The Honest Cooking website calls itself The Food Magazine. The site that won the SAVEUR Best Food Blog Awards for Best Group Blog has just launched an actual food magazine in digital format for the iPad.

The first issue of Honest Cooking magazine is free to download, and it contains hours of reading material for those who “spend an unhealthy amount of time thinking about food, wine, cocktails, beer, and restaurants.”

Editor-in-Chief Kalle Bergman says in his introduction to the magazine that “as a rule of thumb, Honest Cooking Magazine will never feature recipes.” For recipes, readers can visit the website. The magazine goes beyond recipes. The magazine contains full-length feature pieces on wine makers, chefs, specialty foods (the first issue has one feature devoted to truffles and another devoted to Kopi Luwak coffee), and people and organizations that are making a difference in the food world.

One of the features I found most interesting from the inaugural issue was “Homeboy: From Gang Member to Chef.” It focuses on an organization in Los Angeles that turns incarcerated gang members into culinary professionals. Former gang members find employment and a purpose while they learn skills, earn their GED, and get mental health services, parenting classes and legal services from the organization.

Honest Cooking reminds me a little bit of a tamer Lucky Peach. The focus on feature-length articles will have you reading the magazine like a book instead of just flipping through for cooking inspiration. I spent a good hour reading, and I didn’t get through all of it.

For now, the magazine is free to download, and I don’t see any evidence that future issues will cost anything. The first issue of the magazine has only one advertiser, Aylesbury Duck Vodka, and ads for the spirit show up on several pages of the magazine. It’s an effective model. I was curious enough to go to Ayelsbury’s website and check the product out.

The only downside I see to this magazine is that the only device it’s available on is the iPad. Kindle, Nook and other tablet users don’t have access to the magazine.

If you have an iPad, download the first issue for free. Then come back here and let me know you’re opinion of Honest Cooking Magazine.

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