something on the back-burner
Last Monday, much to everyone’s surprise, Conde Nast announced that it was shutting down Gourmet magazine.
I don’t really know what to say about this because I have written and rewritten my thoughts on this over and over. I thought how ironic it was that my last recipe and the next one are both recipes from the October issue. I never found the magazine boring or stale – it always offered me recipes I wanted to try.
By now, we’re all read about a dozen op/ed pieces on Gourmet’s demise and its unexpected shutdown. I don’t think I can say anything really substantive other than it was more than just a magazine for those of us who subscribed and couldn’t wait for the next issue to arrive in the mail. It wasn’t just a publication, telling us how to sear scallops, or make delicate genoise, or raise awareness about the plight of tomato workers.
Gourmet, to me at least, was something iconic – the very first magazine I subscribed to at the age of 14. Gourmet is my time-capsule; it holds my memories, my transition to college, and to a college graduate. I’ve cooked many a Thanksgiving dinner armed with nothing more than a trusty Gourmet at my side. And while we could :talk about ad revenue and costs for days on end, I guarantee you this: not one of the McKinsey consultants who made this recommendation had a subscription to the magazine. Nor did they read issue after issue, saving recipes, clipping meaningful articles, discussing the content with friends. To try and sum up Gourmet’s importance on its readers, the food community and general history (of how we eat, live, think, dream – because it was a reflection of that too and so much can be gleaned about a people, a nation, from its eating habits) would be like trying to sum up someone in an elegy. You just cannot. Gourmet’s impact on my life cannot be described or measured. It simply was. And I’ll treasure it forever.
Well – a few friends and I were so dismayed by the shuttering of the magazine, that a couple of folks and I have decided put something together – a cooking and writing project, so to speak, to honor Gourmet’s 68 year legacy. Certainly, a publisher can shut down magazines, fire its staff and deprive us of getting that glossy in the mail. But – they can’t stop us from cooking; and they can’t stop us from keeping Gourmet’s memory and spirit alive. They can kick us out of their offices, but they can’t kick us out of our kitchens.
If you’re curious to know more, or to get involved, shoot me an email (on my About page) and I’ll add you to the distribution list. While this isn’t a resurrection per se, consider it an homage, a way for us to all come together and celebrate something we all loved and will continue to relish.