Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Grousing About Gourmet

As I noted in this recent post, Gourmet magazine is closing operations. It was a magazine that many foodies like me read from time to time.

In recent years, I'd been more likely to browse copies of Food & Wine or Bon Appetit because they seemed to have recipes and food ideas that were much less fussy and complicated.

Apparently, the Boston Globe agrees. In this snarky commentary, the Globe offers its "recipe" for the demise of Gourmet.

At the Huffington Post, author Maria Rodale has penned this pseudo-eulogy of Gourmet. In it, she writes that Gourmet seemed to be flying against the wind in an era in which the most popular restaurants tend to be no-nonsense bistros, wine bars and other places that tend to marry a casual ambience with comfort food. Rodale writes:
Gourmet didn't invent pretension, but it sure fed it.

. . . When I was done reading the (magazine's latest) issue, I felt this wasn't a relevant magazine anymore for today's world of food.

With Gourmet closed, I don't think it's a coincidence that the food magazine that's growing and succeeding in these times is Saveur, which, despite its stupid name, has a great editor who is grounded in real food from around the world.
I agree with Rodale. I understand that the economics of magazine publishing are much tougher today than they were 20 or 30 years ago, but we live in the era of "Top Chef" and the Food Network. There should have been a way for Gourmet to rethink its style, its perspective and its content to reflect the ways Americans are cooking, eating and talking about food.

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