You might be wondering what's taking me so long to tell you about my time in Italy and France...well I've been distracted today, and have spent quite a bit of time on a certain website, pilfering as many recipes as I can. My time in a foreign country can wait, but a wealth of well written and tested, creative and classic recipes that I thought I would always have access to but might not - can't. So this is where you'll find me. Sifting, sorting, printing, sadly pining for a culinary institution.
This is old news by now, but the day I was wandering the streets of a French Riviera town, shopping for the perfect Cote du Provence, baguette, creamy Religeuse, and haricots verts for a garden lunch, Gourmet magazine was announcing its closing. Since I was sitting in a garden drinking wine, feeding the cat chevre and nibbling on pissaladiere, I didn't know it until my arrival home.
Gourmet magazine is the oldest running food magazine in America and at the ripe old age of 69 years it will close with its current November 2009 issue. Whether you buy Gourmet or not, you probably know of it. And personal opinions aside, its what many would consider the gold standard of food publications, made possible by some of the best food writers, stylists and photographers, not to mention a diverse and info packed website and perhaps the best food tv series I've ever come across.
I've never been a subscriber, I don't buy it every month, or even every year. But that's not a comment on its quality or content, just a decision I have made over the years to be ruthless with my magazine intake (as someone with every issue of Martha Stewart made since 1996, I can say with experience that magazines can start requiring their own rooms). Gourmet magazine was a comfort to a foodie like me - I liked knowing it was there, and I expected it always would be and it was one of the first food magazines I seeked out when I was just starting to realize my passion for food. Now I read it for inspiration and awe as an aspiring food writer and marvel at the seemingly effortless style of photography gracing its glossy pages. I would flip through its pages catching a review of a restaurant in a far away city I hoped to return to some day, or curiously look in on what they had to say about restaurants in my own city. Travel advice, well written recipes for Boeuf Bourgignon to Cherry Custard Ice Cream and everything in between were all reasons to check in once in awhile.
I'm saddened by the loss of this institution, and I do believe it is a loss. No other magazine can tell the story of so many decades of food trends from post war Paris to modern day global fusion like this magazine as a publication that wrote of it all from beginning to end. I will miss its continuity on the stand at the grocery store and the newsletter in my inbox, especially knowing that inferior magazines survive. And I happily renew my FineCooking Magazine, in hopes that it doesn't also suffer the same fate.
So for now, I'm trolling www.gourmet.com, copying recipes that catch my eye before the site is gone forever. They should keep me busy for awhile. Thanks for the recipes, Gourmet. We'll be cooking them for years to come.