Bye, bye, Gourmet

Many things have happened to publishing during this recession that none of us thought we’d see, and today brings another: The end of Gourmet as a published magazine, after nearly 70 years.

Old copies are cherished as records of history (I hear they’re the only old magazines that sell well at used bookstores and flea markets). In recent years, editor Ruth  Reichl injected new life into the old girl, culling out some often-too-complicated recipes and travel stories about places most of us could never afford to visit. Social consciousness entered, with articles on food and health issues. You learned something by reading it.

I started subscribing when I started writing about food, mainly because I thought I should. I continued because I learned about food trends in big cities, even though whole issues would go by with no recipes inside that I felt compelled to cook, I must be honest and say. Ironically, the last several issues were jam-packed with recipes I wanted to prepare and am still wading through.

A non-foodie friend of mine selected the sister publication Bon Appetit over Gourmet because, she said, “I wouldn’t cook anything in Gourmet.”

I feel the same mixed sadness over the loss of this publication (although it supposedly will continue online) that I feel when I see newspapers disappearing. It hurts me to see the loss, but it results from losing a struggle to change and adapt. What’s the answer? If I knew, I’d be booked solid as a media consultant. I’m trying to figure out where to go myself, as publishing on all levels is affected. Cookbooks included, not to mention Google threatens to eliminate the need for them.

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