Sunday, November 6, 2005

November Sundays and the Joy of Holiday Magazines

Well Halloween is over so everywhere there are signs of Christmas. I don’t know why we always have to rush to the next thing rather than savor the moment, but that’s what we seem to do here in Canada and the U S anyway.

Looking back, I seem to start a lot of my posts with “this is my favorite season” or “I love this time of year best of all”. It seems that really every season is my favorite (although I really dread the long gray, gloomy, dreary, bleak, bone-chilling….you get the idea….days of winter. Even though I have been known to whine about the heat of summer, I love it for the colors in nature, when everything is in bloom and the wonderful fresh local produce that taste even better than they look– fruits and vegetables in abundance, each one more flavorful than the next. And let’s face it, the beginning of winter is gorgeous – white snow everywhere, covering dead grass and leafless trees, that chill just cold enough to turn cheeks rosy and not enough to keep us hibernating, the change of wardrobe (I love my winter coat and boots for the first month or so). I finally get to wear those sweaters and scarves I spent much of the year knitting (and too much of the year too hot to wear). The problem comes around the end of January – snow is dirty and piled too high by the side of streets (hard to park the car), everything looks gray, and there’s no fresh local produce to speak of. Although lots of the imported stuff looks great, it a) costs a fortune and b) has very little flavor. It’s almost like eating a photo – some things are better to look at than eat.

But I digress, I love THIS time of year because it’s the perfect time of year for long walks – the air is crisp, like the leaves under foot. I love it for the soups and stews and holiday treats. I particularly love it because this is when my favorite food magazines are filled with holiday delicacies. So I started my Sunday morning in my usual fashion – reading the NY Times in bed with my honey and eventually wandered downstairs to spend this gray and rainy afternoon on the couch reading my latest purchases (I’ve added links to the magazine sites so you could all share in my pleasures): Waitrose Food Illustrated that has the most GORGEOUS cover of spices (you can almost smell it), Cook’s Illustrated : The Best Recipes for Holiday Baking, Gourmet (this one focuses on Thanksgiving),Cooking Light holiday cookbook (it’s so wonderful that there’s a cookbook that focuses on great taste AND is healthy),Saveur (that has the most gorgeous pumpkin pie on the cover), Martha Stewart Holiday Cookies (they all look amazing), fresh (not a holiday edition but has some great Fall slooooow cooking ideas) and, last but not least, Food and Travel UK (unfortunately they have no website yet) with a stunning Turkish lamb shank with couscous for the cover).

Happy reading – there’s nothing like looking at gorgeous food shots, sipping your favorite tea and thinking about which recipes you’re going to try first. What’s your pick? I’m sure I’ll share mine later this week.


Anonymous said...

You are so right! Either I'm a boring girl, or I'm just getting older, but I'd choose staying in with a stack of food mags over getting dressed up and going out. I love dreaming and drooling over the food, and every month, I wonder, how will they ever come up with another new issue's worth of recipes? Surely they've all been published by now?!

Mona said...

Love this post, love the magazines, and yes, LOVE THE SEASON:)
I'm hoping to make food writing a career somehow and a guide I recently purchased to help me advised my subscribing to food magazines. I can't decide which one would be the best-any recs? I'm kind of on the poor side so don't have any subscriptions to date :)

Ruth Daniels said...

Ladies, glad you both agree. I love getting my new batch of magazines. And isn't it amazing how many ways you can cook a turkey or use up a sweet potato?

Mona, I'm not sure which is my favorite magazine - I love so many, but really what I often do is go to my favorite book store (here in Toronto it would be one of the Chapters/Indigo stores), grab a number of magazines, find a seat and flip through them. Sometimes they all stay in the store and only the ideas come home. Sometimes I need the whole bunch. Mostly I buy the one or two that have the most interesting articles, pictures, recipes. My lop-sided rationale when buying is on how many recipes I "need" when doing the flipping. If I only find one in the whole magazine, it usually stays on the shelf.

Many magazines have articles and recipes on line, so you might want to start there. Good luck