Thursday, March 27, 2008

So disappointed.

Do you subscribe to Bon Appetit Magazine?

Bon Appetit, the long-established king of food porn, recently underwent many changes in its appearance and some in its content.

Some of the changes are bad. Really, really bad.

The photography in BA has always been key to enjoying the magazine. The pictures were of beautiful food, artfully presented in trendy dishes and stylish settings. Food you wanted to eat in an environment you wanted to inhabit. Now? Extreme close-ups of ingredients which are brightly backlit. Ugh. See January '08, pg. 86-89 as an example, but the absolute worst is the March '08 article "The Perfect Potato." Pg. 84 has extreme close-ups of whole potatoes (who thought that would be interesting?), Pg. 86-87 is a potato gratin extreme close-up that looks so greasy I no longer had any interest in making it, and the backlit extreme close-up of roasted potatoes on pg. 88 which made them look burned. I love potatoes, but by the end of the article they turned my stomach a little bit. The photography is supposed to make us want to make the food, not retch.

There is also a font change in the text. It's smaller. Why oh why, with an aging core group of subscribers, would a magazine make their font smaller and less easy to read? The "What to buy now", admittedly never my favorite part of the issue since I don't spend money, is now an unreadable page of postage stamps.

I save old copies of the magazine and often pull them out to make favorite recipes again. I made the leg of lamb from April '95 for Easter this year (YUM!) and I was surprised how far downhill the whole magazine had come. From a high point in the early 2000s to what they have now- so disappointing.

Yes, the recipes are probably still good- I don't know, I haven't been inspired to make any. Yes, the writing is still of a high quality- even if the print makes me wonder if I'll need reading glasses before I'm forty. However, when my current subscription runs out, I'm not renewing. I'll stick with searching their web site for the best recipes.

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