Do You Think (Food) Magazines Are Out of Touch?

Okay, who here has galangal in their fridge?

How about a disc of Mexican chocolate?

6 heads (yes heads, not cloves) of garlic?

A teaspoon of Shaoxing wine?

3 makrut lime leaves?

These were some of the ingredients in each of the 5 “Life Changing Chicken” recipes featured on the cover of the March issue of Food & Wine magazine. While each of the dishes looked good, the recipes all called for ingredients that are missing from even my (pretty well-stocked) kitchen.

Why do magazines seem to be so out of touch these days? I know they have a long lead time, but we’re a year into this pandemic so many of the articles should have been tweaked or edited to reflect the times. I started to notice it at the end of the year, when they featured recipes for 8-10 people at a time we were supposed to be sheltering in place.

The January edition of Food and Wine was particularly annoying/out of touch. Starting with a suggestion that you grow your own citrus fruit (in a NYC apartment) even though you won’t have a crop for at least a year. While you’re waiting for the fruit to ripen, you can “Check In, Bliss Out” at a restorative hotel–the first photo is a $3500 a night camp in Utah.

Then, let’s cook some chicories. One of the recipes has 3 out of 8 ingredients that are probably not in anyone’s pantry. How well stocked are you with bottarga, wild apple molasses and smoked olive oil? Not to mention rosso di Verona radicchio. Again, not in mine and I’ve got a lot of weird stuff.

Back to the “Life Changing Chicken”. There’s a delicious looking recipe for a curried whole chicken. The restaurant they got the recipe from uses Cornish game hens (which used to be pretty easy to get) but the magazine calls for chicken. Easier, but then reading along, it also calls for fresh galangal, turmeric root and Thai or lemon basil. In the good old days, the galangal and turmeric root could be found in places like Kalustyan’s. I doubt I’d find it anywhere around here and the days of hitting a dozen markets in search of an exotic ingredient or two is soooo 2019.

There’s also another section on the world of grains. It was interesting and gave me an idea about buying a bag of something and trying it. My local market has a pretty good selection of Bob’s Red Mill grains and I can probably find a lot of them, but fonio (which is something that I’ve been curious about) and sorghum probably don’t exist there. At least with grains, they can be ordered online.




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