dinner companions

Friday, August 21, 2009

Oliver, Gus and stacks and stacks of old (& current) cooking magazines

My usual dinner companions - flipping through my stacks of old and much coveted cooking magazines while sitting at my little round black table, which came from my other grandmother - Blanche's house. I'll drag out my old issues of Gourmet, Bon App├ętit, Donna Hay & Vogue Australia Entertaining and sit enjoying my evening meal dreaming and scheming future meals. Lots of people say, including Peter - Susan, you can let go of those stacks and stacks of magazines there's epicurious.com - you can find anything there, any recipe. Yes that's the true but with epicurious.com (home of both Bon Appetite & Gourmet) you need to be looking and you have to know what it is you're looking for, if you're ever going to find it. The thing I like, the thing I love. LOVE, love, love about my big old stack of magazines is flipping the pages and seeing and being inspired by the ideas presented and the photography, oh my the photography - especially the photography in Gourmet of late, the feature stories as if you turned a page and happened upon someone's casual dinner party and often in some exotic far away land - all the realness - the rough edges included, natural light - and always staged to look completely unstaged that darn Miss R. Reichl she is a genius and then by contrast, the simple stark, less is more beauty of the images in the Donna Hay issues. Sigh.

I often haul them out by season -this time of year I'll look through all the July's & August's and see what's happening with summer fruit, with berries or garden tomatoes and fresh corn.

Hi, I'm Susan Black and I'm a magazine junkie and have been since my first seventeen magazine at about age 13. Oh, I've tried online subscriptions - it's just not the same. Many of the issues you now see piled on my dining room table had been slated for give away. They had been neatly squired away in the sun porch waiting to be driven to goodwill, sold in a yard sale (although that doesn't appear to be happening - those 7 mute invisible valets of mine, who had plans to host the sale have gone on a summer long cruise up the west coast and to Alaska) ... or some other similar fate. But now each evening slowly, slowly I've been grabbing 5 or 6 at a time and bringing them inside, into the inner sanctum. I flip through them while I have my dinner and I've been loving it. It always feels like I've never looked at them before - like they are brand new. That's either a fading memory thing or perhaps it's because I have such a large and varied collection and of course things change, you change, your thoughts change, your tastes change ... each night I think to myself, as I flip through many pages with delight - these babies aren't goin' anywhere. But don't tell Peter.

It's just me - les chats (and No ! of course I don't allow them on the table - while I'm eating), CBC radio - the world at 6 & as it happens (two more favourite shows) and my big, huge pile of cooking magazines - while I enjoy my evening meals.

Roasted Beet and Orange Salad

6 large *roasted beets - sliced
the zest from one orange
2 oranges cut into segments - supremed (with juice)
1/2 a small sweet onion finely sliced
a handful of fresh mint rough chopped
a drizzle of olive oil
a drizzle of cider vinegar
salt & pepper

toss together and let marinate 30 mins minimum before serving.

* rub beets with olive oil, skins on and roast in a hot oven 400 until soft enough to be pierced with a knife - or grill on the BBQ.


  1. Oh yeah, we need to talk. I was hip to all of them except the Vogue food version. Never any Martha? Her pre-prison mags were pretty spectacular. All the food ones have stepped up their games, Gourmet and Cook's Illustrated being two of my faves.

  2. Oh yeah B Shamu I have the Martha's too but I find the dinner company I enjoy most is of the pure cooking kind - no crafts, no good things, no gardening and decor - just food and recipes. Check out the Vogue AE it's been a favourite of mine for years - those darn Aussies, a paradox or two they certainly are - much like us Canadians I would like to think.

  3. Susan, I love my magazines, too. Just the other day, I was looking through Country Living (decorating, crafts, cooking, antiques) from the 1980s and 1990s. They have gorgeous photography, too... much more than more recent editions. (And fewer ads.) I'm so happy that I kept them.
    Your photos look like the perfect home to me... good food, furnishings with a history, stacks of magazines, and cats. I could move right in!

  4. nobody sets up a photo shoot like you. you always capture the sweet life. i agree. i will admit to holding onto every martha stewart living mag and every raw vision magazine (outsider and folk art publication)
    i love the way martha stewart living photographs things from milk glass to types of lenten roses - they inspire.

    you cannot get the same feel of sitting on the porch with some good animals flipping through glorious glossy pages. you cannot!

    shamu: V gets cooks illustrated - i love that back page.

  5. By the way, I forgot to say that beet salad looks so yummy.
    See, you've restricted your addiction to just the food element of the magazines. I suffer from the crafty/collector/decor magazine addiction as well as the foodie version. I might need an intervention.

