Hmmmmm....

First, I really don't mind an occasional 1-2 pages on chocolate, coffee or other food related content.

I'm a non-professional and not overly skilled cook, but I found this issue pretty well close to useless. How to clean a carrot? To chop an onion? How to boil pasta? Good information, but probably way too basic for even an amateur in the kitchen.

I believe that a complete issue primarily devoted to basic cooking information is not what I signed up for.

Thoughts?

PH
Original Post
quote:
Originally posted by PurpleHaze:
Hmmmmm....

First, I really don't mind an occasional 1-2 pages on chocolate, coffee or other food related content.

I'm a non-professional and not overly skilled cook, but I found this issue pretty well close to useless. How to clean a carrot? To chop an onion? How to boil pasta? Good information, but probably way too basic for even an amateur in the kitchen.

I believe that a complete issue primarily devoted to basic cooking information is not what I signed up for.

Thoughts?

PH


Can't agree with you more. I feel like I am wasting my money on this mag. It has become a celebrity chef glossy, apprently intended to reach a wider audience. All well and good, but NOT what I am interested in, and I will not be renewing my subscription.
Agree 1000%. Usually, it takes me a while to get through the columns, article and tasting reports. This issue had me skipping page after page. Loved reading the pinot report, though, but you are right - the how-to-cook stuff was so basic and uninteresting, why bother?
"Read" through it last night - actually, skipped through it is more like it. It could have been more wine-centric (such as pairings or varietal description or something) I have only been reading WS for a little less than a year and this was by far my least favorite issue.
quote:
Originally posted by PurpleHaze:
I'm a non-professional and not overly skilled cook, but I found this issue pretty well close to useless. How to clean a carrot? To chop an onion? How to boil pasta? Good information, but probably way too basic for even an amateur in the kitchen.

Thoughts?
I think it will be useful for some of the x & y -gen women I’ve dated recently. Big Grin
quote:
Originally posted by PurpleHaze:
I really wonder if anyone did find major value with this issue? Anyone?

I would MUCH have preferred a bunch of really fantastic recipes with 4 or 5 readily available wines that the editors found to be excellent matches with the dishes.

Oh well....

PH

Hell's bells, I guess I'll own up to how much I enjoyed the issue. And I'll not apologize, thank you very much. I enjoy the heady issues that describe places I'll never go and wines I'll never be able to buy but that is a fantasy to me. I love food more than I should and I always enjoy trying something I've not tried yet. I as far from a chef as I'm am from a wine expert but that does not stop me from taking every opportunity to learn something about both.

And, Drazi...I'm about 4 decades ahead of the x, y, z, and whatever comes next.

dig and dive into the fox hole now. Wink
I would also agree. I found good value in this issue. Often times suggested paring wines are never available in my area. I must fess up to my appreciation of this issue! WS appeals to a broad spectrum...that's why I subscribe to WS and also to other wine publications; to receive a balanced approach. WS continue on...you have my subsription renewal!
Trev

quote:
Originally posted by EagleGrafix:
quote:
Originally posted by PurpleHaze:
I really wonder if anyone did find major value with this issue? Anyone?

I would MUCH have preferred a bunch of really fantastic recipes with 4 or 5 readily available wines that the editors found to be excellent matches with the dishes.

Oh well....

PH

Hell's bells, I guess I'll own up to how much I enjoyed the issue. And I'll not apologize, thank you very much. I enjoy the heady issues that describe places I'll never go and wines I'll never be able to buy but that is a fantasy to me. I love food more than I should and I always enjoy trying something I've not tried yet. I as far from a chef as I'm am from a wine expert but that does not stop me from taking every opportunity to learn something about both.

And, Drazi...I'm about 4 decades ahead of the x, y, z, and whatever comes next.

dig and dive into the fox hole now. Wink
It is obvious that Wine Spectator is aiming for a broader audience, and has seemed to have shifted its focus accordingly. And there is certainly some value in the magazine, I am sure. I have spent many happy moments in my bathroom with it. Big Grin

However, for me, I prefer to get a great wine magazine and then get seperate great food magazine. Not interested in a magazine that is a mediocre combination of the two. That is why I will not be renewing.
I have a few thoughts about this issues.

For most of us on these forums the "How to Cook" portion of this issue was close to useless. However, we probably represent less than 10% of the people that read WS. There were some very good tips/explinations which would be very beneficial to people who aren't as "into" cooking/food as we are. I could easily see passing this issue on to a young person, fresh out of college who has to start cooking for him/herself. I could also see a stay-at-home mom/dad (who has cooked for many years) standing at the checkout line seeing this article and thinking he/she may want to 'learn' how to cook.

Outside of the "How to Cook" portion, I thought the info on the CA Pinot was very good... especially with all the ratings and TN's. And I even enjoyed reading the White Burg article, even though I will not buy any of them.

I've complained about WS in the past. But we just need to remember... they serve millions of readers, and we are more advanced when it comes to cooking/food/wine than most of the subscribers/news stand purchasers. We read Cooks Illustrated if we want to leanr how to cook... WS is not meant for that level of detail.
quote:
Originally posted by PurpleHaze:
I really wonder if anyone did find major value with this issue? Anyone?

I would MUCH have preferred a bunch of really fantastic recipes with 4 or 5 readily available wines that the editors found to be excellent matches with the dishes.

Oh well....

PH


I was bummed when I saw the cover. PH's idea would have gotten me more interested, certainly.

And, not being a chef, I'm sure a review of carrot-washing would be in order for me. But that's not why I subscribe.

