Saturday, March 7, 2009

Bon Appétit


44. Being a collector is one of my personality traits. I have collected recipes from a variety of places, since I can remember...probably 10 years old. I would sit and copy from my mother's cookbooks onto three ring notebook paper. She would just smile...as she cooked and baked away. Although she wasn't so happy when I began cutting pictures out to place in my handmade cookbook. Her favorite recipes...but who knows what they were suppose to look like. My 10 year old has begun her first cookbook this year and it brings back so many memories for me. She made a cute book and created special sections.
Bon Appétit is one of the magazines in my library. While in college I discovered this wonderful cooking magazine and purchased a back copy in a second hand store...since then, have been on the mailing list for, oh, about...hmm 20+ years!!! I have every copy from October 1977 to March 2009! I am in search of old back copies I have missed and would die for the premier issue!

One of my heart breaking stories is something my daughter Emily will never forgive me for! (She's a collector just like her mom...bags...that's all I'm going to say =) While packing to move several years ago, I owned the entire collection of Martha Stewart Living Magazines...from the Premier Issue. We had packed for a week and the last room to pack was the garage. I was tired, sad and couldn't figure out how I could have collected so much stuff...when I looked at the MS magazines and said...oh well....they are just magazines...and I began to throw them away. A few, I tore out recipes and saved various pages from, but several years worth of my wonderful collection was put out into the rain, in boxes. I know...it's just stuff. But sometimes I miss them. Of course, I have replaced every last one of them with every new issue since. That is why my garage doubles as a library. I still have the Premier Issue...I want Martha to sign it some day. It had the best Christmas ideas and a wonderful pine tree guide that I go to every year. Not to mention the great recipes! She packed jewels into that first issue.
Bon Appétit has been a companion for me in my kitchen. I look forward to it's arrival in the mail each month. The older copies are just marvelous. The cooking is reminiscent of Julia Childs and has many recipes I dreamed of making some day. I loved the styling of each magazine...there was a type of romance and status in the title, layout and gorgeous pictures, on the cover and hidden in each page. The 1980's copies are among my most favorite...mid 1990's I saw a change in the style of restaurants and recipes chosen. Then when 2000 came, the entire format changed as well as the cover format and new style of advertisement. But still, they were keepers!
Since the beginning of the January 2008 issue, I have begun to loose my romance with this once-wonderful magazine. The cover styling has been changed. For any other magazine...it is great...but for Bon Appétit??? It has lost it's decedent beauty. That warm, inviting appeal for the eye and appetite. I am experiencing a personal protest! "What have you done to this beautiful magazine?" I don't think they have to compete with anyone! I have to admit, I sent a complaint into the editor when the October 2008 issue came out.  The front cover is whitewashed with a large, dirty, copper pot filled with, what looks like regurgitated stew.  When the mail arrives, and you take the new magazine out of the plastic cover...I am saying, "ewe!", or "yuck!", or "That's just wrong!" And what happened to the color!!!  It seems the styling has become the "default" new "green" mentality, lets wear recycled burlap and sit in the field and eat mushrooms.

My sweet friend Angela has old Good Housekeeping Magazines she has saved as a treasure for many years. While baking with her at Christmas, she let us browse through them, and it hit my daughter Emily and I..."The new styling and photography is in the old 50's styling!!!!" You know, the muted, washed out, off-coloring style, but it is messy, unkept, tatered and not polished. Like M. Night Shyamalan directed the photography in "The Village" styling. Don't get me wrong. The old 50's magazines were art! plain and simple. When you look through them, there was so much hand sketching done, along with photographs. But what the new Bon Appétit has done...is just wrong. I have to say, I don't set them out on display any more. The front cover is just unappealing! The recipes inside still hold true to the integrity of the magazine, but they are beginning to wane. It seems they are following in the footsteps of the new trend of "easy everyday cooking".

But is that what Bon Appétit is really about??? There are thousands of recipes at our fingertips that are easy...give us back the art in food you have done for so many years! Am I ranting...I'm ranting. Ending my subscription is on my to-do list. I have a whole library, and garage full, of awesome recipes to choose from.

So, keep your eyes open for these oldies...you will fall in love!
Epicurious is a wonderful cooking site on line and they have a
plethora of "old" Bon Appétit recipes...I use Epicurious every week!

So there it is, a quick glance at my Bon Appétit library collection...now, what are we going to cook today???

"Resolve to be thyself;
and know that he who finds himself,
loses his misery."
~ Matthew Arnold 1825

2 comments:

fearlesschef said...

I let my subscription lapse, too. Not due to the photography styling, but due to the fact that I can't bear to throw them away. As a result, I am well on my way to a garage full of issues. I can get updated online, so there's really no need, I suppose.

Tami said...

Love reading recipes....making them too!

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