Mario Tama/Getty Images
her staff on Monday that Condé Nast had closed
Gourmet was to lock up the library with
its landmark collection of 70 years
of cookbooks and typewritten recipes.
"That's not going to disappear," she said, adding
that she had strongly suggested to S. I. Newhouse Jr.,
the company's chairman, that he donate
the archives to the New York Public Library
or to a university.
Then she and her staff gathered bottles of wine
and liquor from the office and held
a wake at her apartment.
Readers are mourning in their own ways.
Killing Gourmet and keeping Bon Appétit,
which had more readers and stronger ad numbers,
may have made business sense for Condé Nast.
But to the food elite — especially
of an older generation — it felt like a gut punch.
How had the magazine that seemed more likely
to stay home, broil pork chops and take care
of the kids won out over its sexy, well-read,
And what does a world without Gourmet portend
for an age when millions prefer to share
recipes online, restaurant criticism is becoming
crowd-sourced and newspaper food sections
are thinner and thinner?
"It has a certain doomsday quality because
it's not just a food magazine.
It represents so much more," said James Oseland,
editor in chief of Saveur, a smaller,
younger food magazine.
"It's an American cultural icon."
The magazine, founded in 1941, thrived on
a rush of postwar aspiration and became
a touchstone for readers who wanted
lives filled with dinner parties, reservations
at important restaurants
and exotic but comfortable travel.
Although it was easy to paint Gourmet
as the food magazine for the elite,
it was a chronicler of a nation's food history,
from its early fascination with the French culinary
canon to its discovery of Mediterranean
and Asian flavors to its recent focus
on the source of food and
the politics surrounding it.
In the decade since Ruth Reichl took over
as editor, she underlined everything from
the exploitation of tomato pickers in Florida
to dishes like chicken and dumplings
that could be on the stove,
simmering, in 15 minutes.
But whatever the fashion of the time,
Gourmet remained a place where people
learned how to eat and cook — particularly
for an older generation.
"Gourmet was the only resource you had
other than your cookbooks," said Judy Walker,
the food editor of The Times-Picayune
in New Orleans.
Over the course of nearly 70 years,
Gourmet has a recipe database enviable
in both size and quality.
The pool is so deep that Gourmet compiled
a cookbook of more than 1,000 recipes in 2006,
then turned around and published more
than 1,000 more in "Gourmet Today," which
arrived — in one of the industry's great
moments of bad timing — in September.
"It feels like the last act of this magazine
should be to support this book," said Ms. Reichl,
who is heading to the Midwest this week
to promote it.
After a short rest, she plans
to write a book about her years
at Condé Nast.
Chefs, too, lamented the magazine's passing.
For many, their dreams of a life
in the kitchen were born in its pages.
"Growing up, my parents' copies of Gourmet
were my only window into
the high-end restaurant world,"
said Andrew Carmellini of Locanda Verde.
Scott Peacock, the Atlanta chef who
has become known for Southern cooking,
made his first biscuits as boy using
a recipe from Gourmet.
Years later, biscuits from his own recipe
would be on the cover of the magazine.
"That magazine was a big deal to me
growing up in Hartford, Alabama," he said.
"It was a glimpse into another world,
one that I was interested in."
The magazine also provided a home for literate,
thoughtful food writing.
Its stable of contributors included
James Beard, Laurie Colwin and
M. F. K. Fisher.
In the 1940s and '50s, the restaurateur
Lucius Beebe wrote a meandering column
called Along the Boulevards.
"Gourmet was the New Yorker of food magazines
back in the 1970s and '80s,"
said Jim Lahey, a Manhattan baker.
Gourmet magazine was an early influence
on Alice Waters, who recalls building files
of recipes and photographs of dishes
that she and Lindsey Shere,
the first pastry chef of Chez Panisse,
wanted to make.
And, she said, for some restaurateurs,
a review in Gourmet used to mean everything.
"Yes, you could be in The New York Times,
but that was sort of fleeting.
Gourmet was just a bigger
cultural picture," she said.
The magazine had its detractors, too,
and they are doing plenty of Monday
morning quarterbacking: Gourmet was
out of step with the times,
both in content and design, they say.
"The magazine has been casting about
and remade itself too many times,"
said Nach Waxman, the owner of
the Kitchen Arts and Letters
bookstore in Manhattan.
"Gourmet got away from the things
that are going on in people's homes,
and seemed to be for an elite
that got smaller and smaller,"
said Judith Jones, the Knopf editor,
who believes food magazines in general
have become too focused
on fashion and style.
Still, there are believers. Kylie Sachs,
a venture capitalist and subscriber
for 15 years, took to Twitter on Monday
and started a campaign to save Gourmet.
In 24 hours, she had almost 200 followers.
Ms. Sachs, 37, thinks readers could rise up
to save what she says is a tested brand
whose reliability is even more important
in a digital age.
And if she fails, she will still head
into Thanksgiving — the first she is cooking
for her family in her Brooklyn home — with
Gourmet's November issue, its last, at her side.
"I'll have a good, trusted friend guiding me,"
she said.Julia Moskin and Florence Fabricant contributed reporting.
Gsm: (250) (0) 78-847-0205 (Mtn Rwanda)
Gsm: (250) (0) 75-079-9819 (Rwandatel)
Home: (250) (0) 25-510-4140
P.O. Box 3867
Kigali - RWANDA
Skype ID: kayisa66