Some Dreams Aren’t Meant to Be

You’ve probably already heard. Everybody is blogging about it. Conde Nast has decided to stop publication of Gourmet. And not next year. This issue, the November issue, will be the last one. Ever.

I understand that businesses have to make decisions that aren’t going to be popular with everyone. And I will say that I have not always been a huge Gourmet fan. But under Ruth Reichl, the magazine changed. It got exciting again. I’ve looked forward to reading it and have followed the blogs of contributors like John T. Edge, Francis Lam, and Hodding Carter. They’ve been writing about important aspects of food in America today, and making it enjoyable to read.

As an aspiring food writer, I’ve thought that I would like to join those ranks, that I would like to write for Gourmet, that I would be proud to. That will never happen now.

Sure, they’re not going to leave the Internet. The blogs may still be around. But that’s not quite the same as seeing your name in print on a magazine page, as knowing that people sitting in cafes, airports, and doctors offices will pick it up and read what you wrote, that your article may be the reason some people actually buy the magazine. It’s a change that will affect the writers, some of whom I consider friends.

Gourmet has been around for over 60 years. It’s a loss that people will feel. Even though Conde Nast also publishes Bon Appetit, they’re not the same. The loss of Gourmet creates a hole that there’s no other magazine to step in and fill. When I think about being at the bookstore and looking at the food magazines, it seems that the majority anymore are tied to names, that they’re spin-offs of celebrity cooking shows, or they’re very regionalized and directed specifically to women. They’re not magazines that tell food stories on the whole.

I’ll miss those food stories. Maybe it will inspire me and the other bloggers out there to tell more of them ourselves. If anything, it makes me not want to wait until I think I’m ready to submit an idea. If you wait too long, there won’t be anyone to submit your ideas to.

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