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Anyone else miss Gourmet Magazine?

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October 09 was the last issue. I normally run through food magazines fairly quickly and pull out and file whatever I want to keep in order to keep the clutter down to a less than monsterous level. I kept this issue of Gourmet as it was the last one, and re-read it last night. What a terrific read. My Brother, who was responsible for much of my food training, gave me a subscription to Gourmet on my 18th birthday. As a young hippie college student, I must admit that I didn't quite get it. As I progressed in life and began to travel, Gourmet became a real sourcebook for me and I enjoyed it thoroughly. I realize that there were quite a few issues that I chunked pretty quickly, but there were stokes of brilliance as well. I miss it. Got to say Bon Appetite, which was the other food mag in the publisher's portfolio, doesn't quite do it for me. So much for long lived brands and tradition. I suppose that is the direction of the current. Anyway, I miss Gourmet........and socks and jeans made in the US..........and so on........and so on.

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  1. Agree wholeheartedly. The writing in Gourmet was of a quality that no other food magazine has.
    IMO, some of the features were "kitschy" like readers' favorite recipes, and favorite restaurant recipes but I always seemed to learn something. Bon Appetit is a waste of time.
    Interestingly, Gourmet has just published a compilation of recipes in magazine form and the recipes seem quite appealing. There are no articles, just recipes. Pricey, though at $11.
    Maybe this is a harbinger of a "new" Gourmet.

    3 Replies
    1. re: rikerspharm

      Nope. It's just the publisher slapping the name onto some cheap content to suck a few bucks from nostalgic consumers' pockets.

      1. re: rikerspharm

        I too loved Gourmet. Bought their giant yellow compilation just to wallow in it when I am feeling lonely. But I wonder about your opinion that Bon Appetit is a waste of time. How did that happen to you? Maybe it is what you grow up with. Just today I was having warm memories about Bon Appetit from back in the 70's or 80's. My mom (who could be a little prickly) told me once that every time she missed me she pulled out her Bon Appetit stash and hunted down the one with the chocolate cake with cherries on top. She needed me to tell her I knew which it was. Apparently I had written "I love cherries!" on one of the cover cherries and then proceeded to give my opinion at a few recipe entries inside the mag. She knew them by heart. There was not much my mom and I had between us, but love for good cooking is one. Recipes, pictures, handing down a love and gift of good cooking is never ever a waste of time.

        Have a blessed holiday Rikerspharm.

        1. re: Sal Vanilla

          Sal V: "My mom (who could be a little prickly) told me once that every time she missed me she pulled out her Bon Appetit stash and hunted down the one with the chocolate cake with cherries on top."

          Was that the one by Simone Beck, in a summer 1979 issue? I used to make that cake all the time. I still have the issue of Bon Appetit. It was such a good magazine.

      2. i hear ya. and i agree.

        1. Yes, but the old Gourmet, not the one that immediately preceded its demise. Some of the later articles were just absurd -- who wants to read a food magazine to learn about the inhumane treatment of Florida tomato pickers? I'm all for reading articles to raise my social consciousness, but not when I'm reading food porn. Now the old Gourmet, with its Paris Journal and features like that - yes, bring it back.

          10 Replies
          1. re: profjmm

            I agree, profjmm. The "old" Gourmet magazines I pick up at tag sales and the library are just so different than what the "new" Gourmet became. Ok, maybe the recipes were a bit more fussy, but so what? That's half the fun...dreaming about making it, eating it, drinking with it. And the articles! Wow! I remember feeling so decadent and chic as I imagined myself in those far-away places, on those incredible voyages, savoring those delicious meals.

            1. re: profjmm

              And Laurie Colwin . . . I miss her! Wish we could bring her back.

              1. re: Transplanted Texan

                If we did she'd be either a vampire or a zombie and in either case would be of no use to us.
                :-)

              2. re: profjmm

                I had already fired Gourmet before they were shut down. Gourmet of 2009 wasn't the Gourmet of 1999. It was the Food Network version. The dumbed down version. The sandwich and cupcake version. Bleh.

                I mourned the loss of Gourmet, but they killed themselves when they decided they'd rather be a children's magazine.

                For good food reading, get the Art of Eating. Awesome magazine that writes for adults.

