When the independent Lucky Peach magazine launched two years ago, reading it was a new experience for me. It took me several enjoyable hours to devour the the stories and recipes in the publication. The quarterly magazine had what seemed to be, at the time, a hefty price tag of $10 an issue.

Since then, the world of indie food magazines has grown. The price tags are growing, too. Here’s a sampling of some that have caught my eye.

  • Chickpea – Promoting a whole-foods, plant-based, DIY lifestyle, the ad-free Chickpea will run you $20 for a print issue or $4 per digital issue (and contains more content than the print version). The current fall issue has pieces like an ode to oats, advice on dating omnivores, and DIY info on making your own hard apple cider and candle holders. If this sounds incredibly hipster, consider that the publication grew out of the hipsterfood blog.
  • Gather Journal – Published bi-annually, Gather is a magazine that is designed to have “staying power on your bookshelf.” It’s a little more recipe-heavy than some of the other magazines, but as its title suggests, the recipes are intended to inspire cooks to bring people together for memorable meals. The publication won the James Beard Award for Visual Storytelling earlier this year. Each issue sells for $19.99.
  • Cherry Bombe – A celebration of women and food, this newly published magazine will print twice a year. It is about “sustenance and style and things that nourish 
the mind, the eye and, of course, the stomach.” The first issue is dedicated to “tastemakers,” and I haven’t had a chance to get my hands on a copy yet, but I’m looking forward to checking it out, even if it does run $18 an issue.
The price tags on these magazines are rather steep, but many of them are ad-free or run very few ads. They provide hours of reading material. For me, the more traditional food magazines tend to take me a half hour at most to flip through, tag some recipes, and skim a full-length article. They don’t hold much interest for me anymore because I can find plenty of recipes online.

But, I’m happy to pay $20 a few times a year for some well-written, informative, and inspirational food writing that goes beyond recipes that I can spend hours reading while sipping some good wine. How about you?

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Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

The new breed of food mags: Indie, expensive and very readable
The food magazine world is changing. New indie publications are published less frequently, cost much more money, and take days to read.