Never quite follows the recipe. Doesn't really measure. Tastes with her fingers. Somehow, it always works.

An open letter to Conde Nast

Posted: October 5th, 2009 | Author: johanna | Filed under: Johanna | 20 Comments »

If you have been watching Twitter at all today, you have heard the news: Gourmet Magazine is being shut down by Conde Nast. Personally, I think this is a huge mistake.

While there have been many food magazines in my life since I started cooking, I have always loved Gourmet. Everyday with Rachael Ray is flashier, Bon Apetit has quicker recipes, Cooking Light might keep us from all getting heart disease, and Saveur is the fanciest stuff around. But in the end, the one I come back to time and again is Gourmet. I trust Editor-In-Chief Ruth Reichl to draw on her time as a restaurant critic when profiling and selecting the best restaurants of the year. I expect her to infuse every page with her unique culinary sensibilities and education. I have never imagined anything other than that she will provide the best possible issue based on whatever theme the month provides.

In particular, I look forward to Gourmet’s Thanksgiving issues. As a cook and a lover of feeding people, I have many dreams about the day that I cook my own Thanksgiving dinner for my family. In all of those daydreams, I make my Thanksgiving menu from an amalgam of favorite recipes culled from Gourmet’s November issues. Items such as this gorgeous turkey, this inspired take on an apple pie and of course, this answer to butternut squash mashed with brown sugar and maple syrup. I imagined tearing out and including new favorites, making a whole scrapbook of Thanksgiving recipes, all from Gourmet’s amazing wealth of ideas.
And now…. there will be no more. No more reading Francis Lam’s excellent food writing, although luckily, I can still follow him on Twitter. No more beautiful regional profiles and celebrations, like January 2008’s Southern Food Issue.

Gourmet magazine helps me love food. Bon Apetit and Every Day with Rachael Ray help me bring it into my kitchen, show me stuff I can make and things I can whip up with 20 minutes and 5 ingredients, but they’re not special. They’re just not Gourmet. I read Gourmet for the beautiful things, the aspirational recipes. The dinner parties and glamorous events. In a world full of people encouraging you to Semi-Home-Make things, to put together dinner in 30-Minutes, and asking us to replace sugar with applesauce in baked goods…. don’t we deserve a magazine that shows us that it’s ok to use a ton of butter, or spend 3 hours on dinner, or do something absolutely amazing, and marvel in the praise it brings you?

In the end, cooking is always a little amazing, and more than any magazine, Gourmet understood that, while still appreciating the ….. less fancy elements.

In conclusion…. SAVE GOURMET!!!!


20 Comments on “An open letter to Conde Nast”

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