More on Gourmet
In another of a series of fantastic food articles in Salon, Alex van Buren sums up what I've been trying to articulate over the last couple days and haven't been able to -- that sure, it's an easy cheap shot to call Gourmet elitist and out of touch, but one thing overlooked by all the Monday morning quarterbacks is that Gourmet was the rare magazine that managed to really capture the inherent emotionality of food, which I'm phrasing poorly, but that grasped that food could bring both joy and suffering, and told the stories of both. Van Buren on Reichl:
I would suggest that Ruth Reichl was not a snob, but -- at her best -- an egalitarian badass. She is a lover of food in all its sensuous, unruly glory. She put haute French chefs like Daniel Boulud in line for a food cart on the street. She ran features about politics and poverty -- the life of a tomato laborer, a brilliant Chinese cook serving $7 entrées in Toronto, the travails of a restaurant parking valet. She asked Dominican novelist Junot Diaz to wax poetic about his Bronx childhood and sent readers from all corners of Gotham scurrying onto the 4/5 train to eat crunchy arroz con gandules (rice and pigeon peas).
The brilliant Julia Langbein, writing in New York magazine, has similar to say:
But what makes me sad about Condé Nast's decision to shutter the magazine isn't the death of this iconic American image of the good life, but rather the end of the kind of work done behind that image.
Me, I'm just sad. I'm sad for my friends who no longer have jobs, I'm sad for the industry that saw Gourmet as unsupportable, and I'm sad for the stories that won't get told.