                1. re: Indirect Heat

                  Isn't that the truth. When Gourmet folded it was only a shadow of it's former self and glory. My parents bought bought me a subscription in 1968. It stayed with me through thick and thin, many moves, many jobs and many relationships. It was a friendly constant in my life. I let my subscription lapse in 2008 when it was clear to me it could no longer provide the experience I was longing to read

                2. re: profjmm

                  The original Gourmet magazine was a gift for all the senses. It was the only magazine to which I subscribed, and, never once, did I feel that I was neither monied enough, nor glamorous enough to read it, and escape into the cultures and foods of those cultures, and travel... sigh...

                  1. re: profjmm

                    The old Gourmet was wonderful. I used to read the old volumes in the library when I was in college. My best friend and I stopped our subscriptions when it began to lose it's original focus. I have never saved an issue that was published under the final editor-in-chief.

                    1. re: onigiri

                      I agree. I'd subscribed to Gourmet since the early 1980s. My beloved mother-in-law renewed it for my birthday every year, and now I'm getting Bon Appetit instead, which is NOT any kind of substitute. I gave up on that subscription in the mid-'80s, if for no other reason than the photos of overly made up, overly shiny happy people milling around an overly ornate table. Fooey. They haven't gotten any better. I'm going with Martha Stewart from now on. At least their food is great and well-photographed, and there's other interesting content. No more Bon Appetit for me. Another friend sends me Saveur, and i thank God for that scrip, it's one of the only food snob mags left.

                      1. re: EWSflash

                        The last two months' Saveurs have been great, particularly the December. MS is that good? Didn't know.

                        1. re: buttertart

                          I don't like it because of the food, although the food part is very good, I like the look and content of MSL in general, and as a photographer I have to say the photography in it isn't quite as arty and fabulous as it used to be, but it's still better than most.

                  2. I miss Gourmet in all its iterations!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: roxlet

                      I agree. Followed it for 20+ years, got a little exasperated with some of the fussiness and celebrity chef stuff. Now I only miss it every month.

                    2. I really miss the magazine. Not every piece was a home run but the over all quality was truly excellent. Bon Appetit which subscribers were transfered to is in no way shape or form any sort of substitute.

                      There really is not anything out there to fill the void. That's a real shame.

                      1. I miss the "old" Gourmet magazine, not the Frankenstein it morphed into.

                        The original was 80% food, 10% hotels & travel, & 10% advertising. The recent demise found them with about 30% food, 40% hotels & travel, & 30% advertising. Not worth it for me - even at the cheap subscription rate of $12/year.

                        1. Like many, I have a "greatest hits" stash of older Gourmet issues but few from the later Reichl years when it was circling the drain. I have a weakness for the slightly ADD Saveur but do miss the lavish photography and graceful writing of 70's-80s Gourmet. Loved their heavyweight cookbooks, too.

                          1. My grandmother collected Gourmet and I was left some magazines dating back to the 60's ...We are moving soon and husband wants me to "clean" out the collection...how in the hell am I suppose to do that ??? It's GOURMET after all!

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: bermudagourmetgoddess

                              Take them with you. I had a bound collection and thought it frivolous to move them. It was a huge mistake that I'll forever regret.

                              1. re: bermudagourmetgoddess

                                BG- don't do it! dont' let them go. We moved 5 years ago and I was forced to throw out 20 years' worth of Gourmets. I now wish I hadn't. I thought that Gourmet would go forever.

                              2. I find myself missing Gourmet whenever I pick up Food & Wine, which is basically 100 pages of advertisements. Just cancelled that subscription along with Bon Appetit.

                                I just read the October BonAppetit and have to say it was the worst ever. The recipes were totally uninspired (halloween candy topped chocolate bark? the perfect meatball? mushroom risotto? really??). The dishes all looked so unappealing...everything was brown or greasy looking. It was about as entertaining as reading the home depot's weekly circular. BORING!

                                I bought my first Cooking Light about 3 months ago and could not believe how many great ideas I got out of one mag...ideas I used successfully in my commc'l and home kitchen. It's really a great magazine.

                                Saveur isn't a bad read, but I don't think anything can replace Gourmet.

                                5 Replies
                                1. re: nolapark

                                  "I just read the October BonAppetit and have to say it was the worst ever. The recipes were totally uninspired"
                                  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                                  big changes afoot at BA. they're moving to NY (from LA), and Barbara Fairchild just quit. it'll be interesting to see what happens with it...

                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                    A second word of praise for Cooking Light- I find it offers many healthy and easy to replicate recipes. I, too, will be discontinuing Food and Wine- a sad excuse published merely to put out advertising to the public.

