The Beginning

Dinner:  October 5, 2009

Yesterday’s news about the demise of Gourmet magazine left plenty of folks feeling nostalgic, myself included. While I had allowed my subscription to lapse earlier this year, one of many things we’ve had to give up since becoming a one-income household, I continued to purchase as many issues as I could at the newsstand, and was always struck by the quality of the writing as well as the beauty of the photos. It was inspiring, plain and simple, and I’m sad to see it go.

So while people all around the internet thought back yesterday to what Gourmet meant to them, how it influenced them, and how best to celebrate it, I thought back to how all of this started, how I came to be a girl who pored through food magazines and cookbooks like some pore through comics or mystery novels. As an 11 year old girl standing at a stove in a little brick house on the east side of Detroit, making onion soup from scratch for the very first time – not from a recipe, but from the memory of a bowl of soup I had at a restaurant and wanted desperately to recreate – I never would have dreamed that some day I’d be sharing so many meals with so many people.

Saying goodbye to Gourmet feels like saying goodbye to an old friend, but it feels like we’re entering into an exciting time for food and media. I’ve had a tremendous number of new and new-to-me blogs and websites and people turn up on my radar over the last few months, and it feels like as that part of my world has grown bigger, it has in many ways gotten more intimate. I’ve said it time and again – food brings people together. I am forever grateful for Gourmet and to all who contributed to it for showing me the possibilities that existed beyond the food and food culture of my youth, but I look forward to seeing where inspiration will come from next.

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12 thoughts on “The Beginning

  1. It’s a sad, scary time to work in media.

    I totally agree with you – it might not have been the best book on the market but it always LOOKED sharp. I loved the photography so much. Saveur, for me, is in a distant first place spot when it comes to the story telling and the real love and passion for food, but Bon Ap and Gourmet always had their place and provided constant inspiration. Equally sad to see this one join Domino and Portfolio and Cookie and …

  2. Very nicely put.
    Gourmet magazine was the first publication I read in English – I still remember struggling with the language, but fascinated by the articles, photos, recipes.

    I am having a hard time accepting it will be history, even though I am now a loyal subscriber of Fine Cooking and Cucina Italiana (a very nice magazine that does not seem to be very popular…)

  3. Julie says:

    I did a double take when I opened the page because I made almost the exact same dinner last night- hope you enjoyed it as much as we did!!!

  4. you are way nicer about this than i am – i am still in my angry phase… not yet at acceptance. i’m honestly pissed off by this decision. i think putting bon appetit in the same category as gourmet is just plain wrong. it wasn’t saveur or la cucina italiana but it was a very, very close third. it still was able to inspire me and introduce me to new places and ingredients. i will really miss it. you never know, there’s chance it’ll be back – it has such a huge following.

  5. Beautifully said.

    But I’m with WANF — I’m still pissed at McKinsey and their minions for doing this to Ruth and her crew. (They did it to me, once upon a time, so I know exactly how overpaid and overconfident they can be.) It’s yet another case of the worst competitor winning the battle, which is becoming all to prevalent in media. The only consolation is that Bon App is still not out of the woods.

    Who knows, Condé brought back Home & Garden, which they killed off once upon a time. But they’ll never be able to reassemble the magic team they had last week. That much is done.

  6. There’s something so relaxing and decadent about flipping through glossy pages to get my culinary reading and food porn fix. The photo quality is unmatched… certainly Bon Appetit is a number of steps down. What will I take with me to my lake cabin, when I’m off of the power grid?! My habit has always been to stuff my suitcase with Gourmet issues, and take my time with them (and a glass of sangria).

    You’re right… this is like losing an old friend… only it feels more sudden than having a chance to say goodbye.

  7. I think in a lot of ways what I’ll miss about Gourmet is the aspirational aspect. What do I have to shoot for in my humble Brooklyn kitchen now? Saveur is out of my league. BonAp has a lot of things that I could make any night of the week. But Gourmet…..was exactly what I needed when I needed to be better than I am.

    Also, I wanted to thank you for your advice re:RanchoGordo beans from a few posts ago. I ended up going with Great Northern beans, because my father reminded me that Boston Baked Bean recipes are gospel, and not to be fussed around with or fancied up.
    But soon…. those fancy fellas are mine. :)

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