About Last Month

If there's one part of magazine reading that I devour, it's the Letters column. The whole section teems with purpose for me.

As it's often time consuming to read whole articles, I find it a real boon having members of the reading public care enough to write in, have their thoughts tautly edited for space, and help me figure out whether I should be outraged over the latest big deal or not. Important also, is the time freed so I can enjoy the sound of crisp pages snapping one after another as I search for ads featuring things I don't want but if presented properly, must have.

Dear Bon Appétit (America's Food and Entertaining Magazine),

I came across an old issue of your publication at a friend’s cottage this weekend and would like to compliment you on the artfully composed food photographs and the snappy captions (Mad about Mozzarella). Everything looked and sounded tantalizing; even the ads encouraging me to Discover Duck! made me smile.

While I hate to find fault, may I mention my mild alarm at realizing in place of a Letters column, you have a section for recipe beggars? One would think that those leading lives glamorous enough to include dining out would be sufficiently happy already but they also seem to require secrets from the kitchens of top chefs, gratis, and you accommodate them.

While a nice enough service, could your magazine not also support a separate Letters column? Imagine the the thrill your readers would feel at hearing how someone triumphed in their mastery of Cornmeal Biscuits with Cheddar and Chipotle after they wrote in about the experience.

You might also get a few letters detailing how an unexpectedly runny Butternut Squash and Apple Soup with Melted Blue Cheese ruined a dinner party or a failed attempt at Hoisin Marinated Pork Chops threatened someone’s social standing, but I think that would just add to the fun.

Am I hoping for this type of feature to satisfy my own mean sense of humour? No, assuredly not. As proof, I offer this: I asked my friend if she thought I was mean and she answered, No, you're just not nice in the conventional sense of the word. Please let me know if you’ll consider my idea while I pretend not to know where her magazine went.

Hungrily yours,



katrocket said...

I would gladly subscribe to a magazine that featured only letters to the editor, and nothing else. Well, maybe it could also include some pictorials that illustrate, you know, the meaty parts of the letter, just in case my imagination doesn't do it enough justice.

Oh wait. I already do subscribe to that magazine.

BeckEye said...

Dear Dale,

How do you get yourself so saucy? I'd like the recipe, please.

Ladle in hand,

Shroom Monkey said...

and this is why you can never go wrong with pigs in a blanket and some cheez wiz on celery... you're cleverly crafted haute cuisine dinner parties are no match for my shin digs... c'mon nothing beats cheez wiz and naked twister... and a keg... yup a keg, and cheese wiz and need I say it again NAKED TWISTER... there are no letters to the editor or recipe cards to carefully put back in the old roledex... just a wear are my panties and who the hell are you, to worry about... c'mon now Dale did you learn nothing from our time together???


Barbara Bruederlin said...

You see, now they must start a Letter's section, or else what will they do with the lovely letter you just sent them, put it in their lunch bag and carry it around for the next 10 years? That would be foolhardy.

You are sly, Dale, just not in the conventional sense.

Chancelucky said...

If you read the letters column in magazines, does that mean we should only closely read the comments on your blog?

Jill said...

You might have to write a letter to them to tell your adventure with your Kraft pizza!!

X. Dell said...

I could imagine that a chef who has gone through culinary school, worked her or his butt off to make it at a decent restaurant might not want to give the secrets to the harder earned recipies. I could also imagine that they would give the wrong recipie in order to ruin even more dinner parties.

Flannery Alden Jenny Shaw said...

I love a ruined dinner party. The tears are always so cathartic, but not in the conventional way.

Joe said...

I just returned from dinner at a place called "Shooters" which featured:

hot wings
mac n cheese
tater tots
summer sausage in barbecue sauce
meatballs in barbecue sauce
fried chicken
fried liver and onions

I did not see any of the editorial staff of Bon Apetit there, but if I had I would gladly have relayed your question.

Jacy said...

I always howl at the People Magazine letters and wonder if they're made up. They are either insanely hostile towards a certain celebrity or completely fawning, as though it's a close personal friend.

As in:

Thank you so much for your story on Jennifer Aniston and her love of yoga. Jen is beautiful both inside and out, and deserves a lifetime of happiness! I love her!

Peggy McPegster
Toledo, Ohio

paperback reader said...

How meta, Kat. It would be a letters to the editor magazine full of letters complaining about previous letters, a snake endlessly feeding on its own tail.

Speaking of which, why no snake tail recipes? I judge foods based solely on whether or not they sound like Chuck Norris would eat them, and I've got to say that snake tail sounds right up his alley.

In conclusion, I completely agree with your premise, theme, and execution, and suggest you mete out tough but fair street justice with your feet in case your friend demands further information about the whereabouts of her magazine.

Mob said...

If you can get them to make with the letter column, I give you my word that I'll write a vividly detailed missive to them each and every month under a pseudonym detailing failed attempts at last month's featured recipe, accusing them of trying to destroy my marriage.

Yours until the restraining order....

deadspot said...

Dear Bon Appétit (America's Food and Entertaining Magazine),

Bobby Flay is a douchebag. Tell him I hate him.


Allison said...

Chancelucky makes an interesting point.

I can't say I read the letter section of magazines all that much, but would be up for a recipe share.

Dale said...

I want a subscription to that too but only if there are lots of ads to break things up a bit Katrocket.

I cook with a lot of whine Beckeye, that's the key. I'm holding my ladle too.

Naked Twister could be worthwhile with the right group Kitty and who says I can't have a keg at my sophisticated dinner parties?

They'd probably mist it with olive oil and saute it lightly Barbara, all sorts of strange things go on behind the scenes, I'm convinced.

Oh Chance, I was worried this would come up. I actively encourage comment only reading, in fact the comments are generally more interesting than the posts anyway.

They'd eat me alive for sure Jill.

That's what I would do X. Dell only then I'd blame my sous chef and emerge from scandal unscathed.

As Wilf Carter once sang Flannery, tears don't always mean a broken heart...

They don't know what they're missing Bubs, all that artery clogging goodness warms my, well, arteries.

Jacy, that's my comment of the day, it's funny because it's true!

I ask myself everyday Pistols at Dawn: What would Chuck Norris do?
Or eat? Or think?

There may be a Pahlaniuk novel in your comment somewhere Mob, great idea!

Dear Deadspot,

We agree, Bobby Flay is a douchebag and a massive tool.


Bon Appetit and Dale

Allison, get thee to a news agent at once!

Jacy said...

I'm so touched!

The People Magazine letters are the best of all.

Dale said...

I'm still laughing Jacy, comedy gold that thar is.

Jacy said...

And yet I can't think of a single witty bean joke!

Coaster Punchman said...

"...or a failed attempt at Hoisin Marinated Pork Chops threatened someone’s social standing."

Ha ha, that was funny, what you said!

BeckEye said...

Is Bobby Flay's douchebagness pretty much a fact now, rather than opinion?

Dale said...

Then you're not welcome here anymore Jacy! Unless you write another letter.

I try and serve it up but it doesn't always work CP.

Someone should sue Flay, don't you think Beckeye?