The End of An Era

11 hours ago, I received a startling text message from Caitlin.  Shocked, I hurried to my computer, fingers typing frantic keywords into Google.  My heart sank as my eyes raced through this article, phrases like Condé Nast will close Gourmet magazine and Condé Nast would close one of its food titles jumping out at me.

Gourmet has been my favorite magazine for as long as I can remember.  Before I could even read, I perused the back-issues of the magazine that my parents kept in our front hallway.  I looked at the glossy photos from the April 1981 issue, the month my parents married.  I thumbed through October 1987 to see what foods my parents were cooking when I was born.  When I was old enough, I interned with the magazine, sitting in on editorial meetings with Ruth Reichl, sampling foods in the test kitchen, organizing the You Asked For It column. Every month, I’ve looked forward to Gourmet‘s arrival in my mailbox, each photo more beautiful and tantalizing than the last.

When I read those words this morning, I felt completely bewildered.  Gourmet has consistently turned out brilliantly written articles about exotic travel escapes, hot new chefs, the hidden hole-in-the-wall that will shatter every preconceived notion you have about food.  One Thanksgiving my mom and I baked their innovative Ginger Cake with Crystallized Ginger Frosting, wowing guests expecting a simple pecan pie.  Another night, early in my culinary career,  I baked a beautiful chocolate layer-cake with candy-colored polka-dots from their cover for a simple family gathering. In college, I relied on their Quick Kitchen column for cheap, tasty meals that wouldn’t break my student’s wallet.  In the 1960s, my grandfather’s hotel was featured in their travel section.  This truly is the end of an era.

Cookie and Modern Bride are also folding.  It seems the market just isn’t receptive of print culture anymore.  As I ready this blog post for online publication, I can’t help but feel, on a small scale, responsible for the death of the magazine.  I really hope the two can coexist in our modern world, but I just don’t know if that’s the case.

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12 responses to “The End of An Era

  1. breadandwithit

    This is so beautifully put. I feel a real loss, and I think that people who love to prepare, share, think, and talk about food should also feel this loss. Blogs only augment print media, and shouldn’t be seen as replacements.

    It’s the end of an era.

  2. Your elegy to gourmet was really moving. It was startling and (sadly) comforting to see how a really good magazine is intertwined with so many of the milestones in our lives.

  3. Sad, isn’t it. It’s all about the bottom line and I think the online world is just taking over niche reads like that 😦

  4. I know, I read that too. How could they possibly do that? It’s so sad, Gourmet has a lot of tradition in my house as well:(

  5. I’m so beyond sad that Gourmet has been canceled… I grew up reading the magazines at my mom’s AND grandma’s houses, and it’ll be weird in the world without them… shall we start a new cooking mag?

  6. I’ll miss it so much 😦

  7. I’ll definitely miss Gourmet, but my heart is broken over Modern Bride. It was a tradition when someone in the family got engaged to pick up a copy of every bridal magazine on the shelf and celebrate while pouring over the enormous copies.

    And my best friend texted me to let me know too. She’s a chef and it’s always been her favorite. We were both bummed.

  8. it’s so sad, isn’t it? And it seems some of the BEST ones are going, not tabloids or other prints that everyone could have less of.

  9. I had a similar action to hearing the news about Gourmet, and a similar sentiment to the overlap/interference between blogging and print publishing. Wanna re-launch Gourmet, El Blog? Haha

  10. On a historical note: Samuel Chamberlain serialized the now well-known “Clementine in the Kitchen” for Gourmet in the early days of the magazine under the pen name Phineas Beck. It is the hugely entertaining account of a Burgundian cook who works for Americans in France, then comes to Massachusetts with them when they move back. Your readers might want to read that, since there will be no more Gourmet to pick up.

  11. Isn’t it terrible news? I heard yesterday as well–it was really shocking, though I have no where near the relationship with it that you had. Cherish your archives – now they’re really worth something!

  12. I honestly feel like I have been slapped in the face. This cannot be true. Some of the most memorable recipes I’ve ever cooked baked have come from Gourmet.

    At least the recipes will live on 😉 now let’s hope that Bon Appetit doesn’t fold!

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