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WND – Poor Jud is dead . . .

October 16, 2009

detritus

In a move that apparently surprised absolutely everyone, Conde Nast announced last week that it would be shutting down Gourmet magazine while its sister magazine, Bon Appetit, would survive. I’m not quite sure how I feel about that.

Gourmet was the original food magazine. Founded in 1941 it was the ‘it’ magazine for the foodie crowd long before the term foodie came into existence. It was the magazine that presented gourmet food to the American audience and epitomized the concept of haute cuisine in America. It was also the magazine that presumed that its readers all lived somewhere that they could get fresh apricots in February, and find obscure ethnic ingredients in their local grocery store, which is to say New York or California. It was the magazine where every recipe involved at least one ingredient I’ve never heard of, or would have to special order from the internet.

Gourmet was where you turned if you wanted to read about new trends in the food industry and find out exactly what was up with the molecular gastronomy movement, or to peruse thoughtful articles about the human costs of the food industry (and eagerly await the next month’s issue for the range of reader responses – the Letters to the Editor page is always my favorite section of any magazine). Their sister magazine, Bon Appetit, is much more of a cooking magazine rather than a food magazine. It doesn’t do uncomfortable juxtapositions of glossy food porn on one page and an article about the ethics of eating lobster on the other. Bon Appetit is more likely to do a spread on Sunday brunch in three locales with recipes. It’s a more practical source of information for the average home cook, and it has recipes you might actually make for occasions you might actually have, and the articles tend to be about other people like you and not about people who have $400 to spend on four cheese knives.

I’m the girl who thinks that classics should be taught in school, and wanted her grandmother’s antique glassware not because I think everyone will enjoy the classics or because I had any need for antique white wine glasses. I think the classics should be taught because they’re classics and if you don’t know what came before how can you understand what comes next. And I wanted my grandmother’s glassware because it was my grandmother’s and it’s beautiful, not because I have any use for it. Put another way, I almost never made a recipe out of Gourmet because frankly any recipe that requires me to special order an ingredient is going to the bottom of the pile, but on the other hand, where else am I going to read an article about the plight of the tomato industry workers, or read about spending a week at an organic pig farmers in Virginia eating gourmet sausages, or traveling around Italy with Mario Batali on a food trip?

Don’t get me wrong, Bon Appetit is more often what inspires what I make for dinner and it’s got plenty of glossy food porn to go around. I’m going to miss Gourmet magazine not because it was remotely practical, but because it was impractical. It was full of recipes I would never make, and flatware I can’t afford and let me daydream about food exploits I will probably never experience. I like Bon Appetit, but sometimes, it’s just a little too prosaic to allow for really inspired flights of fantasy.

Chili
Cornbread
Salad

Jen’s Father’s Chili
There’s a Dutch adage that says you shouldn’t turn on your heat until after the horse fair in Zuidlaren. This is usually something that gets semi-sanctimoniously quoted at me when I email my parents (who, mind you, live in the South of France) to tell them I’ve turned on my heat. I held out for longer than usual this year, but when I woke up on Wednesday morning and the house was 55 degrees I caved to reality and turned on the heat.

Out of curiosity I looked up when exactly the horse fair in Zuidlaren is held. As it turns out it’s held on the third Tuesday in October which is next week, so I almost made it this year. Clearly I’m just not as hardy as my Dutch ancestors. Equally clearly, now that we’ve officially left Fall and entered Winter, it’s time for chili.

Recipe previously given:  Chili & the Perils of Pottery

chili

Cornbread

Recipe previously given:  Chili Take II

corn bread

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One comment

  1. Aww, I missed my dad’s chilli? (which I have recently learned is actually my mom’s chilli.). Bummer. Cheryl and I were just talking about chilli the other day. I guess I’ll have to make it myself afterall.



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