Which food magazine has the best Thanksgiving issue?

I just received Gourmet’s Thanksgiving issue in the mail and taken alongside Bon Appetit’s (which I read in the store) plus Food & Wine’s and Saveur’s, there’s an abundance of ideas for what to make this Thanksgiving. Thus I turn to you, readers: which food magazine do you like the most for Thanksgiving? Which magazine’s proved trustworthy in the past, which has let you down?

47 thoughts on “Which food magazine has the best Thanksgiving issue?”

  1. Cooks Illustrated. Basic, reliable, knowledgeable and plain spoken. If you like to do it the old-fashioned way with little twists, this is the way to go.

  2. I am combining fresh ideas from Gourmet along with the tried and true old fashioned approach from Cooks Illustrated. It’s some new school twists with an old fashioned approach.

  3. I know it’s somewhat passé but I am digging a couple of things from the two most recent Martha Stewart magazines. Specifically the sweet potato canoli from last month’s “fall” issue and the chocolate date cake from this months. I’m making both as my contribution to the family thanksgiving. Mmmmm chocolate date cake…

  4. I have to agree with Karol and say Cook’s Illustrated. Their explicit instructions are really helpful when you’re working on a high-pressure meal.

  5. I loved the mashed potato recipe in Bon Appetit’s Thanksgiving issue last year. I have a bad taste in my mouth about Gourmet in general – I can’t find the recipes through all the ads, and the feature articles seem pretentious and unuseful. I wrote an email to the editor discussing my displeasure with last December’s Gourmet issue, and Ruth Reichl wrote back to me saying that they had to put that many ads in to keep the cost of subscription low. That made sense, but I won’t be resubscribing to Gourmet this year.

  6. I’m a Fine Cooking fan myself, but I also like Cook’s Illustrated. I cannot stand the oodles of non-food related ads in the other mags.

  7. I’ve used Fine Cooking, Gourmet, Vegetarian Times, and Cuisine at Home in the past with no problems. I rarely use just one magazine for the entire meal. The chocolate espresso pecan pie on the cover of Nov’s issue of Fine Cooking has been talking to me for a week now :)

  8. I’ve never cooked from a magazine before, but this year I made the turkey and the stuffing from Canadian Living and it was a hit! They had a “Celtic” Thanksgiving theme this year for their main spread, but they had side articles focusing on Brussels sprouts and apple pie. I’m still making recipes from it (I just had some Brussels sprouts last night)

  9. I generally stick to Saveur. It may have a lot of irrelevant ads, but I have found the best recipes in there by far!

  10. For Thanksgiving in particular, I find Bon Appetit to have fresh twists on the classics allowing me to have fun and the huge assortment of tastes and traditions at this sort of dinner to be happy too. Fine Cooking/Cooks Illustrated for the timing/details, Gourmet is too all over the place for me again. I stopped reading for several years, it got MUCH better, then the last 6 months or so it’s been all kinda whacko/pretentious (for me) again. Too bad…the recipes I actually spot and try are usually good.

  11. I’m feelin’ the Gourmet disdain too, actually, and have canceled my subscription. I find the menus to be way too pretentious, and I rarely found myself cooking out of Gourmet. Bon Appetit on the other hand has never served me wrong. I usually pull my thanksgiving dishes from there and mix them in with the trieds and trues. BA inspires me, and I feel like it gives a “gourmet” yet attainable thanksgiving. I always use them for xmas too!

  12. I like Bon Appetit and Gourmet. I like to pick and choose between the two. And this Gourmet issue looked very appetizing – but then again, I was staring at it while on the treadmill, so I can’t claim objectivity. I have the Bon Appetit and the issue is terrific – I’ve combed it backwards and forward and marked recipes I’d like to make this season, if not all on Thanksgiving!

  13. Gourmet. Ruth Reichel’s editorial is always worth the price of the magazine. And Gourmet’s recipe for brown turkey gravy is the best turkey gravy I’ve ever eaten.

  14. I have enjoyed Martha Stewart Living in the past. She provides some great new ideas and fun decorations. However, I have to say this years issue isn’t as good as past years.

  15. I buy the Thanksgiving issues of Gourmet, Bon Appetit, and Saveur almost every year and usually cobble a menu together from recipes in each. However, hands down, the best Thanksgiving recipe came out of Martha Stewart a couple years ago: creamed spinach with pearl onions and bacon. I make it every big holiday and there are never any leftovers. Yum.

  16. Another Fine Cooking fan here. I have about 10 years worth of them saved and I love to mine them for recipes for special occaisions like dinner parties, Thanksgiving, etc.

  17. Ads suck, that’s for sure. That being said, I can get sucked into just about any cooking magazine. I do enjoy Cook’s Illustrated.

  18. I love to poke around in Saveur and Food & Wine but I have to say that come the “big” day, I always bust out my tattered Gourmet issues from the last few years.

  19. If you don’t regularly pick up Fine Cooking — I really recommend. The recipes are usually challenging (without being crazy)include great photography and come out yummy! I subscribe to almost all of the food magazines and it’s the one that makes me run to the mailbox!

  20. In this day and age, I’m betting that a lot of folks turn to the internet for new Thanksgiving meal recipes and inspiration, versus magazines and even good ole fashioned cook books… I know I do!

  21. breadforbreakfast

    I’m definitely someone who cobbles together a Thanksgiving menu. I love Gourmet for all sorts of inspirational/aspirational reasons, Martha Stewart always has useful tips, and I like detailed instructions so look to Cook’s Illustrated for many dishes.

    BA annoys me. I just don’t find it that inspiring.

