Customer Reviews: Cooking Light
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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.
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on November 23, 2010
I've been receiving Cooking Light Magazine for about 8 years now. It was my Bible. I cook from scratch A LOT and everyone knew that every single, solitary recipe I made came from Cooking Light...until now. Over the course of the last year the magazine took a turn for the worse when it comes to providing good, solid, HEALTHY recipes! Healthy, Light...that is the point of the magazine, isn't it? I can find recipes in every other cookbook out there that have dinners with 15+ grams of fat for one small serving! For instance, in the most recent Dec 2010 edition there is a Truffled Wild Mushroom lasagna. Sounds delish, right? Well, why wouldn't it be when one small serving has 424 calorie and 18g of fat!

And in an effort to include different types of foods, there is often page after page of obsecure recipes that ask for items that are very expensive and hard to find (and I live in Chicago next to the country's largest Whole Foods!)

If you are interested in 'cooking light' may I suggest the magazine 'Healthy Cooking'. I've only received 2 magazines so far but seriously folded over nearly every page in the magazines indicating the recipes I want to try!
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on December 2, 2007
I have been a huge fan of COOKING LIGHT magazine for the past few years. I started reading it when I would visit my folks over the holidays. I borrowed a copy of one of my mom's CL issues and loved the results I got when I tried the Korean Bolgoi (grilled strips of beef in a sweet, salty marinade). I was immediately hooked on the magazine. I eventually started receiving a subscription to COOKING LIGHT. I have been a subscriber to both BON APPETIT and GOURMET magazines, let me just say that I think COOKING LIGHT is vastly superior to those magazines (although I do like reading them) because the recipes are not so high end (i.e expensive) and involves expensive, hard to find ingredients. I also enjoy the health tips and articles the magazine provides. I have tried a lot of recipes from COOKING LIGHT and they are all delicious as well as healthy. This magazine is not just about eating healthy but staying healthy too.
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on December 2, 2009
Just a warning to would be subscribers to Cooking Light Magazine. Cooking Light (1-year)

We have subscribed to Cooking Light for several years and have always renewed our subscription by mail paying by check. So it was with some surprise when we received from Cooking Light what was titled an "Automatic Renewal Program" notice. It stated that our subscription that was scheduled to expire in four months would be automatically renewed in six weeks with a charge to our credit card unless we took our time to telephone them and cancel before that date. When we telephoned Cooking Light they informed me that since they did not have a credit card on file they would have simply automatically renewed the subscription anyway as described in the letter and "billed me accordingly" and I would be liable for the bill, if we had not telephoned to cancel the automatic renewal.

We not only cancelled the automatic renewal but were upset enough about their business practices to cancel the remaining 4 months on our subscription. (The phone call and cancellation took place on the date of this review and our subscription was paid up through the March issue) We were informed that since they had already "labeled the February issue" they would only refund one issue and we should expect a check for $2.00 in the mail. Note our experience in relationship to the statement above about Amazon's cancellation policy for this magazine which says a full refund will be made for "unshipped issues." Simply not true.

In any event, buyers should be very cautious about giving a magazine their credit card for payment as it will likely lead to automatic renewals in the future, and, in the unfortunate case of Cooking Light Magazine, they will obligate you for automatic renewals in the future even if they do not have your credit card on file.
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on September 16, 2011
Cooking Light was my favorite magazine until they got the new format. I hate it now. Even the recipes are terrible. It seems the magazine is trying too hard. Every page jumps out at you with bright colors and awful formatting. It is not relaxing at all. The recipes have gone from simple and delicious to more complicated and over the top.
Wish the old editor would come back and continue running it the way she used to.
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on January 11, 2011
I subscribed to Cooking Light for almost ten years, and thought the magazine was fantastic. I loved that the recipes were healthy and delicious at the same time, and I would try at least two or three dishes from every issue. Every single recipe I tried turned out great. I even bought gift subscriptions for friends and family.

Then everything changed. Cooking Light became far more of a lifestyle magazine and far less of a cooking magazine. I tolerated this up to a point, until I realized there were fewer recipes that appealed to me in each issue, and the ones I did make were disappointing at best. The complete design overhaul was the last straw - half the time, I can't tell the recipes from the ads anymore!

When my subscription ran out a couple of months ago, I didn't even consider renewing it. If Cooking Light ever returns to what it used to be, I'll be among the first to sign up. Until then, I'll spend my money on magazines that actually focus on food.
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on December 22, 2011
I was a loyal CL reader for years. Loved the magazines and the books. However, I recently renewed my subscription for 2 years, only to find that I didn't receive the first 3 issues. I contacted Cooking Light customer service over and over again, and my subscription was never extended, replacement issues sent, etc... On my most recent contact with customer service, I said I would like to just cancel my subscription if nothing is done, and got a reply back today that they were refunding my credit card. Awesome customer service! Instead of fixing the issue, just cancel the subscription so customers go and tell all their friends and family how terrible the experience was :-)
Sadly, I won't be reading CL anymore. If you subscribe, check your issues and make sure you are getting everything you paid for...
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on February 8, 2015
I subscribed to this magazine for many years in hopes of slimming down and becoming healthier. Over time I realized that I wasn't accomplishing my "slimming down" goal, even with tough & regular workouts. What I realized is that many of the recipes in this magazine are actually quite high in fat, carbs, and/or calories, but tiny in portions. I think a more appropriate title for the magazine would be "Better-Than-Traditional Cooking." It should NOT, however, give the impression that their recipes are light. Sure, their (say) brownies are lower in calories/fat than most traditional brownie recipes, but by no means are they "light." This is a magazine for people seeking reduced-fat/calories recipes but do not need truly "light" recipes. CL's serving sizes are very small too, so of course the fat and calories are lower. (Duh.) Anything is lower in fat/calories when served in tiny portions. I know that we Americans are gluttons and we are accustomed to very large portions, but CL's serving sizes are often so small that they are unrealistic and unsatisfying, even for the most portion-conscious person. And I agree with others that their new format is crummy, and their recipes are now more complicated, time-consuming, and have long ingredient lists with hard-to-find ingredients which I could only use for that one specific recipe. So it was a waste of my time & money. Sorry, but I eventually stop renewing my subscription and have no regrets. (And I have dropped 5 dress sizes after reluctantly trying Weight Watchers' approach to healthy eating instead. That was the only change I made, and most CL recipes do not fit in with the WW's model.)
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on March 19, 2008
Cooking Light is my favorite magazine! I have been a subscriber for about 5 years and still look forward to a new issue every month. Most of the recipes I have tried turn out very well and tasty - I really like how they give you all the nutritional information per recipe. The magazine has some really great articles too, pertaining to health, fitness, certain foods, etc. I got the 2 year subscription on Amazon which I found to be a great deal ($30 for 2 years, which is the cheapest I could find as a current sunscriber, plus I took advantage of a special Amazon was offering and got a $10 off coupon). Overall, I think anyone who is interested in trying out a cooking magazine that offers delicious, yet healthy meals, should consider Cooking Light.
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on March 18, 2015
I like this magazine. The recipes are seasonal which makes keeping an interesting menu plan easy. Most of the recipes are accessible and don't require a ton of special or pricey ingredients. My only complaint is that the focus is on eating "light" which isn't always eating "healthy."
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