I was as shocked as everyone else when I read this morning that Condé Nast was closing Gourmet magazine. Well, possibly a little more shocked. Even though I read the rumors on different sites, I thought the magazine could struggle on in some form till better days. Unlike other embattled titles in the internet age, I felt a a real attachment to my Gourmet magazines. Despite the growing piles, I couldn’t bring myself to throw them out. A few weeks ago, in an Ikea-inspired organizational fit, I brought home magazine folders and finally stored them away. It was obvious the magazine had gone on a reluctant diet. Lined up on my bookshelves, you could literally see it disappear as their ad sales dwindled. A few weeks ago, I came across an old issue in a thrift store from January 1961. It was their twentieth anniversary edition and included an article about champagne, quotes from Voltaire, a recipe for peacock, and Bach themed feature on preparing chicken breast in between vintage ads. Of course, I could find most of Gourmet’s old recipes online, but only if I already know what I’m looking for, and then they’ll all look the same. I thought this quote from the publisher, taken from the inaugural issue and reprinted in 1961, prescient:
To those who would like to share a gourmet’s joie de vivre, GOURMET will speak that Esperanto of the palate that makes the whole world kin…good food, good drink, fine living…the universal language of the gourmet.
-Earle R. MacAusland, Publisher, Gourmet Magazine, 1941