05 October 2009

Gourmet, R.I.P.

I was on my third cup of tea this morning when this arrived in my inbox: insanity.


I know nothing is safe, or even really sacred, in today's world. But the shuttering of such a culinary bible makes the stinging slap of this recession feel fresh. I'm stunned, hand to cheek, as I look through the September issue, which is one of the most gorgeous publications I've ever seen- and I read a lot of food magazines.

The only fitting tribute is to make something from its lush pages, photograph it, and then eat it. And I will, as soon as I sort through the 20 recipes I marked.

Are digital media- like this very blog- in part to blame for the demise of print? I'd certainly like to think not. The immediacy of the web is appealing, but how can anything compare to holding an affordable piece of art, like Gourmet, in hand, and gently paging through spread after luscious spread? Seeing it on screen just isn't the same.

This is such a blow to the entire food world, and right now, the only constructive spin is that there's going to be a gaping void needing to be filled. But to follow the loss of such a reigning authority, it's going to have to be something superlative.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

As someone who used to work for Condé Nast, I'd say it's not digital media that caused the closing of this magazine but instead the company's hubris. They continued to spend money like drunken sailors on shore leave, frittering away their capital on ridiculous start ups right into the worst recession in several generations. Portfolio? Cookie? Give me a break. Not to mention the fleets of town cars out in front of the building every day and Anna Wintour's $200,000 clothing allowance. They're currently paying a consulting company millions of dollars to tell them the obvious: they waste money. And now, a magazine that was actually GOOD, and beautiful and singular has to shut down. It's a shame.

avra romanowitz said...

it saddens me that something that gives you such pleasure and delight will be no longer.

i was at an interesting book store in arizona on saturday. they sold back issues of seemingly every magazine available. while it initially struck me as strange, i thumbed through some older mags (sometimes enjoying the old ads more than the older editorial content) and then began to appreciate why some might be into this.

does this mean you'll need to start collecting the old issues? (and...to bad i didn't pick up a couple of oldie-but-goodies for you!)

Donalyn said...

I was equally shocked by the news today, but like anonymous above, I am skeptical as to why. It is not the first Conde Nast mag to go under recently and if what anon says is true, it likely won't be the last. Hard to belive that no one will try to ressurect such an iconic publication.

the dabble said...

I guess it was between Gourmet and Bon Appetit- most thought it would be Bon Appetit to go. I was in agreement with Gourmet although I enjoyed the publication and it has been around since the 1940's, thus deserving its moment of silence. I was sad to see Domino go and also upset about this.

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Ciao Chow Linda said...

It is really surprising that Gourmet would be the magazine, rather than Bon Appetit. Gourmet is such an icon, such a beautifully produced magazine and it will be missed. I like your idea of honoring the magazine by cooking something from it. If only that would bring it back.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if the reason they closed Gourmet and not Bon Appetite is because Bon Appetite is a more generalized magazine and Gourmet was more high-end and arty? The thinking being, Bon App is going to appeal to a wider audience while Gourmet is more niche. No matter, it's sad. I could look at the pictures in Gourmet and not cook a thing and be happy. Sorry to see it go.

Anonymous said...

You would have to have experienced the early years of Gourmet to appreciate the travesty it has become. Not only was it badly dumbed down as to food and travel articles but they, at the same time, tarted up the "special" issues with hotels, spas, restaurants, etc. which most of us would never have either the time or income to experience. They deserved to fail; get hold of some of the 60s and even earlier issues and enjoy. The clue is stapled issues without a boxed back.

thekitchenette said...

I agree with Anon2 in that Bon Appetit appeals to a more generalized audience (more of the stay-at-home-mom-chef, as I see it), but that is exactly why I think Gourmet shouldn't have been the one to get the axe - how many other food magazines out there have recipes for the I-need-dinner-on-the-table-in-15-minutes-home cook? But Gourmet posts recipes for methods you've never used, ingredients you must search high and low to find, within cuisines you've never tasted. It was the one magazine that was fearless to post what others would not.

Liz said...

My mother has bound copies of Gourmet by decade going back to the first edition. I've had a subscription for over 20 years, but never bothered to save them because mom did :) I will miss it.

Sandie said...

I agree with one of the anonymous comments, about Gourmet not being the magazine it once was. Perhaps Bon Appetit had a larger readership, and thus it was saved. As to the way Conde Nast operates its business and finances, this is a facet to which I can only speculate. That said, while it's sad to see such a long-standing publication go, it also open the door for new, more solvent contenders.

Anonymous said...

From Liz's Mom. Yes I have
saved and savored my back issues of Gourmet. They are beautiful, the recipes are unique and the photography is beautiful.
I still looked forward to my monthly copy, quickly leafing through to find new recipes to try and wishing I could visit some of the places that are mentioned. My wish is that someone will continue the magazine and the great recipes but on the cheap. Here we are growing gardens again and looking for ways to cook and preserve our bounty-what an issue that would be!
In the meantime I'll go back over my old magazines looking for something I missed plus missing my monthly issue of Gourmet especially the Christmas issues.
Arleen

montague said...

seriously sad.

Marlena said...

Rats, rats, rats and then some.
I'd gotten out of the habit of buying Gourmet regularly, but I always bought the Thanksgiving and Christmas issues. However, I have to agree it used to be grand and is now tawdry by comparison. I still use some of the recipes, though.