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New Food Magazine: Recipe.com in Print…

Recipecdotom

My first thought is, why another food magazine? Indeed, the category has been exploding for a while now, with offerings from cooking channels (such as the Food Network’s) and celebrity chefs (Rachel Ray, Paula Deen, Sandra Lee, or collections like The Food Magazine, to name just a few). I mean, you’d think the space was getting rather crowded. Besides, aren’t we supposed to be going paperless these days, with the InterTubez available and all?

Well, guess what; the foodie InterWebz is coming to print! At least one site, that is. Recipe.com is now available on your newsstand. Oh, you can still get it online or through your phone, natcherly. Meredith Corporation, who publish magazines in markets, placed the premiere issue of Recipe.com Magazine on the newsstand (and checkout counters, where I have no willpower whatsoever) for the summer. Their next issue will be in September. Officially, the mag is a Better Homes and Gardens Special Interest Publication (SIP).

I get the distinct impression they’re testing the market to see what might be a supportable frequency; for now, it looks to be quarterly. We’ll see if it stays or goes, and how many times a year we’ll see it.

I often visit Recipe.com, cruising for specific ideas on meals and dishes. What I find a bit disturbing is, there’s absolutely no indication on the website that the magazine exists! Very odd. Is it simply a delay in getting the site adjusted? That doesn’t make sense to me; there’s new stuff on there daily; a banner blurb or sidebar box should be a snap to build and publish. Do they want to keep the two separated somehow, the print and the Web stuff? That certainly makes no sense to me. (Note: By the time you read this post, everything can change on the website. That’s the Web for you!)

Back to the publication! Let’s start with some things I like in this volume. Lots of recipes to ogle read through. With large, well-done photos. Many of the pictures are full-page, and yummy-looking enough to almost make you want to take out your flatware and eat. Not a lot of extraneous verbiage to distract you from the interesting recipes and eye-catching pics.

Here’s a point I really like: All the recipes list a per-serving cost. It’s only an estimate, of course! But useful nonetheless. Some of the recipes, the cost number’s in fairly small print; but you find it easily once you know where to look. Right at the top, in the “Makes” line. How many servings, and the per-serving estimate. Your mileage will always vary, of course. I did some back-of-the-envelope estimates using what I know of grocery prices, though, and it’s clear to me that they’re not out of line with my experience. They may even be a bit high, reflecting a conservative philosophy on this point.

Here’s a fun feature. The magazine has those square mobility tags you can read with a smartphone app. That puts the recipe right in your phone. It also connects to grocery options in your area and seeks out coupons on the ingredients for that recipe. It’ll help you build a shopping list, even. Is that cool or what? Now, if it’ll only synchronize with the OurGroceries app that our family relies on, it’d almost be worth Real Money.

The coverage is quite broad. Salads, noodles, meats, low-cost meals and a lot more. Meredith has all their other magazines contribute to Recipe.com. These include Better Homes, Diabetic Living, Family Circle, Fitness, Food Channel and several more. Hence the spread of content. It also brings up my first unfavorable point: It’s all recycled content. Must be. No other contributors are listed. Of course, if you don’t get any of the other magazines, this may not be a huge drawback for you.

Now for a pet peeve of mine, and the Recipe.com magazine hits right in the middle of it. I don’t like recipe indexes that don’t really help you find the recipe. In this case, every recipe in the magazine is in a listing in the back. An alphabetized list. Using the full and complete names of the recipes. No categories. No key ingredients cross-ref. Nothing.

You see how that might be annoying? You want to look through the chicken recipes; no can do. You want to find something that uses stuff in your fridge. You’re outa luck. I’d almost rather have nothing than something that frustrates me just to look through it. How many of you look through a cooking mag, then a week later want to review that nice beef recipe you saw? Yeah, it happens. Do you remember which page? Not exactly, I bet. Do you remember the full and complete name of the dish? Unlikely.

There; I’ll put away the soapbox, I’ve had my little rant. And I feel better for it.

Overall, there’s a lot of nice stuff in the Recipe.com premiere issue. If they can keep this quality level up, they may have a chance. In spite of my feeling that the cooking magazine space is getting crowded, especially with big-name chefs and so on, they can try to leverage their own positive connection to Better Homes and Gardens. And the website, of course. They’ve got a ways to go to prove themselves, though!

I’ll be trying a few of their recipes and reporting back during August. If they impress me, I might even watch for their September release. Naw, scratch that; I’ll definitely be looking for it, given my ongoing coqueriliberimania (try working THAT into a sentence at your next cocktail party!) …

If You Can’t Stand the Heat, Read a Cooking Magazine…

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