Something amazing happened recently. It was one of those experiences that had me pinching myself to be sure it was real. One afternoon I headed across town to the wooded campus of Taunton Press and met the staff of Fine Cooking. It was a total dream come true to see the offices, talk with the editors, check out the photo studio and even sit in on a tasting of upcoming recipes for the Fine Cooking magazines and books.
Our first stop was to the “T” Room, which is Taunton’s cafeteria, and is known for their amazing food. While I didn’t eat while I was there, I happen to know their baker and she creates some amazing foods. There was this pumpkin streusel thing a few years ago that I still salivate over. I hear that the general public can eat there as well so a friend and I are hoping to pop in for lunch sometime soon.
Back to the visit … then we headed off to the offices where I met the wonderful editors who bring Fine Cooking to life. Seeing an issue displayed across Jennifer Armentrout’s wall (she’s the editor) reminded me of why I love print so much. There’s a certain magic and energy that comes with taking ideas and leading them to creation and actualizing them on pages.
Then we headed off to the kitchens and photo studio. Since Fine Cooking shoots photos in-house, they have lots of props for just about every set up and situation. I loved the vintage-y feel of their wooden container collection. And all those glass jars!
This is like cooking vessel heaven. Pretty much every size and shape vessel you’d ever want is waiting here … and on the other side (I didn’t capture a photo though!) were so many fabulous items for instant tabletop looks — like vintage doors and painted boards.
This wall of colored plates — organized by color, of course — excited me. Over the last few years, a lot of my clients have asked for plain white plates for photos and it makes sense — most foods look nice on white. But colored plates are so fun, and can add mood and feeling to photos — and I love that Fine Cooking mixes it up, using colors when it makes sense. Here’s to hoping that we see more colored plates and vessels in the future.
Fine Cooking has really embraced video, filming for the web and also creating a new TV show, Moveable Feast with Fine Cooking. This is their video studio where they film for the web. Love the white cabinets, copper pans and red (is that Candy Apple? I think so) KitchenAid mixer.
I also sat in on a tasting of recipes being developed for future magazines and books. While I don’t want to spill any secrets of upcoming delights, there is a to-die-for pizza that will be in Fine Cooking’s Make It Tonight section soon that you don’t want to miss.
As interesting as it was to see the offices, kitchens and studios, seeing the way the staff interacts was even more special. I heard them refer to themselves as a family more than once — and I have to say, that’s what it felt like there too. Seeing people who clearly get along so well, and work well together makes me love Fine Cooking even more than I already did.
And one more amazing thing … while I was there, I met Abby Dodge, a food writer and cookbook author. I know her both from online and from the amazing recipes she’s developed for Fine Cooking over the years — I swear, whenever I make a recipe and swoon, it’s most likely her creation. So naturally, I did what every professional meeting someone they have been cooking from for years would do. I squealed. Loudly. Like crazy fan-girl loud.
A little embarrassing? Absolutely. But also totally amazing.
Thanks to Fine Cooking for letting me crash your recipe testing and check out the workspace. It was unforgettable.
Sarah Walker Caron is a cookbook author, freelance writer and founder of Sarah’s Cucina Bella. She is the author of four cookbooks including The Super Easy 5-Ingredient Cookbook and One-Pot Pasta, both from Rockridge Press. A single mother to a tween and a teen, Sarah loves nightly family dinners, juicy tomatoes plucked fresh from the vine and lazy days on the beach. She also adores reading and traveling.