The new La Cucina Italiana magazine

So, something cool happened: La Cucina Italiana magazine got a makeover. It’s gorgeous, and this delights me for a couple of reasons…

When I moved to Italy in 2013, Italian magazines played a lead role in my adjustment to expat life.  I’ve always been a magazine junkie, so I found comfort in reading glossies printed in the language I was learning. (This hasn’t changed…I still adore Italian magazines!)

If you know me, it should come as no surprise that I loved, loved, loved the (now dearly departed) American version of La Cucina Italiana magazine, and there I was living in the country that birthed the original in 1929.  I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a copy here!  However, when I did, it was anticlimactic and a bit underwhelming. I mean, Italian wasn’t my mother tongue, but I found it be (dare I say this?) staid and almost out of touch. It was just missing that je ne sais quoi and it didn’t resonate with me. Sorry, I usually don’t like to be negative and I really don’t mean to offend anyone, but that’s really how I felt!

Sure you can blame this on the language barrier, but I really don’t think that was it.  With the exception of the five DuoLingo beginner lessons prior to my recent Vienna trip, I can’t speak or read German. Even though the display captions at the Literature Museum were written in German, it still resonated with me as a whole. (Being that it was a literature museum, you could imagine the content was much meatier than Ich bin eine frau or Ich Heisse Jaclyn.) Yes, they gave me an iPad on which I could read the English translations, but I hardly used it as I felt it pulled me out of the experience as a whole. Even though I couldn’t literally understand the text, I still “got it”, ya know? Anyhoo, I digress…

So, after that first issue, I bought the next two issues of La Cucina Italiana magazine, but, again, they never resonated with me, so it wasn’t one of my Italian magazine regulars save for the occasional issue with the eye-catching cover.

Vanity Fair Italia, however, I lived for, the food section in particular.  Vanity Fair was my favorite American magazine, so of course, I was drawn to the weekly Italian version, which was a little different from the American version. I bought it every week! The food-dedicated pages always featured a recipe from an Italian chef and I loved the insight those pages gave me into Italy’s food scene as a whole.

Last year, the beignet Christmas tree on the cover of the Christmas issue of La Cucina Italiana caught my eye so I bought it, and as I leafed through it, I couldn’t believe it. The first thing I thought was a regime change! I know you can say that I had a stronger grasp on Italian one year ago than five years ago, but again, it wasn’t a language thing! The aesthetic as a whole was more gripping. I do want to add, though, that I’ve always been quite fond of the web content, and having perused the site somewhat regularly.  Not only is it a top recipe authority, but there are some solid inspiring stories about people, places and food that not only inspire me to get eating or traveling, but also to get writing.

So, a few weeks ago, I got an invite to an event at La Cucina Italiana HQ but alas, I couldn’t make it because of a work commitment. The purpose was to unveil the new look of La Cucina Italiana magazine, which has been under the tutelage of Maddalena Fossati, former food editor of Vanity Fair, for the last five months.

La Cucina Italiana magazine cover
The cover of the new issue

I picked up a copy of the first new issue at the edicola on Via Principe Eugenio, and dived into it as soon as I got home. Have to say, it’s a beauty! The cover features a luscious looking red velvet ciambella, surrounded by all sorts of Christmas decor loveliness, which complement the ciambella without taking away from it.  There are two in-depth gourmet travel stories of my beloved Milan as well as Rome (where I lived for a year before moving to Milan), and reading about these cities just simply made my heart sing.

The December issue also features 150  Christmas gift ideas for every type of food lover, which are kind of killing me as I should be thinking about what I want to buy for other people and not how I want other people to buy these gifts for me! One of my favorite features, which seems relatively new (it’s also in the November issue) is the Menu on the last page…a super thoughtful compilation of recipes found in the magazine, sorted by the type of occasion for which they’d be suitable (i.e. Brunch, Cold Winter Night, etc.) and what page they’re on.

Not only was I completely enamored with everything about the magazine, but for the first time, the magazine has made me excited to cook. So I’m planning to do just that. I’m going to make something from each upcoming issue and write about it here on my blog. Starting in January because I have too much on my plate (pun intended!) before I leave for New York in two weeks.

And speaking of my dear hometown, the year before I moved to Italy, I worked NoMad in New York, which is owned and operated by Eleven Madison Park’s Will Guidara and Daniel Humm, and I remember they often cited the following William de Kooning quote: I have to change to stay the same. 

It seems La Cucina Italiana magazine did just that. And quite wonderfully, I should add, giving it that je ne sais quoi. Can’t wait to see the next one!


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