                                    1. re: hopegoode

                                      I've subscribed to Cooking Light for many years. It seems to have recently dumbed down to 20-minute meals. All right already! I think we all know that a piece of fish with fruit salsa is quick and healthy.

                                      1. re: LJBTampa

                                        Agreed - totally dumbed down. In my opinion it always was. As it was given to me I just did not renew.

                                  2. re: nolapark

                                    I had for years, subscriptions to both Gourmet and BA, but I let my subscription of BA run out, and haven't bothered to even buy one at the store lately.

                                    I used to enjoy both of them before they started to "dumb down" everything. I LIKED the challenge of a complicated dish and learned how to cook such things pretty much exclusively through the magazines. Many of my favorite recipes come from those (and I too have stacks of them everywhere, and may never part with them).

                                  3. Gourmet just released a app for the iPad. Gourmet live is available for free in the app store.
                                    http://dinersjournal.blogs.nytimes.co...

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: SDGourmand

                                      It's not very good. For example on today's cover they have an article about "Do lobsters scream" and "Kitchen Traumas" that has a picture of a sliced open, now stitched up finger in all it's gross glory. Really off putting. Also the articles seem to be written by 20 something hipsters for 20 something hipsters. The articles I've read lack depth. It's not very interesting, even for free.

                                      1. re: SDGourmand

                                        The app is crap

                                      2. Yes, I also really miss Gourmet. I generally toss out old issues of magazines. I had about 4 years of Gourmet in assorted areas around the house (living room, bedroom, den, etc). I'll never throw them away. I saw the Gourmet compilation magazine on the stands just yesterday and it made me sad. I picked it up and flipped through, recognizing recipes from the past. I miss the writing in Gourmet. Unlike another poster, I thought it was important to know about the treatment of Florida tomato pickers. It was my favorite magazine.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: wintersummer

                                          I totally agree with you, part of Gourmets appeal was to inform and challenge. No food magazine looks at the big picture at different angles currently.

                                        2. I'm with you too! I still look at the newsstands and miss that lovely, swooping logo, rich with promise. When I read a recent BA or even Saveur, I often find myself tugging out an old Gourmet in frustration.
                                          Even in its later years, when it seemed to be struggling with its identity / tone, it had longer form articles and inspiring ideas. It had heart.
                                          Like Nolapark, I was particularly turned off by this month's Bon Appetit. The articles are so short that just when you get going, feel like you might learn something, they end. The writing quality overall is pretty rudimentary. And the "Foodist" column is laughable... someone (an intern?) asks a question and Knowlton then replies by talking about himself ad nauseum, without actually addressing the query. I hope that the NY iteration in future will improve!
                                          Bermudagourmetgoddess: maybe you can splice your magazines in with something your husband won't part with? Definitely can't lose those!

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: 01lukewarm

                                            And I'm with you on that Knowlton guy. Can't stand that column.

                                          2. I must say that I miss it. Almost all magazines have gone through good and bad phases, and I think the whole batch of them right now are not in great shape (BA, F&W, and Cook's Illustrated especially). I do like the new Fine Cooking format, though others don't, but my favorite now is Cucina Italiana.

                                            And I am an optimist. I think Gourmet is going to come back in a couple years.

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: smkit

                                              smkit - I'm with you! I really think Gourmet will be back. It's just so much a part of our culture, much more than BA or F&W. Let's stay hopeful.

                                              1. re: wintersummer

                                                Well, if Gourmet comes back it will be without Ruth Reichl. Here is an article saying that she is going to Random House.

                                                http://mediadecoder.blogs.nytimes.com...

                                              2. re: smkit

                                                Good Lord I hope so.

                                              3. Yes. God, YES!

                                                Sauver is sort of filling the niche, but the articles still don't have the depth and the research pieces are quite as compelling, yet.

                                                1. Here is a good article from Grub Street on where all the Gourmet people have ended up.

                                                  http://newyork.grubstreet.com/2010/10...

                                                  1. God yes! I've actually been boycotting all food magazines this past year in mourning. Reading anything other than Gourmet makes me sad. :-(

                                                    That being said, I'm ready to get back on the food magazine train . . . I recently got a job cooking and I need a steady stream of ideas and inspiration. Are there any worth subscribing to these days? I'm NOT a fan of the Cooks Illustrated familiy of magazines and I've always found Bon Appetit too dumbed-down. Used to get Saveur years ago, but haven't looked at it recently -- is it still any good? How about Fine Cooking? Any smaller magazines out there that people find inspiration in? Thanks all!

