Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Saying good-bye and au revior to my old friend Gourmet


I was very sad to read Conde-Nast’s announcement that it would cease publication of Gourmet magazine after the November issue. I’ve read with great interest the recent stories written by people in the food world and their various opinions as to why a nearly seventy year old publication such as Gourmet would fold. While some have had controversial opinions that stirred up a bit of backlash and name calling on the internet, others reminisced about what made Gourmet what it was and those were a joy to read.

As my way of saying good-bye, I’ve included some favorite covers from my Gourmet collection.


The New York Times reported that one of the first things Gourmet’s editor in chief Ruth Reichl did after telling her staff that the publisher was closing Gourmet was to lock up the library with its collection of 70 years of cookbooks and typewritten recipes. Then she and her staff gathered bottles of wine and liquor from the office and held a wake in her apartment. Good for you Ruth. I hope you opened the good stuff.

The article went on the say that for an older generation it was a place where people learned how to cook and eat. “Gourmet was the only resource you had other than your cookbooks,” said Judy Walker, the food editor of New Orleans Times-Picayune. So true Judy. Gourmet was the first food magazine I subscribed to and we had to rely on our cookbooks. I learned my knife skills from the black and white drawings in Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking, one of my favorite cookbooks.


I don’t know if or when the lights will go out on Gourmet’s website or their archives after the transitional period, but here’s what they say: “The Gourmet.com website will remain available during a transitional period and access to Gourmet recipes will also remain available via sister site epicurious.com and the EPI Iphone application.”

I suggest you pop over to Gourmet’s Archives while you still can, because the archives contain a lot of good articles you won’t want to miss.


For example, Jacques Pepin’s tells Gourmet everything he ate and drank in a 24 hour period: “I love English muffins, so sometimes I’ll have half an English muffin with some jam that I might make, but that’s the most I would ever do for breakfast. [The voice of his wife, Gloria, in the background: “Corn flakes!”] Oh yes, I love corn flakes. I have them sometimes for lunch, but I haven’t had them in a long time.” Read more….

Or how about a charming story from Wolfgang Punk when he talks about fixing his children breakfast: “I have two small sons, Oliver and Alexander. One is four and one is two and a half. They come into our bedroom in the morning and say, “Papa, let’s make pancakes.” So I make pancakes and oatmeal for the kids. The little one prefers oatmeal most of the time and Oliver, the older one, eats pancakes.” Read more


Laura Shapiro writes about what happened to James Beard: “Food lovers everywhere recognize his name, thanks to the James Beard Foundation and its well-publicized annual awards. But apart from the awards, usually given out around the time of his birthday, Beard has pretty much disappeared. He was a colossus in American cookery, and now he’s barely a memory. What happened?” Read more

Can you name the twenty-five people who have changed food in America? It's in the Archives.


Good-bye old friend. I’ll miss you.

32 comments:

  1. I will miss them too. The world is changing a little too fast for me right now! Your post was a very nice tribute. Thanks!

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  2. Sad to see them close! Such an icon in the food world.

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  3. Excellent information in this post but sad news.

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  4. This is a nice way to remember this wonderful magazine. They always displayed the best photos!

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  5. Your post is a beautiful tribute, Sam. I've looked forward to receiving Gourmet in my mail box my entire adult life. I'm sad to see it go.

    Thanks for the archives link. I have the feeling I'll be spending a lot of time there tracking down old favorites.

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  6. I feel so bad to hear that Gourmet Magazine is ceasing publication. I will definately miss it...it was one of my favorite magazines. Oh well...

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  7. For some unknown reason, we never "got" into Gourmet magazine. Bought it several times throughout the years, but always loved "Bon Appetit" a lot more. Have subscribed to B.A. for almost 30 years. It's like all magazines, you like the layout of a particular one, and then just stick with it because it is there every month. I will check out the archives though. Thanks for that link.

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  8. Sam, You know already what I think about losing Gourmet. It has been a tearful tragedy in my house. I have a collection dating to the 60's in my bookcase. In many ways it is what I am all about. Thanks for your wonderful tribute. I know that you understand.

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  9. Oh! What a lovely post Sam :) I love looking back at some of the old covers and I actually sit here with watery eyes...

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  10. I was not a fan but there was some good recipes in Gourmet. Sad to see this mag gone.

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  11. What a lovely, bittersweet tribute. You said it all.

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  12. I loved looking through the old covers, thanks for sharing those pictures! It is definitely unfortunate that Gourmet is not going to be around anymore.

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  13. I have never seen or read these books, but it must have been good if I see ap much sadness on the blogs because they are closing!!!!

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  14. I haven't had access to Gourmet except through the internet for almost 9 years. I still miss it. But I always knew it was there, and if I went to the US I could buy it (subscribe from Europe was toootooo expensive!) Now I'm missing it all over again.

    Thanks for this lovely post.

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  15. Great tribute, Sam. It is hard to lose an "old friend."

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  16. A lovely tribute!

    The covers were so amazing. I love the one with the popsicles!

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  17. It truly is like saying goodbye to an old friend. Such a history.

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  18. It's sad to see them go. Great collection of covers.

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  19. I will also miss Gourmet! I have many issues saved which I will now treasure. The world is certainly changing and I fear the demise of more excellent publications in the near future.

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  20. I just knew about this... sad news :'(

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  21. What a lovely post. It really is sad to see the magazine close.

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  22. This really is a tragedy. That was a fabulous magazine.

    When I was in high school, my boyfriend's mother who's a very, very talented artist, had a very chic breakfast room that was papered in Gourmet covers... everyone loved it! I know she will be distraught over this.

    I can remember when Mr. Magpie and I drove through Connecticut and ate at numerous places recommended in an article. We had the best food ever, and we might have missed some of the places otherwise.

    Yes, I'm sad about this and about so many other great magazines that are closing their doors.

    Thanks for the walk down Memory Lane. I pray their website stays up and running...

    XO,

    Sheila :-)

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  23. What a shame this magazine is going to discontinue~I will really miss reading it. It is a classic!!

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  24. This was probably the saddest news I've gotten in a long time, and even looking at these lovely covers makes me wistful. How can this be? Gourmet was that place where food and language were the perfect recipe. The food world will never be the same.

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  25. That is a pity for you & all of the American & Canadian readers,..

    Now, your old magazines are so important to you & enjoy them to the fullest!

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  26. It's always sad to have an old standby go by the way side. Sure makes the issues you have collected over the years that much more important. I've enjoyed your blog with your great recipies and pictures so much. I hope you'll accept an Award from CollectInTexas Gal which I've posted today. Come on over and see, and I'll see you for Pink Saturday....Sue

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  27. I have just throuwn away a few issues I had ...

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  28. Like your post...nice tribute to the magazine. Indeed it is very sad...

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  29. What a truly lovely post. Such a wonderful magazine. I have many "keepers" from them. So nice to share your favorite issues.

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Sam