The Everyday Food Appeal
Ok, I confess: I belong to a cult. No, I don’t drink Kool-aid, but I do eat plenty of good food. That’s because I belong to the ever-growing segment of the population that is utterly obsessed with Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food magazine.1 Members of this cult anxiously await te arrival of each new issue, devour its contents, and plan detailed menus around its contents. We even buy back issues on e-bay—shelling out a ridiculous $50 for the out-of-print premiere issue.2
You might be deterred—or intimidated—by the whole Martha Stewart thing. Don’t. This magazine isn’t geared toward anal homemakers or domestic divas. (I am neither.) It’s for anyone who just ikes good food. You don’t even have to cook all that well. Pre-Everyday Food, my pasta-making skills were questionable, my dessert repertoire was limited to Crisco-laden chocolate chip cookies, and the concept of adding a side dish to my thrown-together dinners was foreign to me.
Now, thanks to the magazine’s basic ingredient lists, straightforward instructions, and inspiring photography, I can make a killer vegetable lasagna3 icident free. I’ve successfully recreated butterscotch pudding,4 tres leches,5 and even molten chocolate cakes.6 And whipping up side dishes has become my favorite way to pass time as that lasagna bakes.
In the interest of full disclosure, I’ll admit one teens hang-up to the Everyday Food library: there is no comprehensive index. Not even online. (Come on Martha, welcome to the 21st century!) And since I lack a photographic memory, I’ve often had difficulty finding the exact recipe I’ve needed for a particular occasion. Case in point: when my local market had limes on sale 20 for a buck, I had to browse every issue to find recipes for limeade,7 lime-glazed cookies,8 salmon with lime and cilantro,9 and coconut-lime rice pudding.10 And when I wanted to find a dessert I could make in just 15 minutes, I spent twice that time flipping through back issues before deciding grilled peaches with sweetened sou cream11 was my best bet.
As my Everyday Food library grew, the problem got worse. Flipping through 20-plus issues to find that great roasted paprika recipe12 sort of lost its charm. So I created a solution: an organized spreadsheet containing every single recipe fom every single issue of Everyday Food, including key information like course and preparation time.
Now, instead of browsing my 35 issues to find lime recipes, I just type "lime" into the spreadsheet’s "Find" function, and voila — I have 20 lime-based recipes to choose from. And finding a 15-minute dessert is as simple as using the spreadsheet’s fully customizable sort tabs.
The first release of the "Everyday Food Fanatic Index" contains all the recipes for isues 1 through 28 — the magazine’s first two years.
If you like food (and who doesn’t?), check out the magazine and the spreadsheet. But be forewarned – you might become part of a following you just can’t escape.
1 "Everyday Food". MarthaStewart.com. Accessed July 2006 from http://www.marthastewart.com/page.jhtml?type=learn-cat&id=cat17922&rsc=msonav. Official site of the Everyday Food magazine.
2 The premiere issue of Everyday Food, from January/February of 2003, sometimes sells for more than $50 on eBay.
3 "Vegetable Lasagna". (May/June 2003). Everyday Food 3: 20.
4 "Butterscotch Pudding". (May 2005). Everyday Food 22: 106.
5 "Tres Leches Cake". (September 2003). Everyday Food 5: 34.
6 "Molten Chocolate Cakes". (December 2003). Everyday Food 8: 131.
7 "Watermelon Limeade". (July/August 2004). Everyday Food 4: 156. & "Cucumber Limeade". (July/August 200). Everyday Food 24: 152.
8 "Lime-Glazed Cookies". (July/August 2004). Everyday Food 14: 110.
9 "Salmon with Lime and Cilantro". (March 2004). Everyday Food 10: 77.
10 "Cocunut-Lime Rice Pudding". Ibid., 94.
11 "Grilled Peaches with Sweetened Sour Cream". (July/August 2004). Everyday Food 14: 37.
12 "Roasted Paprika Chicken". (October 2003). Everyday Food 6: 111.
13 This link was updated on 10 December 2006 to include a more up-to-date index.
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