By Sarah Lagrotteria
I know I’m not the only one in mourning today.
As melodramatic as it sounds, I can’t imagine my world without Gourmet Magazine. I loved Gourmet long before I loved to cook. My grandmother, a wonderful cook, tried not to throw away a single issue. She stashed them everywhere–on a table in the guest bedroom, under her bed, in an antique firewood box next to the sofa. I spent hours poring over the glossy photos and reading the recipes line by line, imagining that I knew from experience just what would happen if you didn’t let your meat rest after roasting and nodding knowingly as the recipe told me. I wasn’t sold on cooking itself–my own mom didn’t seem to enjoy it and it struck me as a lot of work– but, Gourmet in hand, I was an armchair cook extraordinaire.
Fashion and lifestyle magazines are deemed aspirational, but Gourmet was that for me. It’s what first prompted me to think of cooking as place– as where we come from and who we want to be, how we want to make people feel. Gourmet is where I discovered that all those words I loved in books–words like warming and verdant and gooey— applied not only to radiators and smiles, grass and spring, mud and glue, but to spices and cheeses and caramels as well. All those vibrant words and photos literally opened up another world to me, one in which oysters weren’t just cold and squishy but an actual bit of foggy San Francisco, where I had never been, and that dal, made a certain way, was home itself for someone not unlike me in her love of comfort food. More importantly, Gourmet served as a guide that remained meaningful long after I’d warmed myself with enough good words, good voices and good recipes to start creating my own world, meal by meal.
It will be missed.