Looking Back at Gourmet

October 13, 2009

Stella’s curled up next to me, purring.  Hailey’s at my feet.  I’m getting ready to tape an interview with Terry Gross, and I’ve been thinking about the pieces that made me proudest at Gourmet. There were so many that transcended recipes and dealt with food as culture, science and politics. 

These are the ones that came immediately to mind:
The first farm issue ten years ago, with all the articles on hard times for farmers, and how they coped. The Latino issue, with that terrific Junot Diaz piece.  David Foster Wallace’s Consider the Lobster, which drove so many people crazy.  Barry Estabrook’s piece on tomato slaves, which had such a profound impact. His early piece on problems with fish farming, which also had an impact. The stunning piece about transfats, and how the bad news about them was kept from the public for more than 20 years. Daniel Zwerdling’s piece on chickens. David Rakoff on Jews and bacon. Bruce Feiler’s hilarious adventures as he tried to buy his way into restaurants.  All those gorgeous Ann Patchett essays.  Francis Lam on omelets. Michael Pollan on Joel Salatin. Aleksandra Crapanzano on falling in love in Paris.  Ben Cheever working at Cosi. John Haney’s Fair Shares for All. Phyllis Richman on land trusts… the list goes on and on. 

I am so sad that it’s over.

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1 Comment

  • I cannot tell you how sad I am as well.
    I am so nostalgic for the good old days of Gourmet, that tonight, it occurred to me to google you, and see if you had a blog somewhere, out there, and here you are!!! And I finally have a chance to say to you personally what a difference you have made in my life!!!
    I was a young bride living in Nashville, TN, when I first stumbled upon Gourmet magaziine. I was becoming disillusioned with my treasured Southern Living magazine because of a trend I saw there towards more of a reliance on processed, packaged foods. (In retrospect, I suspect it was due to writing recipes that incorporated processed foods due to advertising revenues.) Anyway, I was looking for something more, and shortly after finding Gourmet, you came on board as the editor.
    I fell in love with your writing, and with the direction you were taking the magazine, and OF COURSE with the spectacular recipes I was trying. Your Thanksgiving 101 issue got me through the first Thanksgiving meal that I was called upon to host, due to the death of my mother. I became a huge Gourmet devotée from that point on.
    Thank you, Ruth, for the difference your influence on that magazine made in my life, and in the lives of the members of my family.
    I think you ROCK! And I hope, maybe, someday, you’ll even read this.