About six weeks ago, I got my issue of Bon Appetit. It was the Italy issue and I was uber excited about it. Then I actually read the issue, and it just irked me so much that I had to write a letter to the newly appointed editor, Adam Rapaport. Of course I never heard back from BA, but I had spend too much time on the letter to let my rant go to waste – I must share it with the world! And maybe – just maybe – Mr. Rapaport will see it sooner or later. So here it is in its entirety:
Dear Mr. Rapoport,
Full disclsoure: I am one of the thousands of Bon Appetit subscribers who received their subscription after Gourmet closed, and continued subscribing because few other magazines on the market seemed as good as BA (and none lived up to Gourmet).
I enjoyed the recipes and stories, although I always found myself going back to old Gourmet recipes. I was looking forward to the much-hyped transformation of the magazine, and eagerly awaited the May issue.
Sadly, I think I may let the subscription run its course and not renew. The only thought looping through my head as I read through the issue was, “Why are they TRYING so hard?” It seems as though the magazine has been taken over by 25-35 year old hipsters, although that is exactly what the magazine would make us believe has not happened. Just the number of references to hipsters, know-it-all foodie friends, and tattooed baristas makes me think that the magazine is now run by hipsters, know-it-all foodie friends, and tattooed former baristas (all fully aware that they are these things, and adamant about denying it).
Perhaps I’m taking it too much to heart because this was the Italy issue. Another full disclosure: I’m married to an Italian and lived in that wonderful country for seven years. This full immersion into the Italian culture and cuisine has made me wary of Americans trying to stamp their “expertise” onto Italian traditions. I would LOVE to meet any Italian who goes through your ludicrous method of making coffee with the moka coffee pot, especially the last step which calls for wrapping a cold, wet towel around the pot “to stop the extraction.” As my husband pointed out, another way to do this is to pour the coffee and drink it. Pretty simple.
Also, for a magazine which seems to extol the authenticity that still permeates Italian cuisine (to quote page 107, “You can get a rich, crema-topped espresso just about anywhere. And it doesn’t come with a lecture from some tattooed, fedora-wearing barista.”), it’s pretty ironic that the “Moka Pot Manual” was written not by an Italian, but a New York City barista, perhaps one with tattoos (or sporting a fedora).
Or even worse: Maybe the irony was intended, fully putting the hipster stench on Bon Appetit forever.
I know this email will never get a response, but I just feel better knowing that I sent it.