I do miss Gourmet, even though there was too much in it and of very uneven quality. I would begin by ripping out all the pages with ads on both sides, making the magazine much thinner. The ads and the lifestyle promoted were abhorrent. But there were always some interesting recipes. It was a sort of gluttonous feast. Nowadays when I get copies of Food and Wine with the same miserable ads, I rip out the few recipes of interest and throw out the magazine since there is so litle in it.
It's a pity about Fine Cooking. They have lovely food and cooking related ads. But the recipes are so mediocre that the magazine is of no use at all, and I have given up on it.
So my favorites are Saveur, which always has much of interest, and Cook's. I used to dislike Cook's. Every article assumed that the recipe to be discussed was deserving of being "saved". Recreating lunch room nostalgia and the worst of church pot lucks was disappointing, to say the least. But they seem to have gotten over it, and now some of my favorite recipes have come from the often careful analysis of how food chemistry and technique can interact to make us all better cooks. Perhaps the best example of this interaction is the recipe for Rosemarry Foccacia. It is perfect.
I have been thinking about the concept of "talent". Maybe some folks really are born with special skills, or at least the ability to learn faster. But mostly, I think, the question is one of intention: What is it that you want to accomplish? Then the issue is for how much failure can you forgive yourself and how stubborn are you in going back to try again and again.
My intention in cooking is to use food in season, to celebrate diverse people"s comfort food, and most important of all, to make the food be vegan as often as I can. Sometimes it doen't work, but I do keep trying. And because we keep trying, it is never boring! We can always look forward to repeating earlier successes, in season.
Noel and I teach weaving. Much of it is difficult, but the principles of forgiving mistakes and being stubborn are what produces good results in any endeavor...my philosophy of the day!