Alright, so I'm a little behind in my reading. But, when I glanced a recent issue of Cooking Light, I noticed that there seemed to be fewer vegetarian recipes than usual. And, I couldn't seemed to find the "Inspired Vegetarian" section of the magazine, highlighting vegetarian recipes from a particular chef, cookbook author or region of the world. Upon closer inspection, I noticed that the October issue included only three vegetarian main dish recipes. And, it appears that the magazine has stopped running the Inspired Vegetarian section entirely.
What the heck?!?
I started subscribing to Cooking Light about seven years ago, after picking up a roommate's copy and noticing that, in addition to offering a vegetarian section, veg recipes were integrated throughout the magazine. I liked that the magazine made vegetarian food accessible to everyone, and sent a message that vegetarian cooking was part of a healthy lifestyle. Even better, the recipes worked. And so, for the past seven years, I've been happily reading each issue, and compiling a binder full of favorite vegetarian recipes from the magazine
Going back through my stack of old Cooking Lights, it looks like the change began a couple of months ago, with the omission of the Inspired Vegetarian section in the August issue. I didn't notice at first, in part because I was busy, and in part because the magazine still featured a number of vegetarian options. But, in October, the number of vegetarian meals (by which I mean "main dishes," soups, sandwiches and pastas) dropped significantly. While the October 2007 issue of Cooking Light offered at least eight vegetarian meals, the October 2008 issue offered only three.
I would be less annoyed that Cooking Light dropped its Inspired Vegetarian section if number of vegetarian meals throughout the magazine remained the same. But I can't understand why the magazine would both get rid of its vegetarian section and reduce the number of overall vegetarian recipes. A number of meat eaters that I know eat at least one vegetarian meal each week. It seems especially odd to limit vegetarian recipes at a time when the cost of food is rising, and meatless meals are often less expensive.
Odder still, the March 2008 edition of Inspired Vegetarian (highlighting veg recipes with a Malaysian theme) promised that "future stops on our 2008 global vegetarian cuisine tour will include Spain's Catalonia region, India, Venezuela, Guadalupe, Germany, and Northern California." Clearly, future editions were in the works. Why cut the "tour" short before it was completed? (One unlikely conspiracy theory: retribution for highlighting the food of politically-unpopular Venezuela in the June 2008 issue...)
For now, I'm hoping that October was an anomaly, and that the number of vegetarian meal ideas in future issues will increase. If the trend continues, though, my subscription to Cooking Light will probably end.
Update: Inspired Vegetarian is back in the December 2008 issue of Cooking Light, with a look at Ethiopian recipes.