Wednesday, October 07, 2009

The Death of GOURMET Magazine




I have just learned on the Lonelyplanet.com/thorntree Get Stuffed Branch that Condé Nast Publishers have killed off the grand old GOURMET Magazine.

Here's what I wrote (edited for My Mexican Kitchen) on that discussion thread:
I was first exposed to Gourmet Magazine back in the 50's, when the murky covers seemed individually hand painted. I was introduced to what was then an enigmatic world. I remember one of the first issues we had had a cover painting of mushrooms under a glass dome. I wondered "Why would anybody do that?" Covers were usually drab, with what I thought of as a "European" feel. What did I know? I was a 10 or 12 year old kid.

There was a long running series, "Travels with Gramps", by Stephen Longstreet, that was fascinating and opinionated. I liked Gourmet best during the 80's. Later came Bon Appetit Magazine, which seemed to me an upstart of lower class, devoted to pink peppermint layer cakes on its covers. Later it got better.
Eventually I became disgusted with the whole lot, the pretentious excess, the upwardly mobile striving, the stinking perfume ads (thankfully, those have gone) and the thick pack of ads in the front of the magazine. I hadn't seriously read it in years. We jokingly called it "Grommet Magazine". Recently I read an article, on nytimes.com about the whole bloated Conde Nast expense account and staff perks system. Read that, and you'll understand better why they are sacrificing Gourmet. Cuts Meet a Culture of Spending At Conde Nast Truly serious cooks would gravitate to Cook's Illustrated, but I'm not quite that serious. Besides, the postal fees to Mexico are exorbitant.
Since the name of this blog is, My Mexican Kitchen", here's a cover of some tacos estilo Gourmet, from the 1960s. Drab, isn't it?



More GOURMET covers here. I'm saddened that I can't find the one of mushrooms under glass.

1 comment:

Constantino said...

Like a lot of other things it has lived it life. My feelings that it was ruined by too many ads and articles that only too few could relate to. At one time I use to subscribe to it along with a handfull of others. Now I only get one or two which are more industry magazines then for the general public. Enter the Internet, where anyone can search and find almost any reciepe or information an any item.
Sadly many other magazines have or will go the same direction. One of my favorites was Sunset. They published great stories and had issues keyed to various parts of the county. Now the magazine is about 25% of what it use to be, and mostly filled with advertisements. Like Newspapers, they either have to stay profitable or their demise is set.
Welcome to progress, I for one enjoyed sitting with an paper or magazine on my lap better than a slab of silicone and plastic with a keyboard. I saw the notice about a week ago the article I read had said that more were to follow. The younger generations are not as keen on reading either.