In November, 2009, when I heard the astounding news that Conde Nast decided to eliminate the publication of Gourmet I was shocked. “This magazine has been a part of my life every since I was married,” I wailed. “Couldn’t Conde Nast call for a vote? Summon a focus group? Just a snap of corporate fingers and it’s gone?”
I have so many memories of this wonderful publication.
The first recipe I tried was “Dill Bread Hoffman.” That recipe brought a raging battle to the “Letters to the Editor” page.
“How dare those Hoffmans steal my recipe and then name it after themselves? I submitted that recipe first.”
The pride in family recipes was very serious to the original Dill Bread bakers.Their published temper tantrum added a Country Brawl quality to the magazine.
I was bought back to one traumatic pre-Thanksgiving when my son was in second grade. He came home from school in tears. He had forgotten to tell me that bis teacher requested that the children ask their mothers to serve a typical pilgrim dinner that night.
“Everyone told the class what they had for dinner. Most kids said stuff like, turkey, corn, and squash. But when it was men turn I said Szechuan beef with Chinese mushrooms. Everyone laughed at me.”
My defense? Gourmet had featured recipes from China in the last issue.
Every month when Gourmet arrived I enjoyed a reprieve from humdrum ordinary to exotic. It connected me with famous, sophisticated chefs divulging coveted recipes.
And they were receptive to their subscribers. Once, after a vacation to La Jolla, California, I requested a recipe from Sante Ristorante. One day a letter from Gourmet arrived, containing the recipe for “Papardelle with Fennel Sauce,” compliments of the chef. Gourmet had made time to call and get the respond to my request.
Now they were being forced out of my life forever.
Is it possible to mourn a publication? I did.
Feeling the need for comfort, someone with whom to share my feelings, a way to connect with a past Gourmet experience, I found Sante Restorante and dialed their number. Rather than a greeting from the restaurant I heard a computerized voice saying that the number had been permanently disconnected.
“So they’re gone too!”
As I sorrowfully looked through the last issue ever to be published, November 2009, “A Day That Will Live In Culinary Infamy,” those annoying little post cards advertising new subscriptions kept falling out from between the pages. They were annoying before but now they were infuriating.
“I’ll show Conde Nast what I think of their company’s policy!”Searching through all the Gourmet Magazines stored on my kitchen shelves, I gathered every single postcard and mailed them back to Conde Nast.
They will have to pay for all that postage for those cards. I hope they have to declare Bankruptcy, Chapter 11, and income tax evasion.
So I wonder, “If Julia Child were here today what would she think of what I did?”