By Kristen Hoffman

Magazine reps used to come and talk to me all the time when I worked at Kraft. They came to share the vision of their magazine and to explain why this vision attracted the consumer we were trying to reach. While every magazine had a unique focus, all would go to any length to give their reader as much as possible to improve their lives. This holistic approach is especially true of food magazines. If you had asked me three years ago, I would have said that most food magazines were primarily filled with recipes and cooking techniques. This is only true, however if that is what the magazine has deemed its reader wants. The only way to find out what the different food magazines have to offer is by picking them up and reading them. I took a look at five different magazines that focus on food to show how unique each one is. What do you want out of reading a food magazine? Which food magazine sounds most interesting to you? By browsing or subscribing to the food magazine of your choice, you may be on your way to a more interesting, easier, or healthier life. Take a look at the magazines listed below as well as others the next time you are in the bookstore to see if you think adding them to your life will make a positive difference.

Saveur is the perfect magazine for the food lover. With this magazine you are sure to gain a well-rounded education of the culinary world. Saveur takes you all over the globe, including unique places in America, to learn about food, history and culture. While the magazine definitely has an upscale look to it, I found the tone to be inviting and informative, not pretentious. In addition to its unique feature stories, some interesting regular sections of the magazine include Saveur Source, which features high quality food products and how to order them at home and Saveur Kitchen, a guide with techniques, recipes and advice from the editors. Saveur retails for $5 per issue. A year’s subscription (9 issues) currently costs $19.95.

Bon Appetit’s tagline is “America’s Food and Entertaining Magazine.” The magazine tries to live up to that claim by highlighting upscale food trends and restaurant reviews while also adding some elements of everyday practicality. You are always sure to find unique, seasonal ideas for dinner parties and entertaining with Bon Appetit’s feature stories as well as their departments on Wine & Spirits, Tools of the Trade, which highlights different cooking tools every month and Starters, which shares tidbits from the world of food. On the other hand, Bon Appetit offers help with everyday living with its Every Night Cooking and Cooking for Health departments. Bon Appetit retails for $3.99. A year’s subscription (12 issues) currently costs $12.

Cooking Light puts more focus on health and fitness and less on the art of food. While you can still get sensational recipes and entertaining ideas from this magazine, readers interested in either beginning or maintaining a healthy lifestyle will get the most from its pages. Cooking Light emphasizes fitness, nutrition and the relationship between the two. Departments such as Good Moves and Fitness Front provide fitness education. Food dedicated departments such as Cooking Class, which walks through recipes step by step, and Dinner Tonight, which gives fast recipe ideas to busy cooks, are abundant as well. Cooking Light is a wonderful magazine for the health conscious who love to cook. The magazine retails for $4.50. A year’s subscription (11 issues) currently costs $16.

If you think you would love to have food ideas but feel you would also benefit from an overall lifestyle magazine, take a look at Martha Stewart Living or Real Simple. Martha Stewart Living always has a large section devoted to food but also covers crafts and home keeping as well. You will get an abundance of entertaining ideas as well as a good amount of recipes for practical dinners and healthy meals. Real Simple also devotes a portion of its magazine to food. In addition, this magazine branches out from home and organizational topics into subjects such as beauty, style, body and life. Real Simple is a very well rounded lifestyle magazine to help you improve every aspect of your life and stay on top of new trends. Martha Stewart retails for $4.75. A year’s subscription (12 issues) currently costs $19.95. Real Simple retails for $3.95. A year’s subscription (10 issues) currently costs $1.99 per issue.

Getting a subscription to a food or lifestyle magazine could have a positive impact on your everyday life. Every month, you can test new recipes and keep those that you like. Consider the wide variety of magazines that are out there trying to please your interests. These magazines make it so easy to keep up to date on your interests and new trends. Don’t pass them up because you don’t think they’re for you! n