Food Writing in Magazines Is Alive and Well

food-mags

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:

Gastronomica

(gastronomica.org; Amazon)
gastronomica-coverWhen 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.

Meatpaper

(meatpaper.com)
meatpaper-coverWhen 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.

Saveur

(saveur.com; Amazon)
saveur-coverPublisher 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

(foodandwine.com; Amazon)
f-w-coverDon'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.

Cook's Illustrated

(cooksillustrated.com; Amazon)
cooks-ill-coverYes, 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.

Bon Appétit

(bonappetit.com; Amazon)
bon-app-coverThe 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

(ediblecommunities.com)
edible-coverGrown 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

(artofeating.com)
art-of-eating-coverRun 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.

Art Culinaire

(getartc.com; Amazon)
art-culinaire-coverLargely 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.

Diner Journal

(thedinerjournal.com)
diner-journal-coverNot 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

Vogue
(vogue.com; Amazon)
Jeffrey Steingarten is a master food writer, and this leading fashion magazine is worth picking up just for his columns. (And, who knows, you might pick up some style tips.)

Garden and Gun
(gardenandgun.com; Amazon)
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.

Oxford American
(oxfordamerican.org; Amazon)
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
(gourmettraveller.com.au; Amazon)
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.

The New Yorker
(newyorker.com; Amazon)
The literary magazine often runs fantastic food-related in-depth features and an annual food issue (see our AHDH wrapup of the 2008 edition).

Details
(details.com; Amazon)
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.

GQ
(gq.com; Amazon)
They did call David Chang the most important chef of 2007.

Esquire
(esquire.com; Amazon)
John Mariani may write for them, but they do run features like the August 2009 "How to Eat Like a Man" written by the likes of Paula Deen and Wylie Dufresne.

Men's Health
(menshealth.com; Amazon)
The June 2009 issue saw a figurative "Pigsplosion" in which seven chefs were handed different parts of one pig.

New York Magazine
(nymag.com; Amazon)
Weekly food writing, reviews by Adam Platt.

Atlantic Monthly
(theatlantic.com; Amazon)
See Corby Kummer's monthly column.

Swallow Magazine
(swallowmagazine.com; newsstands)
The large-format hard cover magazine is an Eat Me Daily favorite (see previous coverage). Issue two is slated to appear in December/January.

 

—Paula Forbes

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11 Comments

Comment Feed

  1. Moira

    I love Cook's Illustrated and Saveur, as well as Cook's Country.

    The Atlantic Monthly also has a terrific food writer - Corby Kummer. He has an article every month, and it is always interesting.

  2. Vegetarian Times is at the top of my list which has become such a great resource for recipes for several dietary restrictions as well as showcasing the most simple ingredients to ones that you would never think of.

  3. Michael Olivier

    You have left out the WONDERFUL New Zealand mag Cuisine

  4. Brilliant idea. Wish I had thought of it. I just printed out the list.

    Now when writers complain to me about how hard it is to get stories about food published (still true, by the way, because of fewer pages due to low ad sales), I'll direct them to this link.

  5. I'm a writer for Cook's Illustrated, so thanks for including us on this list. As the Consumer Reports of the food world, our mag can indeed be stuffy at times, but I can assure you that none of those who work here anything but dedicated foodies and talented cooks. We give our readers what they want, rather than what we might like them to want (which is the source of our success).

    That said, you left off my other favorite cooking publication, after Ed Behr's AoE: John Thorne's Simple Cooking. Nobody, not even CI, delves more deeply into a recipe as deeply as Thorne does, and there are few who write about food as elegantly as he, even when discussing the most mundane dishes. Check it out, if you haven't already @ http://www.outlawcook.com

    • The "stuffiness" of Cook's Illustrated is what I love. It's just very matter-of-fact: We went through these paces, here are the results. And the recipes work. Big fan.

  6. No list will ever be complete - but my personal favorite magazine for thought-provoking food writing is Eating Well. Not only do their ingredient explorations intrigue, and their recipes inspire (and *work*!) but their food and food-policy essays are terrific.

  7. dav

    Of the reachable priced magazines out there, Gourmet had the best photography.

  8. Ever hear of Alimentum-The Literature of Food?...We've been publishing for 5 years: food-related fiction, essays, and poetry.

  9. Dianne, you read my thoughts. I know one on this list does not pay, another pays very little, but there's still hope for us in the rest, right?

    Jacqueline

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