My creative space: What’s the perfect recipe for a food mag?

For the last couple of weeks I’ve been thinking deeply about food mags and foodie sections in newspapers. I mean, I think about these things all the time anyway (as well as food blogs, of course) but my new job requires me to redesign a newspaper food supplement that’s in desperate need of a decent shakeup.

It’s been great fun, reading all sorts of fun food mags and calling it work, but I actually have to produce the goods next week and I feel as panicked about it as a Masterchef contestant. So I thought I might throw the floor open to you all.

What do you look for – or dream of finding – in a newspaper food supplement? Do you want the recipes to be restaurant-fancy, or do you prefer accessible over aspirational?
What about product stuff? Do you like reading about new sorts of ingredients and where to find them?
And what do you think of cafe or restaurant reviews? What makes a good one and what turns you right off?
I’d really love to know what you think. Comment away, please!
(And afterwards, you can find more creative spaces here.)



  1. November 17, 2010 / 10:44 pm

    I like good old fashioned recipes with a modern twist when they may just tweak it by adding one new fancy ingredient that perhaps ive never used before.

  2. November 18, 2010 / 1:07 am

    I prefer recipes that I could actually see myself making (so, not too fancy or complicated). A fresh look at old classics or maybe some classics from other cuisines (as we head into winter in the northern hemisphere I have just made my first tagine and wonder why it took me so long to delve into Moroccan cooking). I also like articles that show me how to prepare some of the more exotic fruits and veggies that are appearing more and more in supermarkets these days.

    As someone with celiac disease I'm always looking for restaurants that I can eat in safely and that come recommended or places to buy gluten free food – and I'm sure people on other diets would be interested in that sort of review too.

  3. November 18, 2010 / 2:37 pm

    If I want a complicated, fancy recipe, I go to my books so I am really looking to newspapers and magazine for really easy, quick meal ideas.
    I am also interested in restaurant reviews if it is a local newspaper but if it is a national one, I am very unlikely to read a review about somewhere hours away from here and so tend to skip it altogether. In food magazines, you get these pages of new ingredients or whatever and I always just think they are advertising features and tend to skip a lot of those too. I think a section each week on a different food or meal with loads of variations would be great. You know, like, a basic recipe, then lots of different ways you can do the same recipe but vary it.
    And I love photos of ways to present things nicely – nothing too difficult or elaborate.

  4. November 19, 2010 / 8:22 pm

    Now that sounds like a fun job, if a little stressful at present. Photos are of course important, but I get put off anything that is too fancy and up itself. Reviews of good homely cafes, tea shops and restaurants and recipes that are interesting but relatively simple so can be made by a busy person – ie me!

  5. November 20, 2010 / 10:07 am

    Oh great job Lucy…..images are really important to me I like to see a colour photograph of finished recipes. I'm not into chefy food but simple family food that has lots of flavour with healthy ingredients.

    I love to hear about new ingredients and new places to eat especially interesting quirky places with great atmosphere and good food.

  6. November 21, 2010 / 3:12 am

    You have a great job! What I look for in a newspaper food supplement first and for most is great photography, the food has to say eat me! It doesn't have to be complicated, a modern twist on an old favorite is always good. Local or accessible produce is important, there is nothing worse having a recipe you really want to make but you can't get hold of the ingredients. I love restaurant reviews, I write a few for our very local paper and we rely on them when trying out a new spot. And could doughnuts be the new cupcake, maybe if baked ones where readily available people would indulge more, can you imagine fancy mini doughnuts with cool fillings and toppings? You may have just inspired me to test that theory.

  7. November 21, 2010 / 1:19 pm

    what a fab job…albeit stressful i am sure…but…wow!! i am totally jealous! um…what do i look for in a foodie article?? beautiful pictures and where to source hard to find ingredients. new twists on old favourites are always inspiring and give me warm fuzzies all over. Good luck xx

  8. November 21, 2010 / 9:31 pm

    Thanks so much everyone for your really interesting and insightful comments, it's fantastic to get feedback from all around the world and yet find that everyone wants similar things! I'll let you know what I come up with soon…

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