When I became more and more interested in restaurants, food, and cooking (late 80’s?) I got attracted to publications about the subject. Probably my first subscription to a “foodie” magazine was for (the now defunct) "Gourmet", which always had interesting recipes and articles. The likes of Ruth Reichl, Jacques Pepin, and James Beard all contributed to it regularly. As time went by, with the help of chefs like Emeril (Bam! Bam!) Lagasse’s TV show, the “foodie” phenomenon exploded, spawning even more TV shows, with outlets like the Food Channel throwing increasingly (IMHO) silly shows at you like the (disgusting) “Top Chef” genre. Few individual chefs with some real talent had their own show, but with with pretenders like Guy Fieri and Rachel (I love me) Ray, who seemed to be in it solely for their own promotion. Anyway, along with the TV explosion, publications also proliferated. Being a sucker for the usual “deals” if you “subscribe now”, I signed up for anything that seemed to be of real value. I skipped things like “Cooking Light”, or “Healthy Cooking” types of things favoring those that had serious treatment of food and classical cooking techniques rather than how to cut corners, cooking fast and easy type of things.
Anyway as the industry grew, so did my “library” (what? Throw that out? I might want to cook that sometime?) with the result that today our living room coffee table often grows to look like
Littered with things I am meaning to read more carefully
And as the volume grew it even began to take over our loft
And after that got over populated, I established the Bottom Feeder Archives in a corner of our basement
Where magazines were stored in boxes by date (note dates)
(and a few sleeves of Titleists)
And then eventually those boxes gave way to tubs
Saveur over Parker
So the other day MFO laid down the edict: DO SOMETHING! We are having house guests in a couple of weeks, and having them bed down on a nest of magazines doesn’t seem very hospitable. She pitched in and organized piles into the last year’s or so and tidied things up
We may donate complete years of various magazines to the annual Friends of the Library Book Sale, which softens the blow a little, but there are some with which I cannot bare to part (Garden and Gun, Saveur for instance).
Somehow giving up things I have cherished for over twenty years is like losing an old friend. Devotion to food and its preparation have been (and continue to be) a large factor in who I am. I suppose it’s my age, but there is something comforting about holding a real magazine in your hand, slowly turning the pages, savoring (get it?) images of beautifully prepared food, reading the ingredient list, and mentally following the preparation and techniques. And yes, most if not all can be found on “the web”, but clicking on this and that, scrolling past innumerable ads just isn’t the same.
Appendix: I kind of did this for my own edification (and amazement!) but here is a list of my stuff:
Magazines (mostly) devoted to food
Food & Wine
Milk Street (Christopher Kimball’s new venture)
Cuisine at Home
Sauce (newspaper mailed from St. Louis – reviews, openings, closings, etc.)
Imbibe (Devoted to cocktails and craft beers)
Restaurant and Hospitality
Washington Post’s semi-annual Tom Sietsema’s dining supplements
(Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate)
Other Magazines with significant food content
Garden and Gun (Southern Culture and food)
Martha Stewart Living
Travel and Leisure
Washingtonian (always has a best new restaurant issue)
Baltimore Magazine (ditto, best crab cakes, etc.)
St. Louis Magazine (ditto)
Savor (Freebie from Giant)
Magazines no longer in print
Art of Eating (now on Line only)
Gourmet (gone, but an icon)
La Cucina Italiana
Other Notes of interest
Speaking of friends (not magazines), a few years ago when I was writing a little column for the St. Mary’s County Tourism Website, I worked with the tourism folks and got to know Andrew Ponti, who helped Carolyn Laray before she left. They were both very helpful in promoting our Oyster Festival, BeerFest, and other local events in the county. I found out that Andrew will be “running” for the Leonardtown Town Council. I of course will not be able to vote, but anybody who lives in Leonardtown should consider him. Have always known him as a person who acts ethically, and besides is a really nice guy! Oh, by the way, he is an avid Bottom Feeder Fan as well!
Here are a couple of Keurig cups I will never use (they always throw in a few of those in a “variety” pack).
Now that Cove Point LNG plant is coming on line (I assume) we see more ships that are going to onload some gas, and due to the nature of the product, they always send out the “fire boats” from the Solomons to usher them to the plant and be there during the loading process. I caught them while testing their equipment - turned out to be a nice shot..