Paula Deen Never Looked This Good. Never.
Motivated more by what Hearst could bring to the table with Food Network Magazine, than a need to know the inner thoughts of Alton Brown and Tyler Florence, I plunked down a hard-earned $3.99 for the debut issue.
To its credit, the magazine is more than just an infomercial for Food Network, though it is certainly that as well.
The recipes don't require too much heavy lifting --- Cranberry Pomegrante Terrine, anyone? -- but are by no means dumbed down.
There are some quick, um, bites for features, including a fun quiz that challenges you to identify chocolate bars based on a view of their fillings (not as easy as it looks).
I also liked the On The Road section, which features regional food, recipes and items from those who often catch a meal away from home (Virgin America flight attendant Cassie Dole reveals she gets a $1.75 food allowance for every hour she's on the clock -- about $500 a month. And she's able to skirt the security rules on liquids, so she can carry lots of yogurt on board. Good thing: the crew doesn't get fed during flights).
But in the end, everything does center on the network stars, who are all smiles and then some. It was a little jarring and not a little scary to see on page 117 an artificial-looking Deen gesticulating toward us. Whomever was working Photoshop over at Hearst had quite the field day.
Either that, or they borrowed an exhibit from Madame Tussaud's. It's like she's frozen in time -- from 30 years ago.
Let's at least hope those White Chocolate Cherry Chunkies she's making in the photo are a little fresher.