Once the turkey carcass has been picked of any last remaining meat and the pie crumbs wiped from the counter, I like to spend the weekend after Thanksgiving catching up on reading. It’s time for some R&R after all the cooking and entertaining. Inevitably I have a stack of magazines that have piled up over the last few months. I settle into the sofa with a blanket and I am set for the day. It may seem odd to read about food after a day of serious eating but not for me. Over the years magazines come and go in my house as I lose interest or they become predictable. I have four favorites that I wait impatiently for the postman to put into my mailbox each month.
One is California Country magazine published by The California Farm Bureau. If you want to learn about farmers, ranchers and agriculture in California, this is a must read. Printed without a big budget or advertising, California Country has articles about water issues, wineries, nuts, citrus, produce, flowers and anything relating to California agriculture. It focuses on big and large scale farms. Once you start reading California Country it sinks in how much food is grown in this state and how much the rest of the country (and the world) depends on California. One of the things I like best is you get to know the people who are involved in agriculture. They are dedicated, hardworking, fun and caring people. The magazine also has a companion television series shown within the state of California. If you can’t catch it on television you can see watch many of the episodes on their website.
Another favorite is Saveur magazine. Like other food periodicals it offers recipes but it doesn’t stop there. Regional and international foods are explored from cultural, historical and culinary perspectives. Saveur is about “real food, real places, real people.” The latest issue featured kimchi, a Jerusalem food market, as well as a turkey article celebrating and attempting to preserve heritage breed birds.
Another favorite monthly, but surely not in third place, is Vogue Entertaining and Travel from Australia. Each time I pick up this magazine I have to restrain myself from calling the airlines and booking a flight to Sydney. The first time I went to Australia in 1987 I was amazed by the food. It equals California in terms of style and ingredients but is also influenced by Europe and Asia. The food is simple but sophisticated. I want to eat every recipe in every issue.
My go to magazine when I want to get into the nuts and bolts of baking and cooking is Cook’s Illustrated. I admit I often read the last part of an article to see the best way to make something and then I go back and read all the versions that got them to the finished recipe. Kind of like reading the end of a mystery novel first. Chris Kimball and his crew are amazing at analyzing recipes in painstaking detail. I can make their recipes for a dinner party and not have to try them beforehand. They always work.
These magazines keep me inspired, cooking and well fed all year. For that I am thankful.