A post about Gourmet Magazine because this is a food blog. « blogging for burgers

A post about Gourmet Magazine because this is a food blog.

So I need to have some sort of opinion.

I feel like I would be remiss not to post about Gourmet magazine being yanked from the shelves after the November issue (I don’t need to link to it because if you’re reading my blog, you probably know about this already).  Working in the marketing business, I have had long standing relationships with a few people who worked at Gourmet, and I have nothing but positive things to say about them all.

That said, my own relationship with the magazine has been a tumultuous one.  That’s a little melodramatic, but blogs revel in the extremes.  I am a dedicated reader of both Gourmet and bon appétit.  I will put that out there first.  Around five years ago, I devoured bon ap like there was no tomorrow.  To be honest, I didn’t like Gourmet.  I thought it was too hoity-toity, with all of its edit about traveling to Italy and eating truffles in Piedmont, and going to Warsaw to eat pierogi.  It was so snobbish.  BA was there, like a trusted advisor, for home chefs, like me.  I wasn’t going anywhere but the D’Agostino around the corner, and if I was feeling frisky, to the Grand Central Market.  I could have carried my passport if I went to Chinatown, just to make it feel authentic, but for all intents and purposes, I was a land-locked, cash-strapped, twenty-something with a tiny kitchen and a moderately strong food imagination.  Replete with recipes, BA was my go-to guide in the culinary world.

Then a funny thing happened.  The economy crashed.  Gourmet lost ad pages.  All of a sudden, Flushing, Queens, was the new “hot spot.”  The ad pages dropped dramatically.  McKinsey knows that.  But anyone who is a dedicated reader could have told you that long before looking at a P&L sheet.  For us readers, this was great.  We were getting: a) more relevant content; b) fewer pesky ads (ssh, don’t tell anyone I said that); and c) a better sense as to what Gourmet had been trying to do from the onset, before it got sucked into the Condé Nast “holier-than-all-other-magazines” way of operating.  I became a dedicated Gourmet reader.  I relished its arrival in my free magazine pile every month.  bon appétit lost me along the way, at some time around its “food porn” redesign.  I had gone Gourmet, and there was no turning back.  Chicken liver is for oafs… I only eat foie gras from the Périgord.

And now, Gourmet is gone.

Personally, I am conflicted about this.  While I will probably head back to BA, groveling with the smell of stale caviar on my breath, I will miss the feeling that I got from reading Gourmet.  That said, in all honesty, I will not read it online, I will not buy cookbooks under the brand name, and I will not watch “Diary of a Foodie.”  Basically, the brand will be dead to me.  And life will go on.  I really liked CHOW magazine, too, and we all know how that ended.

On a more professional note, I am less conflicted.  I am happy to see it go.  I think Condé needs to wake up and smell the roses, and I am glad that McKinsey is making this happen.  The editorial was great, but great editorial doesn’t always pay the bills (unfortunately for the editors).  From an advertiser’s viewpoint, the product was mediocre at best, and the disproportionately high ad pricing resulting in a disproportionately high decline in ad pages proves it.  Sorry, maybe you should have negotiated rates when you had the chance.


1 Response to “A post about Gourmet Magazine because this is a food blog.”

  • Although Gourmet did look down its nose at us, it was just living up to its name. My Grandma coveted her Gourmet issues — an avid NY Times cookbook enthusiast, she cooked the hard stuff… complicated and all dressed up in garnish. Back in the day when the magazine was big and the paper felt all special and thick… Back when chefs didn’t inspire to end up on the Food Network — Something was lost when Conde took the reigns. It wasn’t about trying to achieve culinary greatness anymore.

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