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Goodbye Gourmet

(post, Susan Odell)

The cessation of the publication of Gourmet magazine comes at an unusual time. Granted, Gourmet was (in my opinion) more about pictures and places you want to go rather than cooking, but it offered inspiration to the home cook with beautiful people eating beautiful food. Studies of late have shown that more people are staying home and cooking rather then going to restaurants. Given that, don’t we need all the help we can get as far as recipe ideas and food knowledge?

To me Gourmet showed the ideal rather than reality. There were only a few recipes each month that could be made in under an hour (and those were usually side dishes), so they were appealing not to the week-night cook but to the adventurous cook who likes to entertain and experiment in the kitchen. There is room for that, I believe, and had they devoted themselves to the adventurous-cook demographic I wouldn't have cancelled my subscription a few months ago.  Instead, I found that I could barely distinguish between the ads and the flashy articles about travel and 5-star restaurants. Recipes came directly from the restaurant chefs, which meant they were hard to follow and included ingredients like foie gras and caviar - expensive and not always easy to find.

What I will truly miss about Gourmet is the newsletter that arrived in my email inbox each week. Ruth Reichl, editor-in-chief, gave a little vignette about her favorite summer vegetable or a flavor of ice cream she couldn't live without or some other seemingly personal musing. There was a simple recipe and links to other pieces on their website.

Gourmet was so close to getting it right. These little newsletters were a touch of food inspiration and lightness in the middle of the week, and I didn't have to sort through pages of advertisements to read them. My hope is that will mean to you what the Gourmet newsletters meant to me. A little bit of food for thought, so to speak. A reminder that someone out there is thinking about ways that you can eat better, and that someone has the passion and expertise to guide you in the right direction.

The picture of Ms. Reichl that accompanied the Gourmet newsletter was one of pure enjoyment; it made me smile each time I saw it. She has dedicated much of her life to the food world and for that she has garnered respect and admiration. I will miss her happy face in my inbox each week and her inspiration. Thank you, Ruth!