Cooking Light

Review by Patti Wetli

Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free? Why indeed. Having just dropped an affirmative Cooking Light subscription reply card in the mail, I began to doubt such an irrational act. The magazine, after all, has a web site fully loaded with conten t for all the world to see floating out there free in cyberspace (if you don't count access charges). What had I done?

A visit to the magazine's web site went a long way toward KOing my bout with self- recrimination. True, the site offers plenty of the recipes and hints for healthy living readers have come to expect from Cooking Light. "Real foods...should still be the an chor of our diets" was perhaps the best tidbit of advice gleaned from a report on a staff field trip to Proctor & Gamble's Olestra hideout.

But there was plenty of other superfluous information that left my fingers itching to flip a few pages. "The store" section featured--surprise--a mechanism for ordering Cooking Light cookbooks and merchandise. Can you have too many t-shirts, mugs, new age teakettles? We think so.

A feature on staff members proved extremely cumbersome and tiresome. If you really want to know that on-line editor Sherry Stokes has a "supercool" three-year-old daughter named Holly, more power to you. And more patience too--you have to click on each st aff member individually to attain such vital biographical nuggets.

Even the recipes suffered in cyberspace--no pictures. Bon Appetit's has so many, it takes a half hour to scroll through one recipe; perhaps we could reach a happy medium. Sour grapes on my part? Perhaps. But I'll take my Cooking Light the old fashioned wa y. I'll read the hard copy.

Patty Wetli is a Chicago-based writer and editor. She's written on a variety of topics from historic cathedrals to telecommunications legislation. Web site reviews give her a legitimate excuse to pursue one of her favorite interests--food --the other, ironically, being an obsession with physical fitness.

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