Just received an email from a friend who works at a Conde Nast publication, saying, “I had to read this three times to make sure I was still employed,” referring to the memo, released this morning, saying the company is ceasing three of its publications, including Gourmet.
I will wager everyone over a certain age who cooks has a Gourmet story. Here’s mine: I started subscribing to the magazine at age 12, thinking it so beautiful, so sophisticated; all these articles and beautiful photos from places like Gstaad and Vienna. It wasn’t that I dreamed of going to these places, but of being the sort of person who went to these places. In the meantime, I baked from the magazine’s recipes. Yes, at age 12, I was making a 12-layer Dobosh Torte.
I kept my subscription for 20 years, keeping years worth of the magazines shelved in the guest bathroom of the very first home my daughter and I lived in alone. I thought it a beautiful touch. A year later, I was contacted by Bon Appetit, to begin writing for them. They sent me on ski trips and cruises; I ate in cities all over, swam in three seas, for articles with beautiful photos. I had become that person I dreamed of, which astounded me.
Bon Appetit (whom I continue to write for) and Gourmet are both published by Conde Nast, and today, there is no more Gourmet. The wedge cut this makes in my day-to-day life will not be visible (for now), but psychically, something direct has been taken. When I metaphorically close my eyes, I see a road once traveled by a few writers and editors who were moving on by choice, or because they were not suited to the work, now increasingly crowded, moving briskly, but in which direction?
[You can read more of Nancy Rommelmann's writing at her personal blog: NancyRommelmann.typepad.com/]