  6. It's so nice to meet other magazine addicts! Isn't it hard to give them away? I stack them up to recycle/donate and ALWAYS end up pulling a few out to thumb through while I'm having my coffee. As for your photos, I'll be over for dinner with everyone else. LOL! Have a great weekend! xox Pam

  7. I'm admitting nothing about magazine stashes....

    Those beets look good. I had a recent experiment with roasting beetroots - each in separate foil wraps, one on a bed of coarse sea salt, one plain, one rubbed with oil and sprinkled with herbs. Surprisingly, the sea-salt-bed was far and away the best.

  8. Oh Yummy!
    Mom said why do youalways make us hungry
    Benny & Lily

  9. Cook's Illustrated is the best not only for the back page as Chickory mentioned but also the front page always features artwork (oil still life) and there's no ADS!!!! I'll have to see if I can find Raw Vision. Mag Addicts Reunite!

  10. That looks delicious. Your kitties are so cute.

  11. MLou's been a Cook's Illustrated fan for quite some time - I do watch the show on PBS regularly. I must look into a potential subscription.

  12. ps B Shamu I also checked out the Raw Vision web site - tres cool. Merci.

  13. WOW..That looked just so yummy..:)
    Sometimes I see you as a Nova Scotia version of Martha Stewart..LOL!!..
    You seem to be indulging yourself in so many things, it just seems awesome and awe-inspiring!!
    I took like strolling through cookery magazines and experimenting some exotic dishes..it is fun, isn't it?
    Keep cooking and writing..and I'll keep visiting..:)

  14. That does look yummy! I love mags too! I think you always miss something the first look or two so when you look again it is new to you! I never read one cover to cover so they can be entertaining for a long time!
    xoxo to the les gang :)

  15. arrrrgghhhhh!!! I don't want to renovate on!! I want to send him to your house and have some peace and quiet and some happy days.... it is constant grumping and misery doing this. Now...to find somebody that doesn't charge $150 just to move a washer and dryer up from teh downstairs.... and somebody to help lift down a huge screen... that weighs 60 pounds...cuz I can't do it anymore... my back got wrecked doing the bathtub two years ago...oh, and somebody to colour match some paint chips properly so we don't keep paying $60 per gallon for incorrectly coloured paint....and ..well, the bloody list goes on and on ad nauseum.... every year for over 20 years.... I WANT you to have him...I REALLY do !!!@!
    can't you stop by and make me supper please? We'll be having a ham sandwich for supper...if I can make one with my wrecked hands...

  16. BVee I'll take him !!! .... pack up his troubles and all his tools and put him on a plane. Toute suite!!

    I here ya ... I "can" remotely see the down side ... of living with a renovation freak, of loving the handiest of all men. That darn grass it's always greener ... and I would be thrilled to cook you dinner I'd set a place for you right beside Oliver. Wink.

  17. Glad to see Vogue Australia Entertaining amongst your favourites Susan, and know from previous posts that you listen to our ABC radio broadcasts.I am sure you would love this vast land with its many regional epicurian delights. Your photos of the cats and magazines are beautiful, the softness and colour.I am more of a Country Living fan,(especially the British editions) and while appreciating a beautifully served and presented meal,I'm not one who enjoys cooking, I have a Donna Hay book I should use much more. You have reminded me to look for it, and become a more adventurous foodie this weekend.

  18. Oh yum. IF I liked beets I would love that orange and beet recipe - but even though I don't like beets it looks beautiful!

  19. Your beet salad inspired me to make it last night for dinner. It was yum!

    Stay safe from the hurricane.

    Cheers, Kim

  20. Oh, I have a stack just like that on the floor of my library. My husband trips over it, and mutters, every night. They are supposed to be slated for donation, but well, not quite yet.

    Like you, online versions, while wonderful, are never quite the same. I used to live for the Christmas issues of all my favourite design magazines! When the arrived in my mailbox...usually in October...I would wait to peek into them until I was snuggled in an appropriate place, dogs on my feet, cup of tea at my side...and dive in. I do so miss House and Garden...and now Southern Accents has bit the dust. But oh.....the new fall Vogue just arrrived this morning!!! My night is made!!

  21. My stacks of magazines are getting out of hand. Help. I can't breath.

    Okay, beets are on my grocery list! Oh. Yum.

  22. I, too, am a magazine addict! In an effort to divest myself of some piles, I've been going through some oldies this summer...and creating books of tear sheets to free up some room. And I do mean *some*...there were many too precious to part with. :-) That salad looks outrageously yummy, by the way...I'd love to give the recipe a try.

  23. I totally get waht you are saying about real mags verses online subscripts.I have some favourite interior design type mags from years back I keep around, including one that I pull out each Xmas to get int eh mood. Some of the spreads are a little dated but just the typography alone and the lushness of the photos sends my heart to mushy land.


Hey ! We LOVE comments here at 29 Black Street.
Thanks for stopping by.