Grub Street pal Adam Roberts, known to the world as the Amateur Gourmet, penned a defense of home cooks today, pegged on our recent “incendiary” remarks about Bon Appétit. (Has that phrase ever been written before?) Roberts stands up for the home cook: “You may not find us in the glossy pages of New York Magazine, but you will find us at our kitchen table, laughing with friends, and digging into a slice of homemade apple pie.” Don’t get us wrong: New York is devoted to home cooking, and in fact, we have a pretty sizable recipe database which you can draw from. As far as our position here on Grub Street, though, we think we’re being misunderstood.
Far from considering “people who eat in” boring, we actively envy them. We’d much rather chatter with loved ones over a steaming cassoulet than stand at the sink eating last night’s porchetta out of a baggie. But food magazines, when not explicitly service-oriented (like, say, Cook’s Illustrated, the best of all recipe magazines), are trying to reach a wider, savvier audience with an unprecedented appetite for gastronomical news. And if those magazines don’t change, don’t draw on the action out there in a very fast-moving food scene, or otherwise participate in what used to be called the public sphere, they can’t expect to be considered relevant. Bon Appétit is at this point the U.S. News & World Report of the food world, a well-respected backwater that commands loyalty but not much passion. At least that’s the way we think of it. Continue to disagree in the comments!