These are "Reports from the Newsstand," my comments on the publications in our catalogue at We offer sample copies of our publications, not subscriptions. Each sample copy costs $2.59, well below newsstand cover prices (if the publication is available on your newsstand at all). A $2.00 shipping charge is added to each order. Publishers use to get their publications into the hands of potential subscribers.


Ed Rust, proprietor of, has worked in publishing in a variety of capacities for decades. He started as U.S. circulation director of the Financial Times "way back when they flew the papers into Kennedy Airport from London a day late." He most recently was managing editor of publications at the General Society, Sons of the Revolution.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

FIERY FOODS & BBQ: One Spicy Magazine

Am I glad that I don't hold down a boring job like photo editor of Playboy! I'd never have the time to review magazines like Fiery Foods & BBQ, which qualifies for the "died and gone to heaven" award for lovers of spicy foods.

Fiery Foods & BBQ is published bimonthly by Pioneer Communications in Des Moines, Iowa, an area more traditionally known for tuna casserole. But the magazine's heart is in the South and Southwest, as well as the Caribbean. Africa, Asia and anywhere hot chiles are lovingly grown, cut up and consumed.

The January/February issue, just into the newsstand, opens up with Nancy Gerlach's column, "Nancy's Fiery Fare." She devotes it to "sizzling sandwiches," and sandwiches are something that a low-level chef like me can appreciate.

She starts the column off with a history lesson. Although combinations of bread, meat and cheese can be traced back to Biblical times and the Middle Ages, the main credit should go to John Montague, the fourth Earl of Sandwich. This 18th century fop had what would today be called a "gambling problem" at his London gentleman's club, refusing to leave the gaming tables for lunch or dinner. Gerlach writes, "His valet would bring him snacks of meat and cheese between two pieces of bread so he could continue to play cards with one hand while eating with the other." Other dissolute types at the tables started asking for "Sandwiches," and the name stuck.

Gerlach gives us several pages of sandwich recipes that almost made me drool on the pages, potentially ruining a saleable sample magazine. I liked a grilled cheddar cheese and chile-marinated onion sandwich, to be cooked (carefully) on a barbecue grill. I loved a recipe for a muffuletta, a sandwich invented by a Sicilian grocer in New Orleans in 1906. Gerlach notes that "Muffulettas are hard to find outside of New Orleans, and everyone there closely guards their recipes." Her spicy version involves a pimiento-stuffed green olive salad containing such ingredients as celery, red bell peppers, wine vinegar, mashed anchovies, crushed red chiles and lemon juice, to be slathered on a sandwich with such main ingredients as Genoa salami, smoked ham and mozzarella cheese.

Next in the issue is the announcement of the winners of the 2007 Scovie awards, Fiery Foods & BBQ's annual hot foods competition. To start off this 12-page article, the magazine reports there were 742 entries in such categories as Barbecue Sauce American Style, Barbecue Sauce World Beat, Bloody Mary Beverages, Mustard Condiments, Salad Dressing Condiments, Meat-Required Marinades, Meat-Required Wing Sauce, Salsa Hot, Prepared Pasta Sauce and Prepared Stir-Fry Sauce. The entries are from tiny companies all over the country, some from abroad, and virtually all the winners have Internet addresses, obligingly supplied by the magazine, where their products can be ordered.

My favorite category was "Most Outrageous Label," which was won by Tijuana Flats Hot Foods in Longwood, Florida for a hot sauce named "Smack My Sweet Ass & Call Me Sally," although to my deep disappointment no photo of the label is supplied. The "Grand Prize Tasting" winner was the "Byron Bay Chilli Company Fiery Coconut Chilli with Curry & Ginger" from Australia, which the magazine calls "one of the world's truly unique sauces" for your barbecued chicken or salad.

There's an interesting profile of Jack Aronson, who founded his Garden Fresh Gourmet company at his struggling Detroit restaurant a decade ago. Garden Fresh now is one of the country's renowned makers of salsa, dips, chips and salad dressings, and is looking to go national through retailers like Costco and Kroger. Its entries won 13 of the 24 salsa categories in this year's Scovie awards.

An article examines the various festival foods of the nations in the Caribbean, noting that they're all subtly different and have been influenced by African, Indian, Chinese and European cuisines. The biggest influence, author Jessica McCurdy Crooks notes, is from Africa, so many dishes involve cassava, yam, bananas and jerk. Curry came from Indian laborers on the islands, and of course the environment furnishes lots of seafood and fruits.

There is trouble in paradise, however. Crooks reports that "One Trinidadian friend, when asked what Trinis eat during carnival, shouted out, 'KFC!'" She adds that Trinidad is indeed the Caribbean island with the distinction of consuming the most Kentucky Fried Chicken. But she then soothes our pain with recipes for such delicacies as Crab Callaloo, Jamaican Curry Goat and Trindadian Chicken Pelau.

In this issue of Fiery Foods & BBQ you'll also find an informative article on the intricacies of smoking meats (you can even use an ordinary Weber charcoal grill if you're especially vigilant) and another on Mexican mole sauces, which don't necessarily involve chocolate.

An annual subscription (six issues) to Fiery Foods & BBQ is for a limited time only $14.95 from the publisher through its Web site, We'll send you a sample copy for $2.59.

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home