Why You Might Actually Want to Spend $20 on a Magazine

·Food Editor

Twenty bucks is a lot to spend on a magazine, we know. But these mags are all made in the USA, and they’re worth spending more than the usual fiver you drop at the newsstand. Here’s why: 


Gather Journal, $20

Gather is a recipe-driven magazine based in New York City. Creative director Michele Outland and editor Fiorella Valdesolo dream up a theme for each issue, of which there have been four so far: “Float,” “Traces,” “Rough Cut,” and finally “Cocoon.” Of “Cocoon,” they write, “You’ll find recipes that impart a warm, cozy, and, well, cocoon-like feeling, and ones that visually mimic its wrapped and bundled form.” Well, that sounds freaking great to us.

Best parts of the recent issue: Photographs by Gentl and Hyers and Marcus Nilsson, Valdeso’s love letter to eggs, and a toad in the hole recipe that serves four.

Bonus: The journal’s website boasts a shopping section featuring a rotating, curated selection of products inspired by each issue.


Cherry Bombe, $18

Also based in New York City, Cherry Bombe is all about the ladies. A biannual magazine that celebrates women and food, its first two issues have been jam-packed with features ranging from supermodel Karlie Kloss’s cookies to Helen’s Bar-B-Q pitmaster Helen Turner, and they've landed marquee writers such as Bon Appétit executive editor Christine Muhlke and Eater’s Amanda Kludt. Creative director Claudia Wu and editorial director Kerry Diamond (who’s also a restaurateur) plan to host a conference, called Jubilee, this year. It will be about (you guessed it!) women and food. 

Best parts of the recent issue: Model Elettra Wiedemann’s interview with the owners of Amber Waves farm, an entertaining piece instructing readers how to play “Celebrity,” and a photo of Man Repeller's Leanda Medine sporting two, shall we say, cheerfully placed creme brûlées.

Bonus: Cherry Bombe’s chef-to-chef Q&As featuring the original, handwritten interview sheets.


Gastronomica, $13

Gastronomica is the most academic food journal on this list. We’re talking studies of historical trends in food, analyses of the political implications of food, anthropological looks at food traditions, and so on. We’ll admit, our latest copy has spent more time on the coffee table than in our hands, but we sure feel smarter for it being there. 

Best parts of the recent issue: “How the Presidents Ate Their Salmon,” an article about exactly what it sounds like.

Bonus: Be a contributor (if you dare).


Swallow, $30

James Casey called his magazine the anti-foodie food magazine, “a respite from a world of edible faddism.” Case in point? His list of what to find in his third, most recent, issue: “matadors, wrestlers, hungry cabbies, dancing girls, sacrilegious iconography, Aztec beverages, hazardous eats, ultimate tacos, dirt-cheap candy, preeminent cantinas, and more.” He publishes a new issue pretty much when he feels like it, and at 30 bucks a pop, they’re not cheap, but damn, they’re good. And weird. And good. Plus, Casey’s got his pal, top-notch food photographer Marcus Nilsson, shooting a heavy dose of its pages.

Best part of the recent issue: The 20 scratch-and-sniff stickers—magically packed with the aromas of Mexico City’s neighborhoods—placed throughout the most recent issue.

Bonus: Swallow has won three British Design and Art Direction Awards. Just saying.


Modern Farmer, $8

Eight dollars an issue! That’s a steal for this list! As editor-in-chief Ann Marie Gardner (perfect last name!), formerly of Monocle and T:Travel The New York Times Magazine, puts it, Modern Farmer “is for window-herb growers, career farmers, people who have chickens, people who want to have chickens and anyone who wants to know more about how food reaches their plate.” The brand also has a robust website, where writers publish new content every day.

Best parts of the recent issue: Photos prove that Austria’s Allmeinde Commongrounds is the most beautiful covered barn we’ve ever seen, a piece on farm rehab explores how the program is keeping addicts clean, and musician Neko Case talks about owning her first chicken.

Bonus: Modern Farmer cams! Most recently, the official lamb cam!


Lucky Peach, $12 (but on sale for $8 at amazon.com now!)

Spawned by chef David Chang’s Momofuku empire, Lucky Peach is a quarterly journal that, like Gather, publishes themed issues. So far: ramen, sweets, cooks and chefs, American food, Chinatown, the apocalypse, travel, gender, and cooks and chefs 2.0. Each is at once playful (we’d buy it for the comical, sometimes naughty illustrations and graphics alone) and contains some serious writing. In issue nine, for example, Francis Lam interviewed elusive chef Alex Lee, and Pulitzer Prize winner Jonathan Gold signed on as a columnist.

Best parts of the recent issue: Issue 10, the street food issue, is available on February 25th. We got our mitts on an early copy, and we’re particularly into Robert Sietsema's street food cheat sheet and cool-kid LA chef Kris Yenbamroong's piece on Thai food.

Bonus: The covers. Lucky Peach fans wait by their mailboxes for them.


Chickpea, $18-$20

Vegans, rejoice! This Rochester, New York-based quarterly is all-vegan all the time, meaning in its recipes, its interviews, its city guides, and its everything else. All vegan. (Like, even the egg nog.) Plus, it’s ad-free.

Best parts of the recent issue: The recipe for homemade instant Chai mix, the hand-written typography on almost every page, a story on grown-up PB&J, and the interview with Yahoo Food-favorite blogger Angela Liddon, of Oh She Glows.

Bonus: Don’t want to spring for the $20 print issues? You can purchase digital editions for $4 apiece.


The Art of Eating, $13.50

Based in Vermont, The Art of Eating first appeared in 1986, in the form of a newsletter written by editor and publisher Edward Behr. Since then, Behr’s publication has been called “arguably America’s most erudite and prestigious food publication” by the Wall Street Journal. Not too shabby. Its focus is on simplicity and tradition, food and wine that, as its website proclaims, were “created when people had more time and food was more central to happiness than it is today.”

Best parts of the recent issue: Behr’s article on modern food, “Where Are We Headed Now?”, Georgia Freedman’s Hong Kong restaurant picks, and the winter salad recipes.

Bonus: The “Things We Like” section of artofeating.com, which lists the staff’s favorite pantry items. (It doubles as a great foodie gift guide.)


Kinfolk, $18

We want to live inside of Kinfolk. That’s this Portland, Oregon magazine’s strength: looking freaking beautiful. Its photographs truly convey a focused sense of taste, a sense of place, a sense of cozy. And while it’s poetic and a wee bit precious at times, we don’t care; we buy every issue and, because they’re more like books than magazines—hefty, and printed on thick, uncoated paper—we keep them on the coffee table.

Best parts of the recent issue: The Aged Issue is “dedicated to all things that get better with time,” including cutting boards and kimchi. We particularly like the section on birthday cakes for milestone ages.

Bonus: Kinfolk’s online films are as dreamy as—maybe even dreamier than?—the magazine.