I have been putting off writing this article for a couple weeks now – not solely because I’m a perpetual procrastinator but because just thinking about the topic depresses me. The end of an era has finally come – “Gourmet: The Magazine of Good Living” has published it’s final issue this month. Conde Naste Publishing announced October 5th, that it has pulled the plug on this culinary staple since 1941. Gourmet did not just reflect American food culture, it was American food culture.
I have been a subscriber of Gourmet since I left for college 12 years ago and had been reading my mother’s issues on a religious basis for as long as I can remember. Every time I move to a new place, I curse those boxes filled with past issues that follow me everywhere I live – yet I’m incapable of ridding myself of them. I credit this magazine not only for my love for cooking, but also my love for dining and travel. This magazine has always been about so much more than food.
Since 1999, Ruth Reichl was Gourmet’s Editor in Chief. This former New York Times Food Critic (aka The Enemy to Chefs and Restaurateurs, but not Ruth) and honored cookbook author brought this great magazine into the 21st century. She developed its on-line presence (www.gourmet.com) and launched it further into the realm of TV and book publishing. Ruth was a steward of righteousness in the food world; she brought issues of the culture and politics of food to the forefront of public conversation. It was Ruth that introduced me to the Slow Foods Movement (www.slowfoods.org), the topic of the safety of the American food supply, and abuses of the laborers that produce and deliver the food we Americans seemingly take for granted. There were no puff pieces written in the pages of Gourmet. A friend of mine once referred to it as the 60 Minutes of the food world – I think Bek nailed it with that assertion! Gourmet was also responsible for the explosionof the Molecular Gastronomy (cooking with science) and the “Locavore” (eating food grown and produced at the local level) Movements onto the American stage. It was in these pages that we foodies found the rising stars of the culinary world, where the best and innovative restaurants were sprouting up across the world, how to create our favorite comfort foods with unique twists, and inspiring people around the world to try to replicate the incredible photos that have graced their pages since for 68 years.
It is only fitting that Gourmet’s last issue would be the famed Thanksgiving edition that has inspired so many culinary triumphs and disasters in our home kitchens over the decades. Thanks for everything!