. But you can subscribe if you like.
The Art of Eating
Run almost entirely by Edward Behr out of his home in Peacham, Vermont, The Art of Eating is a sort of best-kept-secret in the food media world. The ad-free quarterly is most famous for its incredibly in-depth features on topics such as roasting coffee or dry-aging steak.
Largely aimed at professionals, Art Culinaire is chock full of restaurant information. If you're at all curious about the business side of food, or like reading articles about start up restaurants, this hardcover quarterly might be a good fit for you.
Not just for the New York hipster set, this quarterly run by the food intelligentsia behind Bonita, Marlow and Sons, and Diner is a little bit Swallow and a little bit Gastronomica. And, as an added bonus, it contains some of the best food art out there.
Honorable Mentions: Magazines With Occasional Food Writing
Garden and Gun
For the Southerner who cannot stand Paula Deen, Garden and Gun offers respite. Articles on new Southern cuisine range from old faithfuls like barbecue and red velvet cake to where to find authentic Italian in Alabama. John. T. Edge is a frequent contributor.
Dedicated to "the very best in Southern writing," this magazine contains lengthy features on Southern foodways as well as in depth-interviews. The website also frequently posts videos.
The Gourmet Traveller
This Australian title has no discernible connection to the dearly departed, but its contents are definitely in debt to the American Gourmet. Go here for your travel food writing fix — their current issue is devoted to Spain — and check out the Masters Class column of technique.
Yes, it's a mens' magazine, and they may run stories like "A user’s guide to man boobs" but they also run stories like Ben Leventhal's "Has Bacon Mania Gone Too Far? and guides to the best breakfasts in America.