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: DanaB

                                                      My personal favorites right now are Fine Cooking and Cucina Italiana. I've been experimenting with foreign mags too. I just started receiving Cuisine out of NZ, but have only seen one issue, so the verdict is still out. Cook's Illustrated and Food & Wine have really fallen from grace IMO.

                                                    2. food arts and art culinare are the only ones worth it IMO..

                                                      3 Replies
                                                      1. re: SDGourmand

                                                        I get Food Arts but not AC. They are more industry focused, but I agree they are well worth it.

                                                        1. re: SDGourmand

                                                          Do either of these feature recipes and/or menu ideas?

                                                          1. re: DanaB

                                                            Both do. Art culinare has the best photography of any magazine. It's very expensive around $100 a year and there is four issues a year, but they are hard cover books and feature the top chefs of the world. they are something that you will keep for a lifetime. Try to see if you can buy a single issue I know some places carry it online that offer that. I believe lesanctuaire.com does. Once you see one issue you'll be hooked.

                                                        2. The beginning of the end for Gourmet came when Ruth Reichl became the editor. She turned a magazine which was all steak with little sizzle into one which was all sizzle with no steak.

                                                          12 Replies
                                                          1. re: porkpa

                                                            I completely disagree.. but to each...

                                                            1. re: porkpa

                                                              Bingo.

                                                              1. re: porkpa

                                                                100% agree, pre-Reichl was a far better magazine as far as I am concerned.

                                                                1. re: porkpa

                                                                  I loved it under Ruth Reichl and thought it was boring before. I miss the Reichl Gourmet.

                                                                  1. re: porkpa

                                                                    With or without Ruth Reichl it was far better than what's out there now.

                                                                    1. re: Withnail42

                                                                      Absolutely! I liked the RR Gourmet, but I would take the prior version back, if given the chance. I still hold out some hope that Gourmet will come back - but not in the new electronic format.

                                                                    2. re: porkpa

                                                                      Well put! I think she tried to fill some pretty big shoes, but didn't quite accomplish that with long time fans of such a prominent magazine.

                                                                      1. re: onigiri

                                                                        I cancelled my Gourmet subscription shortly after Reichl took the helm. While I've enjoyed reading her books, the magazine - in my opinion - took a turn for the worse once she took over.

                                                                        1. re: Breezychow

                                                                          I think the blame on RR is probably misplaced. "The helm" does not include dictating percentage of ad content, and Conde Nast being Conde Nast I'm sure that had the ad content been lower they'd have drowned that puppy long ago. I for one think such stories as the one about how farm workers are mistreated are germane; I don't want my food prices kept down at anyone else's expense, any more than I want the sources of my meat to be abused, and if I am properly informed I can take steps to avoid rewarding such behavior.

                                                                          1. re: Breezychow

                                                                            I agree...but oddly subscriptions were up under her leadership.

                                                                        2. re: porkpa

                                                                          You're right about that. I learned so much more from the Gourmet of the 1970s and 80s than anything since Reichl took over. I had great hopes for her that were soon dashed when the truly great writing began to go downhill.

                                                                          1. re: EWSflash

                                                                            I'm just going to play devil's advocate here. I have never seen Gourmet from the '70s and '80s, but how much of that is a decline within the print publishing industry in general? I seem to hear this comment about most food magazines, major newspapers, and other periodicals. Before the diverse media development of the late '80s and '90s, print ruled and had the best work, but that is no longer the case.

                                                                            I also think drug adds in food magazines stink and the marrying of TV celebrity chefs to food magazines is regrettable, but I also sense the pinch these media are going through.

                                                                        3. In addition to the app for Gourmet live, it looks as if Conde Nast is taking advantage of the Gourmet franchise and putting out special issue cooking magazines. I picked up a copy at the grocery store last week.

                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                          1. re: smkit

                                                                            I feel sad and taken advantage of with the Gourmet Special issues. Aren't they just recycling recipes from the magazine (when it existed)? It's like Gourmet, round 2. I still am mourning getting my monthly issue of Gourmet, with new material.

                                                                            1. re: wintersummer

                                                                              And Bon Appétit isn't cutting it, this month's is of very little interest.

                                                                            2. re: smkit

                                                                              That was their plan, to get rid of the magazine but to still make use of 'Gourmet' as a brand name.

                                                                            3. At least we'll have Rechl awhile with Top Chef Allstars. I really liked the Gourmet Diary of A Foodie show on PBS.

                                                                              1. I do miss it, but on the other hand, I'm glad to have one less magazine around the house (I have a hard time tossing them)!

