Eating Well Magazine’s New Lease on Life – NYTimes.com
SHELBURNE, Vt. — Employees at Eating Well magazine sometimes don’t quite believe their good fortune. Since the Meredith Corporation bought the magazine last year for $29 million, it moved out of the drafty warehouse offices it shared with curtain-climbing raccoons and a squirrel skilled at stealing bread loaves, and into a new $500,000 space with views of the Adirondacks and room to grow an edible garden. And the staff can now consult with Meredith editors at magazines like Every Day With Rachael Ray and Family Circle to brainstorm about test kitchens and effective covers.
But as in any new relationship, especially when it involves partners who have been burned, Eating Well’s 40 employees are wary. Hachette bought Eating Well in the late 1990s and abruptly shut it down. It took a decade for the magazine’s small but loyal staff to build it up again and place its trust in a new corporate owner.
“Everyone was a little nervous at first we would get sucked up by this big company,” said Stacy Fraser, the test kitchen manager who worked at the magazine under both owners and on a recent afternoon worked around stacks of freshly picked apples and gourds lining the test kitchen counter. “People are feeling more secure that Meredith is in for the long run.”
But Eating Well is still trying to forge its own path in a world without Gourmet, the long-running magazine that published its last issue in November 2009. It didn’t follow the approach many food magazines took through the recession and celebrate high-calorie foods, like rich pasta dishes or ribs, aiming to take the edge off readers’ job losses and dwindling retirement accounts. The magazine isn’t coveted by foodies as is Lucky Peach, from McSweeney’s and the chef David Chang, and isn’t afraid to offer the kind of tips that some might scorn, like using store-bought pizza dough or making Jell-O desserts.