Gourmet (the recession edition): Foodies cut costs

Three years ago I made a batch of "champagne brownies" that had been making the rounds of food blogs. I decided to go local, and buy all my ingredients from around Oregon; including the sparkling pinot noir and the Dacoba chocolate. My price tag for one pan of brownies came in around $60 (luckily, I had a little sparkling wine left over). My finished object, though it was so rich it was barely edible, was an image worthy of food mags.

Such were the heady times of 2006 and 2007. Remember the covers of Gourmet and Food & Wine ca. March 2006? A nattily dressed couple drinking cafe au lait and noshing on croissants avec chocolat in front of a European bakery window. In Food & Wine that month, a recipe for lobster udon noodles with bok choy was featured.

This March's magazines are... different

. On Gourmet's cover: a ham sandwich. Food & Wine's February 2009 edition sports butternut squash soup (I can make that for $2). On Bon Appetit for March: shepherd's pie (feed a family for $6, I can). '5 Amazing Pot Pies" reads a headline. Inside Food & Wine: tips on bringing your own wine to a restaurant, a classic way to save money while still living the good life.