Around this time last year, we asked what food magazines you were reading. Only one person commented about Fine Cooking, a title that doesn't get nearly as much attention as Gourmet or Cook's Illustrated. In fact, we were surprised to learn that it's been around since 1993. (We thought it was brand new.) But it's become our favorite food magazine lately. Here's why...Fine Cooking has recently gone through a redesign, and we're loving the look of it: big, bold photos and a really inviting layout. Every recipe is pictured, which is definitely not the case in most food magazines, and there are new sections at the front of the magazine that highlight specific ingredients in simple ways. This month: three recipes for using up a big block of cheddar and a primer on escarole, with a recipe for sautéeing it with raisins and pine nuts.
What we appreciate most about Fine Cooking, though, is that it gives very practical advice. We've mentioned the readers' tips before (like using a pasta strainer to make chicken stock), and there's a section each month devoted to cooking without recipes- we love that! This month it's all about how to build your own soup recipe. Sounds familiar.
The recipes range from quick and easy to more complicated, so they satisfy every level of cook, and there are tips and ingredient spotlights scattered throughout.
What you don't get from Fine Cooking are the essays on travel or food history you might find in Gourmet. But we look at it as a handbook for straightforward cooking advice and good recipes, and for that, it's a great read. It is published by Taunton, the same company that puts out Cook's Illustrated, and while we think the Fine Cooking website is better (it's also been redesigned lately), you do have to pay for some content. We think it's worth it to get a subscription.
• Visit Fine Cooking's website
Anyone else a fan of Fine Cooking?
(Images: Scott Phillips for Fine Cooking)