On Monday, the editors of Fine Cooking learned along with the rest of the food world, that the November issue of Gourmet magazine would be its last. We’ve got some thoughts about that:
From the editor:
Generally speaking, those of us who work at food magazines share certain things: an ongoing inability to believe that this is a job; an irrepressible curiosity about anything and everything that might be construed as edible; a real and abiding belief in the power of food to change a life, the world for that matter. We also share a faith in the fact that food magazines will survive, not just because they are our jobs but because, at least to us, they remain vibrantly relevant.
This week we lost one of us, and as the group got smaller, so many of our goals and aspirations seemed to lose their footing. I’d swear the earth stood still for a moment there, at least the one that nurtures us.
When I was starting out in the food industry, I was blown away by Ruth Reichl’s style of food writing. Evocative, funny, and passionate, she always made me hungry. I was once in the crowd when she spoke at the 92nd Street Y and the audience submitted questions for her. She actually answered mine! When she wrote up portions of that answer (almost word for word!) in her next editor’s letter, I felt like we shared something. Aside from Gourmet’s gorgeous photography and brilliant writing, I sure will miss Ruth’s letters.
—Denise Mickelsen, associate editor
When I was just learning to cook as a teenager, I was consistently amazed and inspired by all the new ingredients Gourmet put in front of me every month. And before I discovered the magazine, it never even occured to me that writing about food for a living was even a thing you could do, so it feels like losing a mentor.
—Sarah Breckenridge, Web producer
Growing up, Gourmet was the ultimate aspirational magazine in our house. My mom never actually cooked from it, of course, it was about a more refined and elaborate life than the one we led in rural Connecticut. But I loved the photos of parties (intricate table settings without a person in sight) and the essays on travel that transported me to amazing restaurants in far-away lands. And occasionally, I would attempt an elaborate dessert or dish, usually to little success due to the lack of some then-exotic ingredient like candied orange peel or a one-use piece of equipment like a charlotte mold.
I wanted to live in the Gourmet world, though, and I found it cool that as I grew up and Gourmet revamped, we grew closer in sensibility. We never quite merged, but I figured there would always be time. As with most icons, you assume they’ll always be there; its demise will certainly leave a vacuum.
—Lisa Waddle, managing editor
I’ll miss Gourmet‘s unique and eclectic approach to food, which skillfully straddles the intellectual and the practical, its excellent writing, unparalleled aesthetic sensibility, and commitment to tackling issues of food politics.
—Laura Giannatempo, associate editor
Many years ago, for my very first New Year’s eve dinner party, I made a mushroom, radicchio and smoked mozzarella lasagna from Gourmet that made me look like a star. I’ll miss their recipes and inspiration.
—Rebecca Freedman, senior editor
Our CooksTalk community also reacted to the news of Gourmet‘s closing in a recent thread. Click the link to follow the discussion.