  22. breadforbreakfast

    I’m definitely someone who cobbles together a Thanksgiving menu. I love Gourmet for all sorts of inspirational/aspirational reasons, Martha Stewart always has useful tips, and I like detailed instructions so look to Cook’s Illustrated for many dishes.

    BA annoys me. I just don’t find it that inspiring.

  23. I’m with Kathryn and mimi on Fine Cooking. I just discovered it and I now love it. BA has also contributed some winners over the years.

    Gourmet is horrible. I add another voice to the cry that it’s pretentious, and even recipes aside, what’s with the pictures? I want to see the FOOD, not some unshaven guy in a wife beater hefting a crate of strawberries that’s supposed to in some way communicate to me the “localness” that Gourmet is promoting in their articles.

    The only reason they want to keep the subscription price low is so they can up their circulation so they can sell the gazillion ads for more money. It’s not that the ads keep the subscription price low, it’s that the increase in readers (because it’s cheap to subscribe) drives up their ad rates. Ads to keep the subscription price low–pah!

  24. TD — I agree with you on Gourmet. I just don’t feel the love with it anymore. The only thing I do enjoy Ruth Reichel’s editoral page. I let my subscription run out!

  25. Hated Food & Wine’s cutesy take on Vogue with their “Thanksgiving in your twenties, forties and sixties”, it was eye rollingly pretentious. Nothing there I could imagine wanting to make for Thanksgiving either-Potato chips with chevre, pepper jelly and bacon ? Come on !

  26. Ok, just to throw this in – I recently received a copy of “Cuisine at Home” – and it was some sort of weird freebie mail-out or whatnot. It was actually excellent and devoid of ads (maybe a few) – I think it was some promotional item, but I was impressed. I would definitely check out a Thanksgiving issue, if they made one – and I bet they do… off to do some Googlin’…

  27. I’ve subscribe to Bon Apetit since about 1986, and have used the Thanksgiving issue many times, always happy with the results. But I haven’t read any other cooking mag for a long time, so I can make the comparison. A lot of these comments make them sound interesting though, so maybe I should!

  28. I’ve always liked Cooking Light and Vegetarian Times. Not that I’ve ever really prepared a Thanksgiving Dinner, but they always have some recipes I use at other times of the year.

  29. I have a cut out of an old Tom Colicchio recipe from Gourment from a few years back….a simple way of herb roasting a turkey, and I use it every year. Everyone says its the best turkey they’ve ever had (but I do brine it as well)

  30. Agreed on the Gourmet advertising glut. Plus I find the layout hard to use, with the recipes often in a different part of the magazine than the cover story. And why can’t they use a larger font? Geez. The last issue I tore out all the “special advertising” sections and reduced it’s bulk by at least one third.

    I love Fine Cooking. I’ve been a subscriber for 4 years and save every copy and go back and use them again and again. Also love Cook’s Illustrated. At Thanksgiving, CI’s ” Complete Book of Poultry” is very useful when trying to remember brining recipes, charcoal info, etc.

  31. I spent Saturday night going through Gourmet, Bon Appetit and Cooking Light with my mother-in-law as we tossed around ideas for Thanksgiving. We both agreed that the list of menus in Bon Appetit was the most intriguing. And we’re both looking forward to a month of planning a fabulous meal!

  32. Southern Living…don’t roll your eyes/don’t laugh, it comes through with crowd pleasing, time tested recipes.

  33. I like Bon Appetit’s Thanksgiving menus the best. Gourmet I’ve never warmed up to, although I’m a long time BA subscriber, so I’m biased.

    I also second Cooking Light, which provides a lot of my day-to-day dinner recipes. Some of us appreciate knowing the nutritional information. (Even if we decide to disregard it!)

  34. It’s sad that Gourmet gave you that line about subscription prices. I used to own a magazine (years and years and years ago)…and subscription prices are there to sell subscriptions to impress the ad buyers, not for the benefit of subscribers. In fact, if a magazine cannot run it’s business on the ad revenue – it shouldn’t be in business. So – he’s right – but in a VERY round-about way.

    Personally – Alton Brown has never done me wrong – and I also had the best dang turkey with his brine recipe!!

  35. I am planning on panicking first, then relying on the cooking skills of others second (potluck Thanksgiving this year!). I tried the mashies in Bon Appetit that year — remember? It promised they were idiot proof. Not so. But maybe I’ll do it right this time.

  36. I have been a subscriber to Cuisine at Home (formerly Cuisine) since their inception, and I have never ever ever made something from their advertising-free mag that wasn’t to die for. Thanksgiving items of note that I’ve made include an incredible Cream of Butternut Squash soup and an absolutely amazing pumpkin layer cake with a pear-filling and pistachio-brittle garnish. My mouth still waters every time I think of it.

    Other no-fail sources for me are Cook’s Illustrated and Alton Brown. I never need to look any further to find a guarantee winner for any time of year.

  37. I too have just canbcelled my GOURMET subscription aafter years of loving it. The last couoe of years it has become pretentious. There is not one recipe I have felt like cooking. It used to be filled with cooking and travel.

    There is something non-accessiuble about it…distanced..not human.



    And I do not know what to get to replace it.

  38. Three magazines: “Cooking Light” as my first source of inspiration simply for the sheer volume of do-able recipes and ideas and dependably good results. “Fine Cooking” always helps me refine my ideas and give them a bit more panache. But I have to admit the odd little “Cuisine At Home” has actually given me the hands-down best results, wowing my dinner guests many times.

  39. Hi,

    This is for Lis, who posted on Oct. 18. I cannot find the sweet potato cannoli recipe online. I have searched Martha Stewart’s website and in general and…no go.

    If you have the recipe or can direct me, will you please email me at suttongiese@gmail.com?



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