I was pleasantly surprised to find a lot of non-meat copy to devour (pun intended). My first stop was a thorough and fascinating look at Austin's own Whole Foods. It's good that I live 20 miles from one of their stores because I never leave without dropping $200. There's too much good organic and sustainable stuff to eat and too many personal care products to slather on my body in there. But I digress.
You might think Saveur, with the subtitle "Savor a world of authentic cuisine," would be all about food. But it's so much more than that. The magazine prides itself on seeking out stories from around the globe that weave together culture, tradition and people through the language of food. "On every page the magazine honors a fundamental truth: cooking is one of the most universal and beautiful means of human expression," according to the editors.
I learned more about Texas than I ever realized was possible: its history, the culture, the people, the geography. My only visit to the state was on a short press junket to Austin 15 years ago. After reading this issue cover to cover, I want to go back and see more of the state that produces a Texas Viognier (from Becker Vineyards) "with ripe peach and floral aromas, all balanced with a bright acidity that stands up to curries and even Texas barbecue." Wine-making in Texas. Who knew?
The magazine's photography and art direction are pleasing. Interspersed with articles are quarter-page step-by-step illustrated instructions for completing essential tasks like oyster-shucking or eating crawfish.
There's a handy recipes list up front on the contents page, and a separate list in the back that divides recipes by cooking method and food category.
The writing is approachable and friendly. You end up feeling as if you know the authors personally after reading their accounts of topics like being a Texan transplanted to New York or getting up at the crack of dawn to see how the New Zion Missionary Baptist Church cranks out some of the state's best barbecue.
Appropriate for the Texas theme (everything is bigger in Texas, right?), the current issue is the largest June/July in its 15-year history -- up 22% in overall ad pages. The title is ranked number four out of 118 consumer monthlies for YTD ad page growth, according to Publisher Merri Lee Kingsly.
Saveur recently received a National Magazine Award from the American Society of Magazine Editors, in the "single-topic issue" category, for October 2008's "A World of Breakfast." The magazine also won a Bert Greene Award in two of five categories from the International Association of Culinary Professionals.
These accolades make the not-infrequent punctuation errors all the more confounding. In at least four articles by four different authors, I found numerous commas and periods on the wrong side of a quote mark. OK, it's a little thing. But it's distracting in what seems to be an otherwise well-edited magazine.
Published by: Bonnier Corp.
Web site: www.saveur.com