Tag Archives: magazines

The Best Food Magazines You’ve Never Read

Conventional wisdom tells us that print is dead.
Its death knell sounded loud and clear in food-oriented publishing when the print edition of Gourmet folded in 2009. If that beloved legendary publication couldn’t make a go of it, who could?

A handful of hardy, independent publishers have managed to beat the odds, surviving and even thriving. Even more improbably, a few new food magazines have been introduced in the post-Gourmet era. They recognize that they have to offer something special, some added value over the other ways we have of consuming text.

Each of  these publications succeeds by offering heft and depth, nearly ad-free pages, and price tags high enough to make it all viable and sustainable. Their graphics are striking, the writing is of a long form seldom seen outside of print, and they have a book-like physical permanence that defies you to toss it in the recycle bin.

Remedy is a good, old-fashioned read masquerading as a modern magazine. Each issue uses stories and recipes to explore a single theme: cravings, growing up, celebrations. The current issue is Stealing— true food crimes, stealing away a private moment out of a crazy day, or stealing a boyfriend and his to-die-for breakfast dish—all stories to curl up with, coming from a variety of voices.

 

http://69.89.31.216/~jsguntze/slideshows/utne/meatpaper/600_450/mp0.jpgMeatpaper is -surprise!- all about meat. Every form of animal flesh is fodder for Meatpaper’s pages, from birth to roasting pan, plus insightful takes on this bedrock of masculine Western culture. It all comes courtesy of a team of former, presumably very broad-minded, vegetarians. Coming soon: the new Bones issue.

http://www.etsy.com/storque/media/articles/2010/11/11168-GC_Paul_header_3.jpgSweet Paul is Paul Lowe, a food and prop stylist with the crafting sensibility of Martha Stewart and an eye for whimsical, flea market style aesthetics. The magazine is stuffed with ideas for creative, hands-on cooking, decorating, and entertaining that is within reach of even the DIY-challenged, and accompanied by sumptuous, naturally-lit photography.

http://www.boiseweekly.com/imager/b/magnum/2349679/6ef0/find1-1_LuckyPeach.jpgLucky Peach burst on the scene last summer and immediately became the must-have fetish object for die-hard foodies. It’s a high profile collaboration between the expletive-sputtering culinary bad boy David Chang (chef-restaurateur of New York’s Momofuku empire) and former New York Times writer Peter Meehan, with contributions from celebrated friends like Anthony Bourdain and Ruth Reichl. A single subject (issue 1: Ramen; issue 2: The Sweet Spot) is probed through a dense, idiosyncratic mix of essays, recipes, art, photography, and rants.

http://harlanturk.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/Alimentumi11Winter11.jpgFood writing for the literati or literature for the foodie? Alimentum is a literary review that celebrates food, both figurative and metaphorical.  Short fiction, poetry, and essays give new dimension to the experiences of standing on the grocery checkout line or sharing a glass of wine with a former lover.

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_edjLb_JcFN4/TEfzji2NTFI/AAAAAAAADFQ/spK9Tfx71ws/s1600/Condiment.jpgWith a mere two issues under its belt, we’re keeping an eye on Condiment. It occupies the intriguing, conceptual space between food, community, and creativity, with topics like anarchist gardeners, mutant fruits, and a clam dig.

 

http://oui-presse.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/AoE87CoverCurrent.jpg

The Art of Eating has a traditional mix of recipes, producer profiles, wine, book, and restaurant reviews. Its long (since 1986), ad-free run speaks to the fine writing and its in-depth (often obsessively so) articles.

 

http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_l80rgzkFQX1qzq221o1_500.jpg

Gastronomica calls itself “food-focused scholarship,” but don’t let that scare you away. Yes, it is cerebral and erudite, but it is also lively and accessible. It explores such esoterica as the history of hippie-style cooking, caterers to the Third Reich, to our love of hamburgers, and it’s all wrapped up in a glossy, stunningly photographed package.

