I have been a magazine junkie for as long as I can remember. I started with Tiger Beat and Teen (Teen published my first letter to the editor when I was still in junior high) and worked my way up to Seventeen, Glamour, and then Newsweek and Time when I decided to become a journalist. Years later, when I became editor of a local magazine, I bought even more magazines because I wanted to see what "the big guys" were doing, and I have always been eager to check out new magazines I hear about. I hadn't heard a thing about Bake From Scratch magazine, but I saw it on the newsstand recently and decided to flip through it. I have this rule: if I open to three pages and don't see anything I care about, I'm done. Through. You've got three chances to get my attention, and that's it. Lately, I've noticed how very similar magazines have become. Christmas magazines? I've seen those pretty wreaths and candy-cane-covered trees a million times before. Fall cooking magazines? Oh, who doesn't need one more article on how to cook the perfect Thanksgiving turkey. The anything-with-Vintage-in-the-title magazines? If I see one more article on chalk paint, someone is going to get hurt. (My, that sounds snarky for a Monday morning, doesn't it? Sorry!) But I've said all that to say this: I reached for Bake From Scratch magazine and loved everything I saw. That Apple Spice Cake on the cover? What a great and yet somehow moody photo.
Inside the magazine, I found a Vanilla Buying Guide, and I needed that. You know how the Barefoot Contessa always tells everyone to use "the good vanilla"? I've always assumed she means expensive, only-available-in-the-Hamptons vanilla, so it was lovely to read about the history of vanilla as well as the difference between the various pure vanillas and extracts.