I absolutely love cooking, baking and experimenting with food. I have a kitchen and bookshelves full of cookbooks and recipes. I have some that are very reliable where I don't even have to test the recipe before serving for the first time - and those that are not to reliable that sit on my shelf and look pretty.
I have to say that I was given a subscription of Bon Appetit that lasted year about 7 years ago. I do refer to them when I am having company or want that one special dish to go with an otherwise plain meal.
I have made a cake from here that was a chocolate ganache with a seedless raspberry sauce that took about 10 hours to make or chicken dishes that required special ingredients and many steps to get to the final product. I am most usually very pleased with the results which are worth the extra time. Most of the recipes, I find, are rich and not something I would serve everyday. I would also pick only one of the recipes from Bon Appetite and serve that with other, easier, recipes.
I have some great magazines where you know the ingredients are already in your pantry. When I plan on using a recipe from Bon Appetit, I know that I have to preview and plan so that I cna go shopping for that cilantro or that habanero pepper that the recipe may call for.
I do recommend this for the more experienced cook, not the beginner , not necessarily the professional, but someone who is comfortable with the kitchen. I also know from my experience that one years subscription is worth a lifetime.
I had been a subscriber for several years. I let my subscription lapse and when I renewed, I found that the magazine had a new editor. Unfortunately, the new editor has taken to placing more advertisements than recipes. Searching through the magazine for an article or recipe is now tedious as you have to go through pages of ads before you get to an article. The RSVP column is not nearly as good as it used to be either. I miss William Gary's humorous columns. They were always the first thing I read.
The "Ask Bon Appetit" was also one of my favorites that I haven't noticed in a few issues. I hope it will remain part of the magazine.
The "Bon Vivant" column is still fun, and I hope that it will remain as part of the magazine as well.
Recommended For: Anyone
I am a several year subscriber to Bon Appetit, and while I still enjoy the recipes, I am becoming increasingly disappointed in the content. Many people seem bothered by the "pod-people" entertaining sections, but I have always liked looking at the centerpieces, table settings and learning the new recipes.
Lately, however, it seems that the magazine staff has been recycling recipe ideas and pandering (more than normal) to the advertisers. There are often entire sections of advertising that may or may not include recipes. The recipes have been dumbed down a bit, as well. I've seen more and more instant fix recipes, which are useful, but not what I expect from Bon Appetit. There are fewer and fewer "special" recipes, and although I have never had a Bon Appetit recipe fail, per se, they are no longer as impressive as they once were. Perhaps they are trying to appeal more to the nouveau cook and ignoring time tested ideas. There is nothing wrong with innovation, but it seems that they are striving for innovation for innovation's sake, rather than because it has merits within the recipe.
There is also a distressing trend toward 3 or more "product" sections, which adds up to magazine sponsored advertising. There is quite enough advertising as it is.
While I still like most of the recipes in the magazine, this is one subscription that I won't be renewing this year.
I have subscribed to Bon Appetit for five years now, and have been noticing a downward shift in the magazine's quality for quite some time. As other reviewers have mentioned, when the magazine was edited by the late William Garry, I would frequently make at least half the recipes printed for the month. They were tasty, just complex enough to keep things interesting, and reliable.
Since Barbara Fairchild has taken over, the magazine has indeed gone too yuppy. My most recient issue, October 2004, brings yet another attempt to revamp its contents. The regular column, Every Night Cooking, which used to cover weeknight dinners that could be made fairly quickly, has been replaced by something else called Fast Easy Fresh. F.E.F's contents consist of only a handful of dinner ideas, along with other useless recipes such as Tangerine Granita with Vanilla Bean Cream (have you seen the cost of a vanilla bean lately?) and Smoked Paprika and Red Pepper Butter. When I'm looking to put dinner on the table in less than half an hour, flavored butter will not be the recipe I turn to first.
One last side note: Bon Appetit's advertising has gotten out of control. I consciously took note of the number of ads in my latest issue before sitting down to write this review, and, I kid you not, there were ads on every other page -- and that was the least of it. Sometimes I would flip ten pages without seeing a single recipe. I realize that the subscription price is not astranomical, like Cook's Illustrated's seems to be, but bear in mind that Cook's gives you a magazine full of recipes, and only recipes -- no ads accepted.
While the dishes I've recently made have come out fairly well, I don't usually test out recipes on dinner guests without first trying them on myself and my husband. I don't have that kind of confidence in Bon Appetit. On the other hand, when I've taken that adventerous step using Cook's, I've not been disappointed. Yes, Bon Appetit features beautiful photos (when the pages are not being sliced in half to accomodate an ad) but I'm not sure that with all my concerns, pretty pictures are worth my money.
I have been subscribing to Bon Appetit for close to 10 years and I decided to write this review because I feel the magazine has really changed...for the worse...over the last 2 years. I used to love BA because the recipes were fantastic, ideal for entertaining, mostly easy and/or fast, with a few exceptions, and not too "fancy" with hard to find ingredients and things that a lot of people, just don't cook. It seems like the magazine has become much more "high end", more like Gourmet , which I don't like. I love to cook but I don't like to spend hours and hours searching for ingredients and standing over the stove everytime I decide to do so.
I've been a subscriber to Bon Appetit for several years now, and while I like the magazine I have found the quality of the recipes lack consistency. Some are good. Some quite poor. I'm always a little hesitant to rely on a recipe from this magazine for a dinner unless I've tested it first and seen that it worked well for me. Bon Appetit recipes can be quite complicated and its a disappointment to spend so much time cooking a meal and have it turn out bland.
Overall, while I will continue to subscribe to Bon Appetit, I suggest using caution on relying on their recipes too much. Also, I feel the adverts, interviews, and other "Filler" material is beginning to lean a bit towards the elitist side of the cooking market and is becoming less accessible to the average non-pro cook.
I love fine food and wine, but some of the recipes this past year have been way out of my league. I have never heard of some of the ingredients they ask for, and wouldn't have a clue where to find them! Of the ones I have tried, however, they all were very good (albeit time consuming). I love the pictures and the articles, but I just don't have the money to keep up with the food.
First of all, I have to note that this magazine is beautiful. The articles and food photography are off the charts. But for a college student like me, I felt the magazine left me feeling a bit of an "outsider" ... if you're well off and fancy the finer things in life, then this magazine is right up your ally. But if you're just an everyday, ordinary girl like me who loves food and cooking, fast and easy, and healthy, then Cooking Light may be a better choice.
I'm beginning to be irritated by more and more of "to see a photo of this dish go to [...]". I could tolerate being directed to the site for nutritional info or "three more delicious meatball recipes", but I part of the reason I subscribed all these years was to see pictures of the food. This magazine will web-site itself into obsolescence.
A fancy food magazine. Interesting articles but odd recipes. It would be nice for those looking to really expand their cooking tastes but I found it not so useful for my kitchen.