 

 

 

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Food Stylists: Dirty Tricks of the Trade


It was the scandal that rocked the vegetarian world.
Vegetarian lifestyle magazine VegNews admitted that it routinely ran photographs of meat-based dishes to illustrate its meatless recipes. Examples included pseudo-vegan ice cream made from actual cream, beef frankfurters posing as their vegan counterparts, and pork ribs with the bones airbrushed away to look like a soy substitute. Bear in mind that these were stock photos used for budgetary reasons, and that no animal products touched the VegNews test kitchen. Still, readers were outraged, immediately offering up their online condemnation. They called it hypocrisy of the highest order, a betrayal of their trust, a show of contempt springing from deliberate and systematic deceit.

Food journalists, though, mostly responded with a collective shrug.
Food is, for the most part, supremely unphotogenic. It’s the law of nature that frozen will melt, crisp will wilt, and moist becomes dry. Food stylists have always relied on an arsenal of inedible ingredients and unsavory techniques to get the money shot, in the same way that celebrity stylists enhance their clients with hair extensions, false eyelashes, and push-up bras.

Take roasted chicken. If you make it at home, you know that the flesh shrinks and the skin wrinkles and deflates as it roasts, but in the pages of food magazines it always appears plump with taut, evenly browned skin.  That’s because the picture-perfect chicken has been stuffed with materials like cotton balls and paper towels, its skin was sewn tightly together, and it was roasted just long enough to give it a little texture. Then, still raw on the inside, it’s sprayed with a soap-based mixture and blasted with a blowtorch to achieve the ideal, deep golden-brown color. Bon appetit!

Here are some other tricks of the trade:

  • motor oil substitutes for pancake syrup, and the pancakes are treated with water repellent fabric spray to keep the ‘syrup’ from soaking in
  • barbecued meats are colored and glossed with wood stain, and grill marks are drawn on with eyeliner
  • nuts are fixed in place with super glue, and berries get touched up with lipstick
  • Elmer’s glue is a stunt double for pouring milk; stick a straw in a glass of whipped Crisco and you’ll swear it’s a milkshake
  • aerosol deodorant gives fruit a just-picked look
  • cotton balls, soaked and microwaved, provide the steam for ‘steaming hot’ soup
  • hairspray gives new life to a dried out slice of cake
  • brown shoe polish is applied to raw meat for a crusty, ‘well-roasted’ surface
  • hamburger patties are propped up with cardboard so they don’t sink into the perfect frill of lettuce atop the fluffy bun

There are purists out there who only use the real thing, and if the photographs are destined for advertising, the governing laws dictate that the food product that is the campaign’s subject must be the authentic item, although alterations and enhancements are perfectly kosher. The public should understand that commercialized food imagery is a hyper-idealized version of reality. It’s been gussied for its magazine appearance like a movie star that’s styled for the red carpet.

Like stars without their makeup
Ultimately, we gladly turn to our home-roasted chicken—homely and imperfect, but perfectly delicious. In the same way, we know that our romantic partners are not Angelina Jolie or Brad Pitt, but we are no less satisfied.

 

 

Posted in food business | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Like Stars without their Makeup


A scandal rocked the vegetarian world last month.
It was revealed that vegetarian lifestyle magazine VegNews routinely ran photographs of meat-based dishes to illustrate its meatless recipes. Examples included ice cream made from actual cream, beef frankfurters posing as their vegan counterparts, and pork ribs with the bones airbrushed away to look like a soy substitute. Bear in mind that these were stock photos used for budgetary reasons, and that no animal products touched the VegNews test kitchen. Still, readers were outraged, immediately offering up their online condemnation. They called it hypocrisy of the highest order, a betrayal of their trust, a show of contempt springing from deliberate and systematic deceit.

Food journalists, though, mostly responded with a collective shrug.
Food is, for the most part, supremely unphotogenic. It’s the law of nature that frozen will melt, crisp will wilt, and moist becomes dry. Food stylists have always relied on an arsenal of inedible ingredients and unsavory techniques to get the money shot, in the same way that celebrity stylists enhance their clients with hair extensions, false eyelashes, and push-up bras.

