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The BBC Easy cook magazine is advertised as a magazine filled with 'simple, useful recipes for family meals, short cut tricks to save you time and easy meals for the kids'. I actually haven't bought the most recent issue….lie... I've never bought any issue, but I always see one lying about my dad's house, and whilst I wait for him to make dinner I read everything in site!!
First of all let me say, I'm the worst cook in the world, I live on takeaways and microwave meals, or I go to friends houses for dinner. I was brought up in a sheltered household and when I finally moved out I found it difficult to operate a washing machine let alone the different switches on the oven. At the moment in my cupboard, I have, a bottle of onion vinegar (for when I get fish and chips) tea bags (for when I can steal some milk off of my dad) and a jar of pasta sauce (no idea where it came from). But I have tried to make some of the recipes out of the magazine with my dad before…
The first thing that I would like to mention about the magazine is that each issue I have seen has had the most mouth watering dish on the front cover, which is most likely why I bother to open it up. Lets agree here, when you see a delicious looking meal in a magazine you do often give it, 'that looks lovely' then read over it and kid yourself that you will make it in the next day or two. I think this is the starting reason to why the magazine is so popular, when in the shop; customers must see it and automatically kid themselves that buying a cooking magazine is going to inspire them to cook something different and interesting everyday and be brilliant at it!! In my personal opinion the main bulk of people that think like this, think like it because they aren't that creative in their cooking (I am more than guilty) and really do want to improve this. The people, who can really cook anyway, may buy it for new ideas and out of interest. Therefore a magazine like this is automatically going to be popular.
From what I can remember the magazine is split into sections for weekend foods, every day foods and foods that can be made more quickly (under 20 minutes (after which point I usually give up despite how well it may be going)) along with other sections for when preparing meals for friends or family get together.
The easy cook magazine is part of the BBC's 'food group' which is trying to do its bit to promote good food and not just healthy eating. Which I totally agree with, I wouldn't be happy if I was living off of something completely healthy every day and I would eventually feel the need to indulge. This magazine totally understands this which is why it offers recipes not just for healthy meals, but also for deserts, indulgent meals like the perfect chilli, starters and even party food. It also gives meal idea for children and families so that families don't get into the same routine. I.e. Sunday - roast Monday - Nuggets and chips Tuesday - Beans on toast Wednesday - Spag Bol Etc
Another thing I like about the magazine and find considerate is that it does recipes for vegetarians almost equally to recipes for meat eaters. I believe at Christmas they did a special feature on a vegetarian Christmas, which if I was actually a vegetarian I would find helpful and interesting as I wouldn't know what the bloody hell to eat!!
The magazine also, like most magazines, has adverts. Some are boring and useless (as in all magazines) but others are actually useful and give me great ideas as I read them. For example they advertise food companies that may do special types of food, deliver certain types of food or prepare certain types of food. Again this is an inspiring idea and I think must be quite effective. I have admittedly gone on to some of the company web sites that are advertised in the magazine, again referring to the Christmas article, I found the web site to a really helpful company that did a beautiful hamper for me to send to my younger brother's head mistress and it was at a price that wasn't ridiculous. (At Christmas I found that everywhere slapped an extra 20 quid on top of everything that I had planned on sending out!)
One of this disadvantages I think of this magazine is that it doesn't come out that regularly, although I do not depend on the magazine I think they could easily bring it out monthly and maybe cut the price down (now priced at around £2). The magazine now comes out every two months, changed from when it used to be every three months. I have also seen some similar ideas in a few different series. This leads me to believe that it is a slight waste of money and would be a better investment to buy a (call me old fashioned) recipe book. There are plenty out there and I know they are an essential in most kitchens, but it is a fact that only 15% of people regularly use their cookery books, why would a cooking magazine be any different??
Now to the food…
The magazine always seems to use ingredients which are easy to get hold of, however I wouldn't say that they are ingredients you would just find in you cupboard (especially not my cupboard). When I and my dad made one of the dishes, the cost of the ingredients was small so we were satisfied and the instructions were clear and simple. I was surprised to see that after cooking it, it looked similar to the picture, and did taste delicious. I was very impressed with this and although we then continued to make another few meals from the magazine, it is now something which we discarded easily due to us all preferring my dads own recipes.
I think overall, the magazine does make it clear and simple how to make the tastiest recipes, but I think the main thing it does is inspire people to try something new and get into new habits of cooking, not microwaving or taking out o a tin. It is much more of a family event when a proper meal is cooked and therefore I think the magazine is good to be inspiring, but again, I would prefer to spend one amount of money on a good cook book.
I would recommend that you buy it, as i said it doesnt come out that often so it is good to top up your own ideas, but I personally would not live by it!!