Olive Magazine Review

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I would love to subscribe to Olive, but I can’t justify it. I understand the subscription includes airmail, but STILL! I can buy single issues at a store near my home, and even at retail prices, 12 issues cost less than does a subscription.

But, to give you an idea how good a magazine this is, every single month I deliberately make the trek to the store to buy a copy.

If you were looking at a marketing description, Olive would seem like Real Simple, or a magazine of its ilk, but somehow I find it more satisfying than those perfectly nice publications that I never find anything that makes me say, “Let’s make that this weekend.” I’m not sure how to describe the reasons why.

Olive could be subtitled “Food, Wine, and Travel for busy people,” because it emphasizes tasty meals without fuss. Each issue has a section with 5-10 dinners you can get on the table in 30 minutes; plus a “weekend cooking” section for the dishes you’re willing to fiddle with; plus a section on cooking what’s fresh in the market right now. (The issue I picked up today has three recipes that feature peas, for instance.) It ranges from exotic Thai curries to fish and chips. There are also restaurant reviews and travel (more “travel for foodies” — they expend some energy telling you where to eat).

I have cooked at least one dish from nearly every issue, and every single one of them has been a winner. These aren’t necessarily “company cooking,” though some of the recipes certainly qualify. However, their “fast food” section is exactly what I want: a real meal that’s feasible in the middle of the week. Among my favorites is a chicken-mushroom-wine stew in pastry. It really DID take a half hour, start to finish, in part because it instructs you to use store-bought puff pastry. And man, was it tasty.

That would be enough… but the fun extra is that this is a British magazine, put out by the BBC. When they do taste-tests of tea or chocolate or ketchup, the brands are what’s available in the UK. Although I recognize a few brands, the results aren’t terribly useful; but I think it’s a hoot. (What can I say? My idea of a cool thing to do on vacation in a foreign country is to go grocery shopping.) Nor are most of the restaurant reviews likely to be relevant; but then, a NY Times restaurant review isn’t going to help me, either. I can still enjoy it.

I can’t imagine you’ll spend this kind of money without seeing an issue. If you’ve seen a copy and wondered if its quality holds up… I assure you, it does. The only food magazine that I think is of equal quality in the U.S. is Fine Cooking, and it has a different angle.

Olive Magazine Overview

Each issue features simple and stylish recipes, a top 100 restaurant guide, great destinations for food lovers, fantastic wines and more!

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*** Product Information and Prices Stored: Aug 18, 2010 22:10:23

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