To: Adam Rapoport, editor, Bon Appetit
From: A Longtime Reader
Re: Cancel My Subscription
Dear Mr. Rapoport:
I’ve subscribed to your magazine for a long time. Decades, actually. I’ve read it through the tenures of two editors; the rise of the cooking-as-game-show phenomenon; the move toward local, sustainable, artisanal foodstuffs. But I’m ending my subscription. I simply can’t continue giving you money. While I used to anticipate each month’s issue, I now tamp down disappointment — and a fair amount of frustration — every time I leaf through a new arrival.
Here’s why I won’t be among your subscribers come January:
1. Austin: Do you realize that Austin, Texas, is highlighted somewhere, somehow in every single issue of your magazine? It’s become a parlor game of sorts: How fast can we spot a mention of Austin? (It took just 30 seconds for me to find the over-exposed city in the issue I got yesterday.) The nadir came a couple of months ago, in your restaurant issue. You named an Austin food truck as one of the country’s best new restaurants. Seriously? Is it laziness on the part of your restaurant reporter that he must always reference this city? If you need ideas on new, innovative and daring restaurateurs, I can give you a couple of names from my hometown or point you to some geographic areas that never grace your pages.
2. Portland: See above. No food truck highlighted, but Portland, Ore., is your other fair, must-be-mentioned-in-almost-every-issue maiden. We get it! Portland is cool. Portland is happening. But could you publish a few issues without waxing poetic about it?
3. Tone: You are seriously snarky. I understand the need to have a consistent tone, but your magazine has become almost rude in its flippancy. I always looked to Bon Appetit as a teacher: The trusted kitchen advisor who’d stand with me at the oven, keeping me company as I tried new recipes and techniques, offering additional guidance and information as I grew into a more accomplished cook. Nowadays, you seem to be perpetually rolling your eyes. At whom, I’m not sure, but I get the feeling we cooks are just a little too precious for your respect.
4. Chefs: There’s a magazine out there that celebrates the food of top chefs around the country (and outside it). It’s called Food & Wine. It’s classy, inspirational and approachable. It doesn’t need an imitator.
5. Fashion: If I want to read about fashion, I’ll read Vogue. Or Marie Claire. Or Elle. No more features on waiter wear, please.
6. Common Sense (Or the lack thereof): Did you really recommend that I turn my bathtub into a bar for my next party (October 2014)? I bathe my dog in the bathtub. I don’t serve drinks from it (or let drunken fashionistas perch on its ledge …)
7. Coverage: There’s so much happening in the world of food right now that goes beyond what’s on our plates. GMOs, migrant farm labor, sustainability, small farms… A wealth of stories with political and policy ramifications is begging to be covered. Yes, I know Gourmet wrote about these issues, and yes, I know Gourmet is dead. But devoting a page (yet again) to the “foodist’s” favorite drink serves no one. It’s easy, shallow and predictable.
It’s the reason I won’t read you anymore.