Today, I found out something horrible: Gourmet Magazine is going under. November’s issue will be their last. After that, all subscribers will be sent Bon Appetite. This was profoundly saddening on two levels.
Once my apartment situation had been resolved, and the certainty of having a kitchen was no longer in question,my head became filled with the plethora of culinary possibilities. I am a notoriously picky eater on top of being a long standing vegetarian. With a kitchen of my own I planned on making masterpieces, expand my food horizons and give people a meal to remember.
Food has always been important in my family. I’m a bit of an odd duck in that respect. My mother was a pastry chef for many years and I grew up watching her make cakes for our birthdays, pies for Christmas and Thanksgiving and cookies for the fun of it. I developed a deep love of sweets early on. Before my mother, however, was my grandmother. Straight off the boat from Ireland and without a penny in her pocket, my grandmother came to America and had my mother and aunt. Despite the turmoil surround her marriage to my grandpa, busy work schedule and lack of income, my grandma always had a traditional Sunday night dinner. The whole family would sit at the table and have a real hearty meal with meat, vegitables and lots of gravey. My grandma, hands down, is the kindest most wonderful woman in the world- always ready to make you breakfast or a grilled cheese sandwich. Weeks before my boyfriend came to California, I boasted of the grand feast my grandma was making for him and low and behold, the Sunday dinner he attended had two different kinds of potatoes, a big plate of roast beef, Yorkshire pudding and dessert- and that’s only the half of it. He had three helpings (with a lot of prodding from my grandma. “Do you want more Nate” she asked and Nate, being polite would say “no thank you,” “are you suuuuuuuuure?” she would ask- Nate gave in twice. You don’t really say “no” to my grandma.) Over the summer I realized how much I admire her loving, warm, nature and vowed to follow in her footsteps. I started collecting recipes and with my limited knowledge in the world of food, I first turned to Gourmet. I knew that their recipe collection was reliable, good, and vast. By then end of the summer I had about twenty recipes to try- everything from Parmesan pull aparts to chocolate s’more pie. Most of my first recipes were Gourmet recommended (sauteed broccoli with garlic). With their demise I loose a respectable platform with which to explore my culinary abilities. After November, who will I turn to?
The demise of any work of publication hits me in a special place these days. I aspire to produce, edit and run magazines and book houses. Slowly, however, I watch the independents dwindle away to a few key publications. If there is no room in this world for Gourmet, how will there be room for a publication of my own? Furthermore, as these magazines drop off the face of the earth, as do the job opportunities they present and the range of work categories available. It looks like no matter how you slice it, if I’m working in the magazine industry, I’ll be working for Conde Nast or Hearst and I’ll probably be producing Sports Illustrated. I feel partly to blame as well. I never subscribed to the magazine portion of Gourmet. I simply supported them in heart, skimming their website for free, which unfortunately does not keep a magazine up and running. Magazines follow the same pattern as endangered animals in today’s world- so many people work to preserve them, they are loved creatures and yet, somehow, despite our best efforts they fall off the face of the planet forever. On my most cynical days, I loose hope, I believe that the publishing industry is doomed and heading extinction entirely. The stronger, faster, easier, cheaper internet will take over and instead of holding paper tombs, the public will be holding plastic kindles. Then I go to my Bibliography and Print Culture class, look at the excitement on my profs face as he explains how books of the hand pressed period are made and am pleasantly reminded that people still care. For three hours a week I am surrounded by about 150 who care. “Maybe it will be alright,” I think.
Food and the love of food will continue despite Gourmet’s demise (there is still Bon Appetite), I will still be able to cook like my mom and my grandma, prepare massive feasts and bring people together. In preparation for future endevors however, I’ve spent the last hour scouring the Gourmet website, bookmarking every last recipe that I might remotely need sometime in the future (including roast turkey with cider sage gravy forThanksgivings yet to come. I might not eat turkey, but others in my life might) with some sadness. Goodbye Gourmet, you inspired the foodie in all of us- even the most pickey eaters o f the world.