I'll stay optimistic until I read it. I've soldiered through Finnegan's Wake... I can handle a little cooking review in my wine magazine.
I already get "Food & Wine" magazine and didn't need to get the recent cooking issue from WS. I enjoy cooking but WS should be about wine not cooking. I took me about 30 minutes to thumb through this issue and I was done. I'm usually going back often during the month to find more interesting wine articles that I haven't read yet. Not this month.

Bob
I said I did not feel the need to apologize because up to that time, the issue had an almost unanimous negative opinion.

Since this thread started I've read most of the issue and confirmed my initial reactrion.

I agree that WS has a much broader market to please than the census of this forum.

I'm losing my interest in WS but it is not because of this issue. It's becaue I've filled the only shelf I'm allowed to store them on. Big Grin
thought it was a great issue. More and more foodies are getting into wine, so you attract both sets of people.

Food and wine go hand in hand so why not devote a section that really helps people understand the basics of preparing their own food to pair with wine?
quote:
Originally posted by sydthesquid:
It is obvious that Wine Spectator is aiming for a broader audience


Ditto. WS is a mass media lifestyle magazine. I would not be surprised if they run a car of the year issue.

Personally, I found no value in the how to cook section, however, I find little value in the British restaurant reviews in Decanter, or in German wine reviews in WA. I still find enough value in WS to maintain my sub.
Just got my copy in the mail yesterday. Seems like Canadian subscribers get it about a week and a half to two weeks later than our US couterparts. However, I often seem them on Chapter's/Indigo's, etc.. shelves a week before I see them in my mailbox. Other's find this to be consistent behavior?
PH, I'm with you- As usual. A bit too elementary. First thing I did was tell my 16 year old son that WS had sent "him" a food issue. He's just beginning to enjoy cooking up an occasional meal for us! I love getting a few great recipes, with a nice variety of wines to pair with each. (nothing too trendy- I already get that in "Food Arts")
Thank God we have the entire year to nag them into improving next years issue! Smile
Smpltina - consider the time of day you joined it....3:29 a.m. by my clock.

I'm no chef by any means but I've enjoyed cooking for many years. I've never considered myself as knowing so much I can't learn at least a little more. Whether WS should produce an issue with this much focus on cooking is another question I'm not answering but...this issue did have information that is more practical than most. I like reading and learning about wine from around the world but rarely can I directly benefit from wine and wine country articles except a vicarious experience.
We appreciate the feedback on our content; we learn from both the criticism and the praise.

I'm surprised that anyone who loves wine would not also be interested in cooking. But I know that no issue completely pleases every reader.

As to whether we are somehow "diluting" our wine content when we publish stories focusing on dining, travel, or other aspects of the life of wine, I'd like to point out that we still review more wines than any other wine publication, and offer more articles about wine regions, winemakers, and vintage analyses as well.

For example, in the Sept. 30 issue, the cover story was "How to Cook," but there were also two tasting reports (California Pinot Noir and white Burgundy), profiles of a dozen good new Pinot producers, a retrospective tasting of 1998 Chateauneuf-du-Pape, and more than 600 reviews of new wines.

Thomas Matthews
Executive editor
I've got three reasons why I think the "How to Cook" issue is a great idea.

The first I observed a couple years ago at a PW Market near me. I was waiting at the fish counter, actually just looking, I decided not to buy anything. In front of me was a guy about my age with his list in hand.

He asked the clerk for one pound of bay scallops. The scallops were repulsive. Browning, soggy and clearly 2-3 days past their prime. The clerk begged the man, "We've got some really nice sea scallops, or some fresh halibut."

But no he insisted, "My recipe calls for bay scallops. I saw it on TV."

And so the clerk held his nose (and it was a gastly smell) and removed the bay scallops, begging again, "Are you sure? Sea scallops will work for your recipe."

"Yes" insisted the man. And off he went to poison his friends and loved ones.

It's a sight I see often at the market. A generation of people who only know how to cook based on 21 minutes of watching Rachel Ray go "Yummy". They have no idea of the science or techniques of cooking, and they do struggle with even the most basic things, like washing a carrot.

Two more examples:

Steak Car Car

Hunter's Meatballs.
quote:
Originally posted by Thomas Matthews:
I'm surprised that anyone who loves wine would not also be interested in cooking. But I know that no issue completely pleases every reader.


Mr. Matthews - Thanks for taking the time to respond. I think that very few of the responses to this thread, and very few of the folks who hang out here would indicate that cooking isn't important to them. My point was that the issue was particularly simplistic and perhaps a couple of notches below the level of proficiency already achieved by the many people who are passionate about wine and food who visit here.

PH
quote:
Originally posted by Stefania Wine:
He asked the clerk for one pound of bay scallops. The scallops were repulsive. Browning, soggy and clearly 2-3 days past their prime. The clerk begged the man, "We've got some really nice sea scallops, or some fresh halibut."

But no he insisted, "My recipe calls for bay scallops. I saw it on TV."


God..... Eek Do you really think that the "How to Cook" issue is going to help this guy? He should be banned from the kitchen. Or he should make what many folks make best when it comes to dinner.......... reservations. Wink

PH
quote:
Originally posted by Thomas Matthews:
We appreciate the feedback on our content; we learn from both the criticism and the praise.

Thomas Matthews
Executive editor

I'd like to thank Mario Batali for sharing his recipe and technique for Ragu Bolognese. For me that was the gem of the this issue.

It is interesting that with something such as wine, where tastes vary so much and one person's good wine is another's average wine, that we have such a narrow expression of tollerance by some. What does not fit ones preferences must therefore be considered sub standard.

I believe I am a better cook than wine expert and I'm just an average cook by most measures. I know more about food than I do wine yet I have so much more to learn. I became a serious student of both late in life. It will be a shame if I someday reach the point that I can not learn something because I know too much. Life will be come boring.

I think it is true, "The more I learn, the less I know. The less I know, the more I learn."

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