Homage to Good Living


Gourmet Magazine Cover, February, 1947

The Magazine of Good Living closed this week after a 68-year run, leaving behind a rather chichi reputation. Its pages shimmer with luxe ads for Cartier watches, champagne and the occasional feature on a palatial hotel or “where our critics would dine with $1,000.” The magazine is being condemned in some quarters as irrelevant in the current economy, a victim of its own food snobbery — its long features and sometimes-difficult recipes out of touch with a “yummo” world dominated by 10-minute meals and Rachael Ray. In today’s New York Times, Kim Severson writes that Condé Nast’s decision to keep the recipe-packed, ad-rich sibling Bon Appetit alive while shuttering Gourmet was a “gut punch” for the “food elite — especially of an older generation.”  Former Julia Child editor Judith Jones sniffed, “Gourmet got away from the things that are going on in people’s homes, and seemed to be for an elite that got smaller and smaller.” …

Outgoing editor Ruth Reichl is bristling at intimations of elitism, and rightly so. After all, before this decade’s stint running Gourmet she was the woman known for wearing disguises as a critic for the New York Times. She publicly dressed down swanky Le Cirque after being treated like a pauper while in cognito. In her memoir “Garlic and Sapphires” she recounts how readers (and many in the highbrow food world) howled for her head when she began to review — gasp — sushi restaurants and noodle shops instead of French or Italian restaurants. “Elite” has got to sting.






~ by eaesthete on 10/07/09.

2 Responses to “Homage to Good Living”

  1. This was so shocking and sad for me. I had a letter pulished several years ago asking for the cucumber soup recipe from Stella Maris in Long Island, Bahamas. I’ve been a subscriber for years. What the hell is going on?!

    • Unfortunately, declines in readership and ad sales are contributing to publication shutdowns
      across the board. But I understand how you feel. When you’ve been a long-time subscriber,
      it’s like losing an old friend.

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