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A Review from someone who's actually read the magazine, and since the redesign, too
on January 24, 2010
Cooking Light used to be one of my favorite magazines because it had genuinely light recipes that were both healthful and tasty. Over the years the recipes somehow got more and more fattening and the articles more boring, but I still always found recipes I liked in every issue. I never liked the "lifestyle" articles as they took up the entire first half of the magazine and were a complete bore, in my opinion. But still, it was one of my favorite magazines.
I had let my subscription lapse for several months when I got an invitation from Amazon for a $5.00 rate for one year. It was too good to pass up so I went for it. Well, when I got my first issue it became immediately apparent to me that this was not the same magazine that I had known and loved for so long. I then learned that the entire editorial staff was fired last year and a new one put in its place. That, plus the entire format of the magazine had been completely overhauled.
Don't get me wrong - Some of the changes are positive and I think CL can theoretically benefit from some sort of redesign. I like the new color photo with each recipe, plus the type fonts and layout are in general more up to date and pleasant to look at. In addition, the "lifestyle and fitness" section that ate up the entire first half of the magazine is gone and the recipes are more spread out amongst more concise, "bullet point" style one page articles. That to me is both good and bad - The layout is better and the boring stuff is gone from the first half of the magazine, but the information in the new "sound byte" articles is not really that interesting nor informative and at times even the longer articles are just ho-hum. Plus, gone are the letters to the editor and some of the reader input articles that were a part of the old format.
On top of that, the recipes themselves show no sign of getting any lighter. In fact they seem to be getting heavier and heavier - That is, more calories and fat in every serving than ever before. And the types of recipes are heavily weighted towards comfort foods, the kinds of which are impossible to get down to anything below 20 grams of fat per serving. 20 grams of fat per serving, people!!! Is this light cooking? I don't think so! At least if you're going to make a magazine about light cooking, give people what you say you're giving them. I can find 20 gram of fat recipes in any cooking magazine. Why do I need this one? I'm not asking for ridiculously low counts, but something hovering about 10 grams of fat would be fine. What made Cooking Light a great magazine is that it was different from all the rest. Now it is just more of the same. Ho hum, I can get that anywhere.
The irony of it is that the other day I found the November issue of CL in my doctor's office. Inside was a "sound byte" article encouraging us to "make peace with those few extra pounds". I guess this is some sort of propaganda to justify the higher fat and calorie counts in their supposedly "light" recipes. And the truly ironic part is that if I make those recipes I surely WILL have to make peace with a few extra pounds, LOL!
By the way, what's up with people rating the magazine without even having read it yet? I don't get that. If you haven't read it yet, you can't critique it. And by the way, Amazon was very clear that it could take up to 10 weeks or so to receive your first issue. Duh, that is only par for the course with magazines in general in my experience.