Gone, but not forgotten.
I was the last Test Kitchen Director and Senior Food Editor at Fine Cooking Magazine until the publication was sold on June 1, 2020. I remember the day vividly. Three months into the pandemic, we were all working from home when we received word of the closure mid-morning. Pens down. Stop whatever you’re doing and pack everything up. We had only a week to return (masked) to the office and clear out. Though sudden, the shutdown of Fine Cooking Magazine was not a complete surprise to the staff since the publisher had been trying to rid itself of the publication for years.
Fine Cooking was an amazing, reliable resource for so many people because every recipe was tested and cross-tested multiple times, to assure that it would work for any cook at any level. Here’s a clip from a promotional video created for advertisers in which I clearly describe the magazine’s true mission as a teaching publication:
Sadly, last week, the Fine Cooking website at www.finecooking.com — the last connection, resource, and lifeline for loyal subscribers, with its vast archive of information — drew its final breath. The old web domain was pointed to another publication, and 25 years of incredible, invaluable content, and subscriber recipe “boxes” were gone. Just like that.
You can see the outpouring of emotion from subscribers and other members of the Fine Cooking Community group on Facebook, which launched after the magazine was sold in 2020. Loyal subscribers, alumni, and fans simply cannot let go of their beloved magazine. Reading comments from the group members, I agree wholeheartedly.
Working at Fine Cooking was not always easy. That said, I got to work at what I thought (and still think) was the most incredible culinary publication since Gourmet Magazine. So, I’m going to periodically post recipes (mine and others), along with anecdotes and memories, as an ongoing homage to Fine Cooking Magazine, and a reminder to myself that nothing lasts forever.
Since the weather is just beginning to cool down, I thought it would be great to start with something irresistibly warming and delicious. I developed a recipe called “Chocolate Stout Chili,” which was published in the February/March 2018 edition. Click the link above, or the page image below to open a PDF of the recipe in a new tab.
Let me know if you try the recipe, or if you have any fond memories of this issue in particular. I’m always open to comments and conversation!
Giving credit where credit is due:
Food Styling by Ronne Day
Photography by Scott Philips