Last fall I purchased a subscription to Food & Wine magazine from a fund-raising high school sophomore. She is a great kid, I was pleased to give the money, and I was interested to see how Food & Wine tackled its subject.
Left: kiss my buns, Pete Wells!
No offense to my fundraising teen-- but I confess I was underwhelmed by F&W. The articles-to-ad ratio is very low, the copy itself is average, and the photos, regardless of the color palette, all look washed out. Perhaps worst, the wine writing has never provided me with a label I got excited enough to buy.
Then, in the latest issue, Pete Wells, a contributing editor at the magazine, gives a couple of backhanded compliments to food blogs, but spends a lot of time slamming them.
Is Mr. Wells sensing his own demise?
You can find, for free on the Internet, a lot better food writing and (heavens to Betsy) tremendously better food photography than in Food & Wine. I am partial to the lineup of photos on Andy's Diner currently, and plus, he just gave me on demand his mom's blueberry pancake recipe. What's more, he's got a great review of Argentine Malbecs (a delicious red wine), with clear photos of the labels, and with conscious pricing for the average consumer. I'm going to buy a case when I get some money.
Surfing food blogs has always been a pleasure for me. And this kind of blogger is unusually friendly, willing to talk, willing to share knowledge.
With food blogs pumping out high-quality content and staying true to their readers, it's no wonder Pete Wells feels threatened. Food & Wine can't compete, so it has to disparage.
Books, newspapers, and magazines are not going the way of the dinosaur-- yet. But food magazines are closer to extinction than any of their kin.
Pete Wells writes, "Blogging is cheap and easy. Anyone can do it. And there's no filter, no overworked editor wondering if it's going to be worth the expense and bother of shepherding this unproven talent into print."
No overworked editor? Thank blog for that.
Read another take on the Pete Wells piece, from Kalyn's Kitchen, who informs us that today, February 16, has become Cheese Sandwich Day, after one of Wells' unfortunate turns of phrase.
And another, from Gourmetish.
Happy food reading, all.