Necessity, they say, is the mother of invention. Sometimes the harshest constraints can lead to the best, most beautiful, most creative results.
Such is the case with Saveur magazine, at least in our opinion.
First, the bad news: Saveur suffered some devastating layoffs at the beginning of this year. The staff was essentially gutted, including Adam Sachs, the editor in chief who had served in that role since 2014, the photo editor, and the creative director. Thanks to this latest round of downsizing, Saveur now has just six full-time staffers.
The One Food Magazine You Should Buy in July: Saveur
But out of those tough constraints has come a Saveur that seems refreshed, reinvigorated, and just may prove to be a more exciting magazine overall. The first "new" issue is out now, and if you only buy one food magazine this month, we think this should be it.
First off, Saveur will now produce just four issues a year, down from six. Each issue is much longer (with 50 percent more pages per issue, according to new Executive Editor Stacy Adimando, who had been the magazine's test-kitchen director since 2016). It's also printing on higher-quality paper, and it's been redesigned with a bolder, more assertive style.
On top of that — at least if this initial relaunch issue is any indication — it seems that each new issue of Saveur will be focused around a single unifying theme. The current volume, "The Oceans and Islands Issue," features seafood and coastal stories from around the world.
Frankly, with all of those tweaks, Saveur is starting to look a whole lot more like the sorts of indie food mags we wrote about last month. And that's a very interesting thing to watch.
The "new" Saveur seems both experimental and extremely self-assured, confident in its voice while also pushing the envelope of what a mainstream food magazine can be. Saveur has long been the most serious, most scholarly, and most global of the mainstream mags; it seems to be leaning into that identity even more. The newest issue reads almost like National Geographic: Food, and we mean that in the best possible way.
There's a new section called Range, featuring "kitchen lessons from around the globe," which in this seafood-focused issue includes a Middle Eastern fish fry and the perfect Peruvian ceviche. And it's still got Saveur's signature deeply reported and smartly written pieces on global food culture, including a visit to a kelp farm off the Connecticut coast, a beautifully photographed sea-urchin dive in Northern California, a coconut-infused seafood feast on the Thai island of Ko Yao Noi, and a brief but fascinating item about how one restaurant in Cape Town, South Africa, is adapting to that city's crippling drought. And lots, lots more.
It's a tumultuous time for food magazines, and the challenges facing Saveur are surely familiar to all the other mainstream food mags out there. Watching the way Saveur is responding to those challenges — shifting its editorial approach and embracing the things that make it different from all the other titles out there — is fascinating.
Where to Buy the Issue
Other Magazines We Recommend This Month
Another magazine worth checking out this month? Food & Wine, which is out with its 30th annual (!) Best New Chefs issue. This yearly compendium has profiled 323 up-and-coming chefs over the past three decades. The latest edition is a must-read, crisscrossing the country from New York to L.A. to Nashville to Seattle, profiling some of the most exciting culinary talents in America right now.
Finally, we're loving the July/August issue of Martha Stewart Living. Nobody does summer like Martha. Every year, the magazine's summer issues are almost painfully enticing and crave-worthy. It's like the summer you wish you were having. The latest issue includes a feature on summer in Vermont that'll have you packing your bags for the Green Mountain State. And the issue's cover recipe is a stunningly beautiful twist on a BLT, in which the "L" stands for "lobster" (because Martha).
Happy July! Stay cool, and leave us a comment to let us know what you're cooking this month!