A representative from Cooking Light magazine contacted me to see if I would be interested in exploring their new magazine layout starting in the September issue. Once I confirmed that I did not have to subscribe- always suspicious am I- I agreed.
I do not subscribe to magazines. I used to but I find I do not have the time for them anymore. My CL and Southern Living newsstand purchases, wonderful indulgences that they are, only happen when I have a flight to catch, which is rare these days. As a former subscriber and knowing Cooking Light’s excellent reputation for quality and charm, I kind of looked forward to getting my hands on an issue again. Here are my thoughts.
1. Beautiful photos of the finished recipes.
2. Easy to find table of contents highlighting the features.
3. Excellent recipe index in the FRONT of the magazine organized according to course and includes a key for “Quick and Easy,” “Make Ahead,” “Freezable,” and “Kid Friendly” Recipes.
4. Easy to navigate. Contained only 3 card stock type inserts making flipping through a breeze. A pet peeve of mine is a magazine full of inserts, making flipping through impossible.
5. New binding. Not stapled anymore so when I rip out a page the whole thing does not fall apart.
6. I liked the new segment “New Uses for Everyday Ingredients”- great ideas.
1. The new color scheme. The colors are cool and stark. I loved the old CL’s color scheme of sages, orange and rusts, taupe’s and beige’s, and deep reds, so much more cozy.
2. Years ago when I subscribed to CL, I could not wait to see what new food trend they would highlight. Now CL seems to be following the trend instead of setting the trend that they once did. A wise man once said there is nothing new under the sun leaving all of us food writers clamoring for a revelation, sometimes even inspiration.
3. Maybe it is called clip art, I don’t know, but the little stop watches letting me know a recipe is quick and pages to look like notebook pages for the “Cooking Class” feature are things in which I am not interested. Sophistication has be lost in the revamp.
4. It felt as though the magazine was trying too hard, the warmth was lost, seeming more geared toward attracting cooks who do not have the time for the CL recipes of old. I guess that was the point, they didn’t. I felt the old CL slowed things down for me, making me want to linger over their dishes, while I cooked and ate them. The new layout made me feel rushed in an already rushed world.
With the recent demise of Gourmet, I am sure all the food magazines have scrambled back to the think tank, they are competing with something of a giant- the internet. I used to rely heavily on CL when cooking for my clients back in my catering days and to me CL wasn’t broke so it was too bad Ms. Culpepper sought to fix it, although she did give her readers what they wanted- more quick and easy recipes- trading warmth and grace for stark and rushed. My only hope is that Time Inc. does not “fix” Southern Living.
What do you think of the new design?