I always enjoy hearing what books, magazines or blogs my friends are reading, so in case you do too I thought I’d share a few food magazines I’ve been reading lately. First off, let me say I love food magazines. Whether I’m admiring the gorgeous photos, discovering new ingredients or finding inspiration within the pages, I’m hooked. This past week I’ve been reading two food magazines that diverge from mainstream food magazines, and in doing so provide a refreshing take on food and cooking.
This brand new food magazine was founded by two Bay Area food bloggers, Anita Chu of Dessert First and Stephanie Shih of Desserts for Breakfast. I first stumbled across Stephanie’s blog through Food Gawker and was enchanted by her food photos, which reminded me of still life paintings because of their dark shadows and artistic arrangements. The duo of bloggers have outdone themselves with the first issue of their magazine: Thoughtful, interesting and well-executed, sated infuses the food magazine scene with elegant images and quality content.
The Dark Chocolate Issue of sated is brimming with beautiful photos of chocolate and chocolate desserts as well as recipes galore, an essay on the history of chocolate, an interview with a chocolate startup and a guide to Bay Area chocolate artisans. I was delighted to open the magazine and find a poem written by a friend from church, Annelies of the blog The Food Poet. There are no advertisements cluttering the pages of the magazine, just 90 full-color pages of chocolate inspiration. I’ll admit that it took me a few months to cough up $18+shipping for the issue, but I’m not in the least bit sorry I did — this magazine is going to be displayed on my coffee table, not crammed among my other food magazines on a bookshelf. Paired with a few artisan chocolate bars, sated would make a great Christmas gift for the foodie in your life. The next issue is coming out soon, so bookmark the blog for the latest info.
I should make this clear from the get-go: Labeling Gastronomica as a food magazine is a bit of a misnomer because it is actually a scholarly journal. There are no recipes in Gastronomica, no features deciphering the five latest diet trends, no roundups of the best 10-inch skillets. What’s the appeal, then? Gastronomica’s subhead, “The Journal of Food and Culture,” provides a clue: culture. You don’t have to be a sociologist to realize that our Western culture is obsessed with food. This journal takes a step back and asks such questions as How do we interact with food and what does this say about us? What can we learn from food cultures different than ours, whether in a different part of the world or a different century? Through personal essays, poems, book reviews, art critiques and interviews, the writers posit their answers to these kinds of questions.
The lastest issue, Fall 2012, contains an article that food bloggers may find particularly relevant: “Dishing It Out: Food Blogs and Post-Feminist Domesticity.”Author Paula M. Salvio examines several top food blogs—The Pioneer Woman Cooks, Smitten Kitchen, Cannelle et Vanille—through a scholarly lens and attempts to reconcile her feminist ideals with the seemingly un-feminist domesticity that is prevalent on many food blogs. Whatever your take on feminism and domesticity, the article is certainly a fascinating read.
Gastronomica runs $12.99 a pop, but the 130+ page journal will provide hours of reading time and plenty of fodder for thought projects.