Take roasted chicken. If you make it at home, you know that the flesh shrinks and the skin wrinkles and deflates as it roasts, but in the pages of food magazines it always appears plump with taut, evenly browned skin.  That’s because the picture-perfect chicken has been stuffed with materials like cotton balls and paper towels, its skin was sewn tightly together, and it was roasted just long enough to give it a little texture. Then, still raw on the inside, it’s sprayed with a soap-based mixture and blasted with a blowtorch to achieve the ideal, deep golden-brown color. Bon appetit!

Here are some other tricks of the trade:

  • motor oil substitutes for pancake syrup, and the pancakes are treated with water repellent fabric spray to keep the ‘syrup’ from soaking in
  • barbecued meats are colored and glossed with wood stain and eyeliner grill marks, while roasted meats get a coating of brown shoe polish
  • nuts are fixed in place with super glue, and berries get touched up with lipstick
  • Elmer’s glue is a stunt double for pouring milk; stick a straw in a glass of whipped Crisco and you’ll swear it’s a milkshake
  • aerosol deodorant gives fruit a just-picked look

There are purists out there who only use the real thing, and if the photographs are destined for advertising, the governing laws dictate that the food product that is the campaign’s subject must be the authentic item, although alterations and enhancements are perfectly kosher. The public should understand that commercialized food imagery is a hyper-idealized version of reality. It’s been gussied for its magazine appearance like a movie star that’s styled for the red carpet.

Ultimately, we gladly turn to our home-roasted chicken—homely and imperfect, but perfectly delicious. In the same way, we know that our romantic partners are not Angelina Jolie or Brad Pitt, but we are no less satisfied.

 

 

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The Weird, Wild, Wonderful World of Food ‘Zines

image via the Urban Craft Center


The blogosphere seems downright sedate when you see what’s going on with zines.

For the uninitiated, a zine is a small circulation, independently produced publication. It can be a hand-drawn masterpiece or a crudely photocopied manifesto. The time and materials needed are seldom matched by sales revenue, but profit is rarely the goal of these labors of love. 1,000 copies at $3.00 apiece would be a pretty big deal to most zine publishers. [...]

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Lickable Ads + Cards: even better than scratch-and-sniff!

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It’s tough out there in the 21st century. What’s a magazine to do? The internet is running circles around print. And greeting cards? How can they compete against e-cards with their music and animation?

Welcome to the world of sensory marketing.

For years perfume and cologne companies have been using scented strips to introducing customers to their fragrances. Scratch-and-sniff advertising had a burst of popularity in the late 1970′s. Now peel-and-lick lickvertising is having its moment. [...]

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Locavore? Try one-block-avore.

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Forget about the 100-mile diet. How about the 100-yard diet?

Sunset Magazine has taken local foods to a whole new level with its One-Block Diet. With a long history of expertise in cooking, gardening, and DIY, and utilizing just the open space on their Menlo Park, California campus, the magazine staff is attempting to grow, cultivate, brew, ferment, breed, and distill everything needed for a complete diet.

Not exactly soup to nuts (no nut trees planted yet), the goal is not total sustenance. There is some daily eating that reflects ripening, harvests, and cooking schedules, but the bulk of the food production is geared toward a series of seasonal feasts that are meant to inform, educate, and inspire the magazine’s readership.

Responsibility for the One-Block Diet has been assigned to teams of staff members in more than a dozen categories.

  • Honey, wax candles, and mead, a traditional honey wine, come from a team of beekeepers.
  • Beer brewers and winemakers go from garden to bottle, with enough left for cooking and salad vinegar.
  • There is a cow for milk and cheese, and eggs to collect from the chickens.
  • The mushroom team germinates spores, the olive growers run a press for cooking oil, and the salt crew learned how to harvest from the ocean and nearby salt ponds of San Francisco Bay water.
  • A gardening team grows and harvests fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, culinary herbs and teas, aided by the garden snail removal provided by Team Escargot. It’s all put together in a series of seasonal meals by the kitchen team.

By now, the virtues of going local are well known. In fact locavore is so much a part of the modern lexicon that it was named word the year for 2007 by the Oxford American Dictionary.

