I've always been a fan of Jamie Oliver, owning four cookbooks and two of his DVD series The Naked Chef and Jamie at Home. Allow me to highly recommend the latter for winding down after a very stressful day. Watching him and Brian, his gardener, putz about, discussing bugs and greens and the weather, then watching what Jamie does with his fresh ingredients all make for a very soothing presentation.
But I'm here to review Jamie's magazine, Jamie, which I've noticed before at my local bookstore but never purchased until the other day, when I was way early to pick up my boys from school and wanted something to read in the car with my coffee. I have the May/June 2010 issue.
For starters--and it may sound odd to discuss this--I absolutely love the tactile sensation of reading this magazine. It's not printed on glossy paper, with that subtle whisper of flipping pages. Rather, this has the wonderful texture of a good-quality paperback book, a little rough and very pleasant to flip through. I don't know the technical name for this paper stock but it really makes the photos of the food pop; because they're not shiny, they look like what you yourself may have just placed on the table. It also brings a nice edge to the colorful illustrations that accompany some of the articles such as "Cool Beans" in the "Get Growing" section and a most excellent essay titled "Plate Politics."
The features are standard, including wine and travel, and the cover story is Jamie's visit to Stockholm's Rosendals garden. What I was very pleased to find were a section for kids called "Little Chefs" and a "Monthly Menu" that was loaded with gorgeous ideas for both food and drink that were easy and would not break the budget. True to form, all of the recipes throughout were just that, which should instill confidence in anyone who picks up a copy. For those of you who may worry about the vanity element: no, there are not pictures of Jamie and his family splashed all over the place, making it appear as if you are looking through a photo album rather than a cooking mag. So you're safe there. Finally, there was a very sweet tribute to Rose Gray, the woman who trained Jamie at the River Cafe. She died in February of this year and the tribute pulled together reminiscences from friends and those she influenced over the years for a lovely memorial to a woman who lived a rather extraordinary life.
I really liked this issue. I'm still working my way through it, it's that dense. In fact, I more than likely will tote this around in my handbag because I think it can withstand the abuse. Will I subscribe to it? No, because my store carries it and it's less expensive for me to buy it myself (it's printed in the UK). However, if they did stop carrying it, I would consider shelling out the $80, especially if future issues are of the same quality. If you'd like, you can get a brief view online here.
And there you have it.