Food Journalism Takes a Hit


The only good news to come from the end of Gourmet magazine is that now I have time to catch up with the recipes I ripped from its pages.

I have been a subscriber for at least a decade and grew up in a Gourmet reading household, my parents having received a subscription in their early married years from my grandparents. It was tremendous to look at, beautiful to see and their coverage of food and travel was luxurious. However, I fear it was that luxury that did them in. Many a time I would read it as an adult and think to myself, "Who can afford to go to [insert exotic, far, far away location] and afford to stay at its nicest hotel?" I felt poor and denied when I would read these articles...or marvelled at the Patek Phillippe watch ads...or looked at the list of suggested wines for their menus where the cheapest was $50 and hard to find. The mailing away for ingredients would usually drive me into a rage; mail away for a tablespoon worth of a spice? Are you insane?

The Gourmet cooks at home section of the past few years has been the saving grace. Ingedients I could find, make within a reasonable amount of time, and that were good. Finally! Thank you! However, they did it too late.

The fascinating and challenging articles they would publish regarding the business of food would often generate the most heated and offended letters to the editor in the following issue. Butchering animals is how you get meat and men in slave like conditions pick many of your Florida tomatoes. It is the truth and no amount of pretty pictures of Paris can change it. Perhaps articles on how the food world works next to the glamorous resorts and the groaning tables of beautiful food was too much cognitive dissonance.

I hope Ruth Reichl and the staff find good homes. They were trying to make their readers think and please them aesthetically. I just wish Conde Nast had told all their publications to cool it on their legendary budgets rather than taking the ax to one of the longest running publications in the United States with hardly any notice.

I received my last issue yesterday and next year Thanksgiving won't be the same without it.