Even if you don’t plan on milling your own grains or getting honey from a backyard hive, the One-Block Diet is more than a lark for a bunch of magazine editors playing at farming. At a time when supermarkets sell fish from Viet Nam, plums from Chile, and apples from New Zealand; and the safety and integrity of our food supply is under attack from genetic modifications and food borne illnesses, an experiment like the One-Block Diet opens our eyes to the possibility of fresher, healthier foods and varieties that just taste better than what the supermarket offers.

Any volunteers for Team Escargot?

Team blogs, how-to manuals, menus, recipes and more are found on Sunset Magazine’s One-Block Diet website.

The Locavore app, available through  Apple’s iTunes store, tells you what’s actually grown near you and what’s ripe and available at any time of year.

Eat Local Challenge covers the local foods movement in communities spanning the U.S.

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Food Photography: Have you had your fill?

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Everything he ate

Back in 2004 it was a novel concept. Tucker Shaw snapped a photo before taking a bite of every single meal for a full year and published the collection as Everything I Ate: A Year in the Life of My Mouth.

The book fascinated on a number of levels. We gawked at Shaw’s love affair with the dizzying array of dining options in his hometown of New York. We were charmed by the inside joke of his nearly nightly bowl of cold cereal. It was quirky and tedious and funny and repetitive, and it challenged you to put it down before you looked up what he ate on your birthday that year. [...]

Posted in blogging, cyberculture | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

Time Magazine 100 includes 4 Foodies

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Time Magazine’s annual roundup of the world’s most influential leaders, thinkers, heroes, and artists hits newsstands this week, and this year the list includes four individuals from the food sector whose ideas and talent transform the world we live in. [...]

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Stemming the Flow of Red Ink: Publishers’ wine clubs

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The Wall Street Journal has one. And the New York Times. Playboy Magazine too.

We’re talking about wine clubs; the newest revenue stream for struggling publishers.
Readership is down. Advertising is going the way of the web. Online content has been resistant to monetization.

What’s a news organization to do?

Newspapers and magazines have turned to selling wine as a new way of generating revenue from readers. There’s nothing new about the business model. Classified ads were the traditional way for publishers to take advantage of the communities they created. With subscriptions dwindling and the advent of free Craigslist classifieds, a diverse group of publishers has applied the same principles to wine clubs. [...]

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Food and Fashion: When worlds collide

                    image via Season Five

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Ralph Lauren opens a restaurant in Paris. The Council of Fashion Designers of America publishes a cookbook. Vogue’s Anna Wintour turns Fashion’s Night Out into a potluck.

Has the whole world gone crazy? In the Venn diagram of life, food and fashion do not intersect. Food is what fashionistas avoid so that they can fit into their fashion. [...]

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Real Men Eat Cupcakes: Dude Food

Men are taking back the kitchen..

Of course plenty of men have always enjoyed cooking. What’s different now is that so many of them aren’t just men— they’re guys, they’re dudes, they’re bros.

The bros are a subculture that’s been closely associated with take out pizza and happy hour chicken wings. When they venture into their man-cave kitchens, they’ve been best known for barbeque skills and beer can chicken, eschewing anything as wussy-ass as salads and vegetables and any dish that requires a recipe. But this new breed of food dudes is stretching its culinary muscles. [...]

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Gourmet Magazine: the aftermath

GOURMET TODAY Cover

Where are they now?

When Conde Nast pulled the plug on Gourmet Magazine, none were more shocked than the magazine’s 180 employees who were cleaning out their desks as we were reading news of the closure in the morning paper. They were cut loose along with the employees of more than 450 other magazines and countless newspapers that folded in 2009. But a stint at Gourmet is something special on a resume, and many former staffers have resurfaced in new and notable capacities. [...]

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Gourmet, Unbound: an online celebration of a magazine’s legacy

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The food world has been reeling from the shock.
On October 5, 2009 Condé Nast announced that Gourmet will cease monthly publication due to a decline in advertising sales and shifting food interests among the readership . The magazine’s November 2009 issue, distributed in mid-October, was the magazine’s last. [...]

Posted in recipes, social media, Web 2.0 | Tagged , , | 3 Comments
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