Friday, October 9, 2009

Gourmet Magazine Shut Down

While nursing a cold this week (hence the lack of posts, will catch up over the next few days), I read with great sadness that Gourmet magazine was shuttered, toasted, thrown away like yesterday’s coffee grinds. The oldest food magazine in America, the intelligently written and lushly photographed Gourmet challenged and inspired home chefs such as myself to expand our recipe repertoire.

Having been a magazine editor for much of my career I understood the economics of the decision: Advertising pages had plummeted 50 percent and magazines are expensive to run and produce. It’s beyond ironic that last week I wrote in this blog I wished I could have the job of one of their recipe testers. Gourmet tested recipes a whopping 12 times before publishing them, which in itself points to the expense of creating such a high-quality magazine.

The other irony was I had just met Gourmet’s editor Ruth Reichl for the first time while she was in the Bay Area promoting her new book Gourmet Today (see post: Goat Cheese and Ratatouille Salad with Pesto Vinaigrette). I dutifully lined up with everyone else and got my autographed copy of the hefty tome. 

Reichl gave absolutely no indication something might be amiss. And is turns out little did she know she was about to be out of a job. The only good news is Reichl plans to write a book about her 12 years at Conde Nast, publisher of such esteemed titles as The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, and Vogue. Run by the visionary and infamously tough publishing baron S.I, Newhouse, and home to superstar editors such as Anna Wintour and Graydon Carter, this book will no doubt be really juicy. I can’t wait!

If you are not familiar with Reichl’s memoirs, be sure to pick up a copy of any one of them: Tender to the Bone: Growing up at the Table, Comfort Me with Apples: More Adventures at the Table, and Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise. Wonderfully written, funny and touching, the books are all tasty treats (recipes included). My personal favorite is Tender to the Bone.

I have just begun to dig into Gourmet Today and will write about the recipes I try in upcoming blog posts.

R.I.P. Gourmet. You will be missed!

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