Nothing is easier than giving a magazine subscription and often it is the introduction to new and enjoyable reading, as my husband found when his parents began giving him Invention and Technology.
I would recommend:
As Chow tells you themselves, they put the fun back into food. I have never cooked a recipe from this magazine but it is consistently entertaining and informative.
Fine Cooking's articles are all done by chefs, cookbook authors and the like. However, they still are very practical and useful. I particularly like when they will do a master recipe such as for baked pasta, giving a basic formula and then provide various examples as to how to change it up.
Cook's Illustrated is well known for testing every recipe over and over and over. Undeniably it does get good results. However, Christopher Kimball annoys the heck outta me and I really dislike their habit of putting extra recipes on their website with limited access. Most of the time by the time I get around to remembering to look for that great sounding variation the time limit has expired. However, it is a reliable publication. You can trust their recipes to do what they say.
Cooking Light really does have recipes that taste like good food while being healthier ... except that I always have to add more salt. Their editorial content has been getting better and better also. For example, the December issue had a feature about other cultures with holidays in December and it was fascinating because I hadn't heard of over half of them. They also had an article about the process they go through to get an issue ready, including recommendations for their preferred food publications. Now that's something you don't see every day.