Food Gift with Long Shelf Life: Subscription to Independent Food Magazine

What publications do you turn to for interesting, evocative and inspiring food writing? I've been asking a lot of people that question recently and the "umms" and "hmphs" I get in reply speak volumes. Unfortunately there aren't many widely-printed publications putting much stock in food writing these days. I'm not talking about recipes and product guides — those are printed in abundance and make up the content of most food magazines now. But essays, investigative pieces, profiles and nerd-tastic treatises with an edible bent have been quietly disappearing from the printed page.

So hurrah for independent publishers! There are some truly brilliant food magazines being produced in various corners of the world that will satisfy your hunger for quality food writing and illustrations.

A gift subscription to a lovingly-crafted independent publication is a gift that delivers food for thought and a treat for the eyes throughout the year. Two of my favourite ad-free food magazines are 'Fire & Knives' and 'Remedy Quarterly'. Why would a subscription make a good gift? What can we look forward to seeing from them in 2012? I conducted a little Q&A session with the publishers to find out...

Published in London, England
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Q&A with Tim Hayward, Founder & Editor

Tim Hayward is a food journalist and co-owner of Fitzbillies, a Cambridge institution he and his wife recently bought and fired fresh life into. Between running the bakery-cafe and writing, Tim also manages to edit and publish 'Fire & Knives'.

Why do you think a subscription to your magazine makes an excellent gift?

 There are plenty of food publications that fit well in the kitchen but when we were planning 'Fire & Knives' we decided that its natural home was on the food lover's bedside table. The idea was to feed the mind when you're away from the hob. I think food lovers are, of their nature, incredibly fussy about the things they buy so it's always going to be difficult to buy something in the way of ingredients, tools or recipe books that will meet with their unqualified approval.

The constantly changing and eclectic menu of 'Fire & Knives' is the shotgun solution; at least part of it is bound to be on target.

Give us a hint of exciting things to look out for in 'Fire & Knives' in 2012...

Like a good restaurant menu, the contents of 'Fire & Knives' vary with what looks good at the market at the time so it's not easy to talk about forthcoming attractions.

What I can say is that the design is continuing to evolve — this year's covers are based on lurid 1970s tea towels — and as the magazine has grown up we've become more confident about commissioning things from increasingly odd sources.

A submission gets in if it delights, informs, amuses us or sometimes just makes us say "WTF?"

If you could receive a gift subscription to any other independent food publication, what would it be and why?

I'd love a subscription to John Thorne's 'Simple Cooking'. It inspired me to start 'Fire & Knives' in the first place, it's still produced Samizdat-style on a photocopier and it's insanely personal.

A good food publication makes you feel all kinds of things but John's newsletter makes you feel like a member of the Thorne family.


Published in Brooklyn, New York
Click here to purchase gift subscription

Love the two-toned graphics, one of the prettiest treatments my writing has ever received!

Q&A with Kelly Carámbula, Founder & Creative Director

Kelly Carámbula is a Brooklyn-based graphic designer and food blogger. She started 'Remedy Quarterly' to give people, whether professional food writers or witty grandmas, a place to share their stories and recipes, much like the community cookbooks that inspired her. Each issue has a theme — I contributed to Issue No. 6: Stealing.

Why do you think a subscription to your magazine makes an excellent gift?

'Remedy Quarterly', which is a magazine about food memories and the recipes that inspire them, makes a great gift because it's all about sharing (everyone appreciates sharing, right?). It's the kind of magazine that helps you slow down, one that you can get cosy with and find yourself lost in stories about food. Of course you'll want to get in the kitchen too.

Kelly selling copies of Remedy Quarterly

Give us a hint of exciting things to look out for in 'Remedy Quarterly' in 2012...

Our next issue is all about adventure — we'll have an interview with a chef who's pioneering Nordic cuisine in Minnesota, along with stories of long distance adventures to places like Poland and Georgia as well as adventures in the kitchen. Look for it in February.

If you could receive a gift subscription to any other independent publication, what would it be and why?

I love UPPERCASE magazine — it's such a creative and inspiring publication.

Thanks to Tim and Kelly for the photos.


  1. I love Fire and Knives! It's the best present to myself I've ever bought. I live by Fitzbillies and found the magazines in there, been hooked ever since.

    Really interesting article, thanks for posting.


  2. Thanks Allie! Lucky you living near Fitzbillies - I hope to eat there soon, looks so cosy and satisfying.


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