                                                                                1. Gourmet was the first magazine I ever read cover to cover, from about age 9 on. I loved everything about it, the foods I'd never heard of and would not taste until adulthood, the stunning pictures, the articles that made eating seem like a very serious business.

                                                                                  It never occurred to me that an inexperienced cook should learn some technique before attempting many of those recipes. I tried the ones my mother would let me try anyway. One in particular involved making little marzipan fruits by hand, and I remember, at age 12, presenting this pie with these hideously misshapen little marzipan peaches to my parents' guests.

                                                                                  1. Gourmet was my mainstay. The only other cooking magazine I love is Saveur. I loved getting a new issue, I loved counting the recipes I could do with my increasing skills and limited budget which were numerous (and I'm on food stamps) I loved the articles on travel. I loved the photographs. I still have a box of them in my closet. This was RR gourmet. I'm a whippersnapper. I wanted to wear a black armband when I found out it got the axe.

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: YAYME

                                                                                      Thank you YAYME, thats exactly how I felt...

                                                                                    2. Totally agree. The sophistication and lack of playing down to the audience is sorely missed. I grew up with it and still grieve.

                                                                                      1. I miss Gourmet. I didn't mind so much the focus on eating ethically. It was the focus on the people making food rather than the food that bored me. I also missed the great travel articles of the pre-Ruth period as well.

                                                                                        1. Maybe the dearth of inspiration on the magazine front is driving the popularity of the Cookbook of the Month discussion? We have to go for immersion rather than a quick dip...

                                                                                          1. I very happily whiled away a somewhat under the weather day today with the current Saveur. They are really putting out a good magazine these days. When they started out it struck me as a Gourmet wannabe, but now it is better than anything but the Gourmet of the halcyon days (70's-80's). Excellent topics, photography, recipes...and no Ruth Reichl. Thankfully.

                                                                                            1. I recently read somewhere that the powers that be at Conde Nast(y) where a little taken aback at the backlash of their decision. They assumed that everyone would happily accept a transfer to Bon Appetite and that all would be well and good.

                                                                                              1. I can't believe I am missing a magazine but I am really missing Gourmet. There are only 2 magazines that I really don't want to do without and they are The New Yorker and Gourmet. What an insult!!! to offer Bon Appetit to Gourmet subscribers. PLEASE BRING BACK GOURMET MAGAZINE!

                                                                                                1. Gourmet was by far the best food magazine out there. Bon Appetite has a cheap look to it, in my opinion, probably the reason for Gourmet's execution was its production expense. I saved about 6 issues that I'm happy to have, and wish now that I'd saved many more.

                                                                                                  1. The old Gourmet Website is available at Archive.org on the Wayback machine (Give it a minute to load after clicking on link):

                                                                                                    http://web.archive.org/web/2008012017...?

                                                                                                    http://wayback.archive.org/web/200802...

                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                    1. re: Antilope

                                                                                                      Although the website was by far the least of it. Conde Nast was the last big media company to adapt to digital, and Epicurious, the food site, was almost wholly run by BonAp.

                                                                                                    2. no. but i do miss the old gourmet. the latter incarnation was a mere trendied up shadow of the magazine in its heyday. those are gems!

                                                                                                      1. Oh, I so totally miss my Gourmet Magazine!!!! Bon Appetite doesn't even approach it. All I can read to console myself these days is "Saveur" & "Fine Cooking".

                                                                                                        1. One thing I'd like to say here: I only recently figured out that the very old copy of Gourmet I've had for years is in fact the FIRST issue (having finally read some of the stuff at the front!). It is dated January 1941. What's especially interesting to me about this is that I too entered the world in January 1941. That debut was rather less widely known, of course, nor did Robert P. Tristram Coffin write anything in connection with that as he did for Gourmet.

                                                                                                          As for my having outlived the magazine by a few years now, I hate that it's gone, but rather glad I'm not. I'm also glad I did buy that big yellow cookbook, one of my very few new-cookbook purchases, to add to the several old Gourmet cookbooks that now take up a couple of feet of shelf all by themselves. As to the "decline" of Gourmet in its later years, I have some copies from the late 1970s, and I have to say that their preservation of the original '40s layout and their obsequious color features about overdressed French aristocracy and overdressed French food made that magazine a sad caricature of its original, very American self. So sad that it got killed off just as such bright natives as Jane and Michael Stern had come aboard.