Thursday, February 19, 2009

Magazine Apocolypse

Craft Magazine--you know, the ones who loved my Phillies biscornu--is going out of business. I could never justify the hefty price tag. They are maintaining their web presence at Craftzine. In addition, O at Home, Mary Engelbreit's Home Companion, Domino, Cottage Living, and Country Home are all gone. (Apparently even though 9-11 drove us to nest, we're done.)

So, it makes you wonder about this:



I'll admit I don't get the Sandra Lee phenomenon. My mother used to do semi-homemade. She called it doctoring, and it's something she just knew how to do. Before you say she learned it in the kitchen with her mother, this is GrannieSB we're talking about. The woman can make toast and a martini. Actually, she's a bartender--she's going to be 87 soon and will retire for good then--and she can make lots of drinks. But food, not so much. So when my mother opened a can of B&M baked beans and stirred in sauteed onions and peppers and added a glop of mustard and ketchup, it's just because she thought those things would make it better, not because it was a recipe handed on through the generations that we need to go outside and find now because our mothers weren't home to help us anymore. You don't need Sandra Lee, just trust your taste buds.

(I say this like I'm some expert. But the banana bread from yesterday? I didn't actually measure the bananas. The recipe called for 6 medium bananas or two cups of mash. In another recipe Fanny said 2 large bananas was a cup of mash. So I figured I'd be good with 5 bananas and didn't measure. Now I have a banana bread that is totally tasty on either end, and mush in the middle. If I had cooked it any longer it would have burned. So when we get to the middle, we'll throw it away.)

The magazine industry expands and contracts with the economy. When things are bad, companies advertise less. That means fewer ad dollars to run the magazines. And some magazines are jettisoned. Last time, we knew we were coming out of the last slump when Rosie O'Donnell and Oprah--and didn't the Olsen twins?--put out magazines. We saw how that worked. (Just for the record, I said that there was no way Oprah was going to be on the cover of every issue. So I'm not always right.) But the point is we'll come out the other end of this sometime, and there will be magazines. Hopefully some of them will be as good as Craft.

9 comments:

Nic said...

Hmmm.

Over here, even Delia Smith - who basically was on a mission to teach the nation to cook - has given up and gone down the "cheats" route - her latest TV series and book has been how to throw together bought items and pass them off as homemade, sorry feel virtuous doing so. "Well, Delia does it!" is the cry...

Some of us feel Delia is just catching up with the rest of us ... I haven't chopped fresh ginger for years, not when there is the "Very Lazy" stuff in a jar...

That said, I don't try and pass my cooking off as homemade if it isn't. I'm a competent cook, actually - I just prefer to spend my time on more lasting work :o)

As for magazines - they are doomed, all of them. When spend £4.95 (nearly $10) on a knitting magazine with a dozen patterns in it when you can have Ravelry for free?

Lelia said...

Funny you bring up magazines in your post -- I just got a subscription renewal form for SAN-Q magazine & set it aside. Thinking I should just get them at the LNS when there is a 'good' issue. Hard to plunk down $$ when the economy seems bleak & your head tells you to put the $$ elsewhere. Plus, aren't blogs more fun than turning pages in a mag? Still undecided about the renewal

drea_dear said...

The Sandra Lee phenomenon confuses me, too. I already knew how to cook that way. I think anyone who can find a grocery store can cook that way. And she's way too into the "entertaining" aspect of things, with elaborate tablescapes and themed cocktails. At my house, we don't "entertain", we have people over. And maybe if people spent less time and money pretty-ing up your table, they'd have more energy and money to use quality, fresh ingredients, which are better for us anyway.

I subscribe to 3 mags (I think), and they're in a pile in the corner of my bedroom, because I want to read them in order, and I haven't gotten around to it. I think they go back to November. And I'm more likely to look up the same info on the web than flip through magazine pages.

riona said...

With the ever-rising cost of postage most of the magazines to which I used to subscribe, either for leisure or professional reasons, have converted to e-zines for which I simply haven't the patience ... call me old-fashioned but I like the feel of a book or magazine in my hands. I did subscribe to The Joy of Stitching for a year since I won the subscription at a stitching retreat but I found myself printing out fewer and fewer pages of each issue as the year progressed.

Kathryn said...

I think the Sandra Lee magazine is part of the growth of Food Network in general. They are also starting The Food Network magazine featuring "celebrity" chefs from the network. I got a Charter Subscription offer, but declined. I'm happy enough with Cook's Illustrated, Fine Cooking, and Bon Appetite. Somewhere along the way I forgot to subscribe to Sauveur, but I do pick up the occasional copy at the newsstand. Maybe I will subscribe again.

We are magazine junkies. My husband probably has a half dozen photo magazines and then ones like Smithsonian and National Geographic. At least he doesn't save them. Me? I have subscriptions to three science fiction magazines, Threads, and Quilter's Newsletter. I like to look at the pictures in the last two and pretend that SOME DAY I will again sew a whole bunch and make quilts. Delusional, I know.

Anna van Schurman said...

Kathryn, I share you delusions--it's why I still have a Piecework subscription even though I have never made anything from it!

Melissa said...

Oh no! No more Home Companion? That was one of my faves. Craft magazine was insane charging $15 an issue. I hated to not support them but that's just crazy.

The Where Women Create magazine is also premium priced. I'd love to buy it but $15 is just too much for my budget.

Michelle said...

I can't stand that semi-homemade chick. And I am so disappointed that I've lost two magazines in the past month. One has yet to let me know it though, I had to find out on the internet. Now I'm stuck with Martha Stewart for until October. Eh.

Donna said...

Thanks for reminding me that I'd better go renew my SANQ subscription because I don't want them to disappear again...

I'm with you on the Sandra Lee thing. I don't get it at all.

And the rumor around here is that Michelle Obama will be the first person other than Oprah on the cover of her magazine. Don't look at me. They printed it in the Washington Post.