Fine Cooking Magazine: 2022 Reflections

As 2023 arrives, I continue to receive emails from jilted, sad, miserable Fine Cooking Magazine subscribers, with pleas to help find favorite recipes from lost recipe boxes, which vanished when the Fine Cooking website was shut down in 2022. I’ve genuinely enjoyed every opportunity to reunite someone with a beloved recipe.

More than ever, this confirms how food has a profound significance in our lives. Whether it’s the same Flourless Chocolate Cake made on every birthday over the years, the Classic Beef Wellington for a retired cooking school owner, the Chocolate Chiffon Pie on a holiday menu, or the Classic Creamy Cheesecake requested by a four-year-old as their birthday cake. Food is indeed pure love.

Now that I know some of you a bit better, I can confide in you that searching the FC archives has had a profound effect on me. For the past few years, I’ve avoided organizing my archival print copies of the magazine simply because I couldn’t face the sentimentality of the task. And, as always, what I try to run from somehow manages to run faster and catch up with me.

Recently, resigned to sitting on the floor surrounded by piles of past issues, I could finally embrace the moment, set the memories free, and feel the feelings. I fondly recalled my days in the test kitchen, anticipating the arrival of advance copies of the latest edition. A handful of precious magazines would arrive at my desk; I’d distribute them to the testers working in the various kitchens and hoard the rest. I coveted my collection of issues balanced on a windowsill near my desk, stickers firmly affixed to each: REFERENCE ISSUE/TEST KITCHEN COPY. PLEASE RETURN IF BORROWED.

Back when I naively thought this exquisite cooking and teaching magazine would publish forever, I’d cavalierly take a copy home and toss it into my personal archive, which grew into a towering pile in the corner of a closet. Time passed, and June 2020 happened.

In the aftermath, everything from the archive was stuffed into boxes and sent to Meredith. At that moment, I sadly realized that issue 165 would be the last fully authentic Fine Cooking Magazine in print. Although I had a significant role in working with a third party on issues 166 and some of 167 (my name wasn’t in the masthead, though it should’ve been), the magazine was no longer the Fine Cooking Magazine I knew and loved. By issue 168, all traces of the once-vibrant magazine were gone.

At that point, it was difficult for me to page through issues of what became a shadow of its former self, needlessly bent into an unfamiliar and unrecognizable shape. It had become Fine Cooking-ish. Even the trim size was changed to match that of Food & Wine, which the FC website would eventually point to. I bought the issues I had worked on (uncredited), but I gave up after that.

Looking at my shelf of Fine Cooking Magazines, finally organized to my liking and deep satisfaction, I felt a pang of regret at not having the last three issues. So, I’m turning to you, former, loyal subscribers and new friends — can you help me complete my collection? Please let me know if you have copies of issues 173, 174, and 175, so I can scan them and return them to you. I’ll say thank you by returning them with what is now considered a piece of Fine Cooking memorabilia — can you guess what it is?

Happy New Year!

—Chef Diana

P.S. Let me know if you have any fond memories (or frustrations) about Fine Cooking Magazine to share — I’m always open to comments and conversation! Also, since the Fine Cooking website shut down, you might want to consider joining the Fine Cooking Community group on Facebook.

4 thoughts on “Fine Cooking Magazine: 2022 Reflections

  1. I so regret tossing my issues. It was the only cooking magazine I kept. I had switched to online only for ATK but I always got the print edition on FC. Had them all since 2002 until a fit of decluttering kicked in. I felt safe with the excellent website. I would be miserable had the Facebook group not started. Honestly, it’s my only reason to stay on Facebook. Thanks for your terrific leadership of that wonderful magazine.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Celia,
      Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment. Yes, I agree. Fine Cooking was the absolute best, and I’m so happy we have the Fine Cooking Community FB Group. Please stay in touch and let me know if you ever need help finding a recipe.
      Thanks so much,
      Diana

      Like

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