This Well-Known Food Magazine Started As A Playboy Column

In December of 1953, Playboy launched its first issue featuring the iconic Marilyn Monroe as the magazine's first cover girl. Founded by Hugh Hefner at Northwestern University, the inaugural issue sold out its 50,000 copies shortly after the launch. Because, duh, who doesn't love Marilyn?!

Using the brand as a vehicle, Hugh Hefner went on to operate a chain of Playboy Nightclubs from 1960 to 1986 (per Encylopedia of Chicago). One year prior to his nightclub endeavor in 1959 Hefner founded the famous Playboy Mansion which quickly became a sexy, exclusive destination crawling with Playboy models, celebrities, and exotic animals all the way up until it was sold in 2016 (per Fancy Pants Homes).

The Playboy brand has long been synonymous with explicit nudity and unrestrained sexuality. To this day, PBS reports that over 82% of their readers are men and 50% of them are between the ages of 18-34 years old. It goes without saying that Playboy is not exactly what comes to mind when you think of your mom's favorite food magazine. However, one popular food magazine found its start as an insert in Playboy Magazine.

Food & Wine Magazine started as a Playboy insert

Aligning with its core demographic's insatiable desire for luxury, whether it was women, parties, or cuisine, Food & Wine Magazine founders Robert and Lindy Kenyon, Michael and Ariane Batterberry, and Peter Jones partnered with Hugh Hefner and Playboy to tease the official launch of Food & Wine in 1978 (per Food & Wine).

According to Food & Wine, the publication's five founders searched for investors for seven years before Hefner saw its promise and launched the magazine inside of a Playboy print as an 18-page insert — think of a magazine inside of a magazine. Marketed as a way for Playboy readers to indulge in the luxuries of high-end fine dining, the Food & Wine sampler covered topics including the best way to enjoy tapas, California wine trends, and an essay titled, "The Dinner to Kill Rasputin."

Today, Food & Wine Magazine is a standalone publication operated by Time Inc. and blazes trails as one of the most prominent food and beverage trendsetters. Although you couldn't (and probably shouldn't) imagine your mother picking up a copy of Playboy to find her next dinner party recipe, she can thank Hugh Hefner for helping Food & Wine find its footing.