Monday, October 05, 2009

Big Mistake

I have never been a huge fan of Gourmet magazine, though I've appreciated its verve under the editorship of Ruth Reichl.
But this I know. Gourmet is classic. Historical. Essential. It is the original food magazine of America.
And its publisher announced today that it will be closing Gourmet. (The publisher, Condé Nast, also owns Bon Appétit, which sucks rocks and is not being shut down. Explain, please?)
I'm not easily shocked, but I gasped aloud when I heard this news. Sure, the economic environment is hostile, but... Wow. I was shocked.
I'm thinking the publishers might be "hearing" from readers, know what I'm saying? Even I might drop a line.


bewitchingkitchen said...

I am also shocked. In fact, first I thought I had "read it wrong".... Obviously they shut down Bon Appetit, right? NO.

What on Earth are they thinking?

Kailyn said...

I'm probably going to be the only one who says this. I have always preferred Bon Appetit to Gourmet. The recipes in Bon Appetit lend themselves much better to everyday cooking than the ones I have seen in Gourmet.

dancingmorganmouse said...

I'm not a particular fan, but found the website useful from time to time and loved looking at the pretty pictures.
Times are tough indeed.

Chilebrown said...

Yeah, Just my luck. I just renewed my subscription for 3 years.

Melanie said...

I was really shocked too and I thought "wow, what a stupid move". I'm sure they have their reasons but really? I actually read that magazine. I don't like every day cooking recipes, I have enough of those. I like things that make me imagine.

namastenancy said...

I was shocked as well. My parents subscribed to Gourmet and even got the huge annual cookbooks with all the lovely line drawings. Since we lived all over Europe, their recipes and recommendations were gospel to us. I think that I started cooking using a "Nancy" version of their recipes. I wonder if they really have lost that much money or aren't making the huge profits that today's magazine and newspaper owners feel is appropriate. There's profit and there's HUGE profit and the HUGE profit seems to the operative tag line, rather than the "ordinary" profits of the past.

namastenancy said...

I don't know where you are in the sage of the abundant pears but did you see this recipe for fried pear pies over at the NY Times?

cookiecrumb said...

BK: Industry insiders all thought it would be Bon Appetit. Isn't shock shocking? :D

Kailyn: Bon Appetit is more recipe-oriented, and I can see the appeal of that. That's part of why it was spared, not Gourmet.

Mouse: You know why it's closing? It turns out Americans have become stupid slobs who prefer Rachael Ray.

Chilebrown: I suspect you're joking, but I'm a little worried I might be oversubscribed. (Can't tell from the latest issue because it's shipped in a plastic bag, so the label's gone.)

Melanie: I love the "good" magazines for the ideas, seldom for the actual recipes. Weep, weep.

Nancy: I have to ask you. Do you ever read Sunset magazine? Another oldie I've sort of re-fallen in love with.
I DID see the pear pie recipe! Thanks! But... no thanks.

Kailyn said...

As I was reading comments, I thought of Sunset. And then you mentioned it. I just recently broke down and subscribed to it for the first time in years. Gourmet always had an east coast feel to it whereas Sunset is so clearly west coast.

I also almost mentioned Rachel Ray before. I don't like her but I know a lot of folks do.

I used to subscribe to a number of magazines but pared back due to time and money -- mostly time though. I probably spend more of my reading time on novels these days.

namastenancy said...

My grandparents used to subscribe to Sunset magazine. I could kick myself for throwing out 30 years of these magazines when they passed away in the mid-1960's and we had to clean out their house. BUT I am a member of the Mechanics Institute Library and their archives go back to 1908 when the library regrouped after the 1906 earthquake and fire. Their copies of Sunset magazine go back for ages and the stacks are open for all members to browse. I have been scanning covers for a post on my blog on the art; some of these covers were gorgeous. And the recipes - yup! Another place of inspiration. Grandma + Sunset magazine - no wonder I love to cook and eat.
Sorry about the fried pear pie - probably too rich and full of gluten for you. That's another thing my grandmother used to make and that I don't (sob sob). But it's all probably for the best.

namastenancy said...

