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Reviewed by: Christine Oka, Research & Instruction Services, Northeastern University Libraries, Boston, MA
King Arthur Flour, “America’s oldest flour company,” was founded in 1790” and 225 years later, is the publisher of Sift Magazine. The premiere issue is filled with recipes accompanied by mouth-watering pictures for breads, desserts and other goodies. What makes this magazine stand out is the additional content reflecting the King Arthur Flour brand. The company was founded “to provide pure, high-quality flour” and continues to offer “everything from top-quality baking products to inspiring educational programs--all backed by the passion and commitment of our dedicated employee-owners.” Magazine publishing is a new venture for King Arthur Flour, but all aspects of flour, food and cooking are joyously covered in this issue.
The Editor’s Note states the magazine aims “to captivate” readers ranging from the “armchair foodie”, to the active baker “elbow-deep in flour.“ Columns offer advice for all levels of baking experience on trends, techniques, and nifty kitchen tools. “Since You Asked” answers basic questions such as, “How can 1 cup of flour weigh 4 ½ ounces? I thought 1 cup was 8 ounces!” to offering more advanced information on “Why did my gluten-free chocolate chip cookies crumble and fall apart?” The column invites questions via e-mail, but also suggests, “If you need help right away, contact the Baker’s Hotline toll-free. . . . “ Education is a big part of the King Arthur Flour brand; in addition to “The List” of book and app reviews, there’s “Techniques” column, this time a tutorial on how to assemble and frost a layer cake. I now know why my cakes were always lopsided!
Feature articles include “Sandwich City” a food travelogue of four cities: Chicago’s Italian-style beef sandwich, New Orleans and the po’boy, Los Angeles street food, the Torta Cubano, and Philadelphia’s new trending roast pork sandwich. Yes, it was surprising not to see the “Philly cheesesteak” but as the author noted, a “mix of thinly sliced, slow-roasted pork, sauced with jus, adorned with sautéed greens (broccoli rabe or spinach), provolone cheese, and pickled or roasted hot peppers” . . . “made me seriously regret the years I had spent indulging only in ‘Whiz wit’ cheesesteaks.” International flavors were covered in “Entertaining: At the Middle Eastern Table” from cocktail and mezze, main dishes and desserts. More flavors are highlighted in “Spotlight on Citrus” with recipes, special tools and techniques and “Fire, Steam and Sugar” about the maple sugaring tradition in Vermont. There’s also an article on “Special Diet: Gluten Free Grows Up’ with recipes.
Sift Magazine examines the links between food and the living well, such as learning a new skill in ”Braving Bread from Scratch” or “Simple Pleasures” easy and quick recipes such as 2-ingredient Biscuits or Beer Crust Pizza Dough; every cook needs “recipes that take the pressure off.” An article reflecting on ways food improves quality of life is “On the Road: Los Angeles” the story of Homeboy Bakery, an employment program of “baking with a purpose” to help former gang members become productive members of society. A link to more from Chef Herb, director of the bakery, and his Homeboy crew is available at http://www.kingarthurflour.com/shop/VideoHome.
As King Arthur Flour is a certified B Corporation (see http://www.bcorporation.net/what-are-b-corps), meeting standards for transparency as well as social and environmental good, their webpage informs us the premier issue is Spring 2015, and the next one, Fall 2015, is expected in August. The King Arthur Flour website also provides this information--Sift Magazine is available for purchase per issue, rather than in subscription format. As a fan commented on their blog--this publishing model has no advertisements or subscriptions, it’s a “bookazine.” Public and special libraries with interested users may have the flexibility to acquire issues using demand-driven acquisition modules.