Friday, May 27, 2011

Fugging the June Bon Appetit Cover

I've been subscribing to bon appétit for years, so it takes a lot for me to look @ a cover and go "Ugh!"
Which is exactly what happened with the June issue--
and since one of my other guilty reading pleasures is "Go Fug Yourself" -- I'll take the opportunity to go "Fug the Cover" on this (hopefully that feature isn't trademarked!)

1. Out of all the talented, creative, innovative chefs (and even food personalities) out there -- Gwyneth? Really?!? (yes, channeling a little Weekend Update here.) While I can appreciate that she's an actress who eats pretty well, she's not really a person I turn to for food and cooking advice. In addition to not being a professional (even seasoned amateur is a lofty label,) she wreaks of snooty privileged pretension - easily reflected by her GOOP writings - and she regularly gets into a guilt complex about eating good food (or worse yet, sabotages the traditional recipe with her swaps.)

2. They had Gwyneth eating spaghetti . . . after their debut re-tooled issue being focused on Italy! How 'bout a little more variety next time? Or should I expect to see Batali scarfing a pizza in the July issue? (2a: also, photoshopped much? Notice the difference between her perfectly even toned face & her freckled décolletage.)

3. Gwyneth is a also poor cover choice because anyone in the news biz should've known that she'd be working it up & down the media circus to promote her book. By the time this landed in my mailbox, I've already heard, read and watched her retelling her life story, philosophy on eating, favorite foods & recipes and yadda yadda a gazillion times.

4. Practically all the cover page teasers are totally predictable . . . which is a serious problem if the point is to pique my curiosity and compel me to flip to see what's inside. I felt like Ms. Cleo as my eyes glazed by all of them: Better-than-ice-cream frozen desserts (semi freddos & granitas), farm-fresh diet (CSAs), even the strawberry shortcake sliders (make a sweet biscuit/scone and stack it with the berries & cream) and the crispiest chicken (pan-roasted).

Having said all that about the cover ... the issue's contents are not that bad. There was an impressive feature on shrimps (the different varieties, various preparations and good dose of delicious-sounding recipes,) a delightfully opinionated manifesto with the rules of summer cooking, and a whimsical and inspiring piece on crostini makeovers. And all of them would've made for more intriguing cover promos.

AND, I'll concede, even some of Ms. Goop's recipes are interesting... but I would've much preferred seeing it as just another feature/profile/lifestyle piece rather than the blatantly in-your-face cover. And yes, I get celeb faces sell & that BA is trying to broaden its appeal (and increase circulation) but I hope it won't be at the expense of alienating its core audience of food enthusiasts... lest it wants to get into the much-parodied & -derided Food Network route.

But for now, I'll still give the mag the benefit of the doubt that they're still tinkering & experimenting with their editorial focus. Hopefully it'll be on better ground by the time my subscription comes up for renewal in a few months.


That Girl Van said...

I completely agree with you. When I received it in the mail the other day I was shocked. They have such wonderful covers (including Gourmet Mag - RIP). I happen to have archived covers from the 50s, 60s, & 70s and never have seen a person on the cover.

LetMeEatCake Eat With Me! said...

i totally agree with you and had the same feeling when i got the issue. i miss gourmet :(

Steve2 in LA said...

So you liked the content of the magazine but took issue with the cover material?

No doubt Bon Appetit's new editor has noted your scathing disfavor and will check with you the next time he and his staff decide to try something different. Thank goodness they have you as the arbiter of proper publishing.

H. C. said...

@Van & LetMeEatCake, ha! actually I've never been a huge Gourmet reader and actually have usually preferred BA's approachability. But this most recent restructure took a bit far.

@Steve, I never claim to do be able to do an editor or publisher's job -- this was merely my view as a reader, though I doubt I'm the only one in dismay over BA's first cover with a celebrity.

And as far as content goes, it was neither better nor worse than their typical issue (though I do notice a bit of dumbing down since the restructure but too early to call with only 2 issues out.)


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...