On the other hand - pear, almonds, cinnamon + filo dough, baked to a crispy goodness. Nothing fried but still lovely, delicious and crispy.
Hummmm...must go and think that out.
Sorry to be so talkative today.

cookiecrumb said...

Nancy: Wow, the library must be wonderful. I know of it, but have never been. Good for you. I simply adore the old illustrations on early Sunset covers.
Still can't even do filo dough, but I've been eying some tarte recipes over at La Tartine Gourmande, gluten free. Life... is good!
Talk all ya like. xx

Sam said...

My favourite thing about Gourmet was the photos, of late, and the Thanksgiving recipes (every year). I prefer it a million times over Food & Wine. But most of all, I think I like Saveur - for which I have you to thank for. I had no hesitation renewing my subscription after the free year you kindly gifted me ran out. Yes - I will miss Gourmet's delicious cover photos and RR's letter from the editor.

cookiecrumb said...

Kailyn: Stick with the novels!!!

Sam: Food and Wine. NOT for me. Wanna start a magazine? (Please say no.)

Zoomie said...

I've always loved "Sunset" and only bought "Gourmet" occasionally. Guess I'm just a simple girl at heart. But I'm sad for my sister in law, who has saved her Gourmets since she got married in the early '60s and will be bereft.

cookiecrumb said...

Zoomie: Wow! Saved them all? (Remember all those National Geographics at garage sales?)
I'm not above rebuke; I've saved all my Saveurs.

Yummy said...

Wow, that's sad...I always liked Gourmet so much better than BA.
I used to work at Conde years ago.

I second the love for Sunset, Saveur and I also like Cook's Illustrated!

LOVE your blog! I've been a lurker for years. :)

RoxieWithMoxie said...

I disagree, somewhat. I will definately lament the loss of Gourmet, as a subscriber, I am ever so glad wit was not BA that got the axe.

I haven't the money to travel to Europe, it's beyond my reality. BA actually has recipes I can relate and use in my life. I use food mags to get me out of my rut, to open new doors, and expand my horizon.

cookiecrumb said...

Yummy: Times change, eh? I guess we have to be flexible. But I sure didn't see this one coming.
Hey! Thanks for de-lurking. xo

Roxie: No, I just used it mainly as a "wish book." I don't travel either, and I almost never cook with magazine recipes. I'm happy you'll still have BA.

Sweet Bird said...

I must admit that as food magazines go Gourmet was my favorite. I'm especially irritated that I just renewed my subscription last month.

Why can't they get rid of crap like Bride?


Jane said...

Yeah, it's sad alright. I have one of those humongous old Gourmet cookbooks from 1950, and it's just about the most glorious old thing I've ever seen. Beautiful line illustrations, and the most fantastic and bizarre recipes imaginable. Like how to cook bear meat--no kidding. The book is such a period piece . . . before groovy was even a word. What's going to be next anyway? If an iconic mag like Gourmet can cease publication and slam its doors, what's next? I just hope Hostess doesn't stop crankin' out Twinkies.

cookiecrumb said...

Sweet Bird: I just learned that they're going to substitute Bon Appetit for the remainder of your Gourmet subscription, but you CAN ask for a refund instead. I don't know how, though... Eek.

Jane: Hang onto that book! Fabulous.
Shee... Life goes on, and nobody checks in with us? What's up with that?

Anna Haight said...

I too am a Gourmet subscriber. Whenever I actually tried one of their recipes, it was perfection! But I also didn't get it to cook out of, I took it to read the gorgeous food and travel writing that took me all over the world. BA is a POOR substitute. I think they made the wrong choice there are a lot of mags similar to BA out their, but none really compare to Gourmet. (I haven't read Saveur so I'll have to take a look).

Sweet Bird said...

See, but what do you do when you've already got the subscription to Bon Apetit? I really don't need two per month.

And trying to get a refund from Conde Nast? I'd rather gouge out my own eyeballs than deal with that.

Rachel said...

W.T.F. Yet we have a million magazines about how to make your biceps bulge, get any woman to want you, which wedding dress will make your marriage last forever, and three magazines owned by Oprah. Don't even get me started on that useless rag by the Stewart woman. Quality takes another hit.

Rachel said...

Oh and don't even get me started on Rachael Ray! GAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!