While driving home this evening, I heard the news on NPR that Conde Nast is cancelling publication of Gourmet magazine. Are they crazy? The first food magazine in America, it was started in 1941. Admittedly, the 1990's were not the magazine's high point, but once Ruth Reichl was appointed editor, the class and substance returned. Ruth's Twitter was, reportedly, Along with Gourmet, the company is also cancelling 'Elegant Bride', 'Modern Bride' and the parenting magazine 'Cookie'. Couldn't they find some other equally vapid ones to eliminate? I can't stand it!
So many wonderful writers were first read by American cooks in the pages of Gourmet. Among them MFK Fisher, Samuel Chamberlain and Waverly Root. In its pages, one could read about exotic locales and foods not yet seen in our markets, nor heard of; the story behind the restaurants and chefs; where and how ingredients came to be and the wonderful recipes go without saying. I first started reading Gourmet when I was ten and dreamed of tasting various classic dishes as well as hoping to experience new tastes. I fantasized about traveling to destinations around the globe. Before my virgin tongue ever touched its first lick of wine, I was seduced by the bottles and descriptions. A nascent food fanatic was born. From pancakes to coq au vin to the gorgeous Christmas cookies, I'll miss its inspiration so much.
The American kitchen will be much the poorer with the disappearance of Gourmet.