I read today with a pang of sorrow tinged with nostalgia that the November issue of Gourmet magazine, the oldest culinary magazine in North America, will be its last. Declining circulation and advertising revenue are to blame. The article noted how this magazine allowed our mothers and grandmothers to vicariously travel pre-Internet (and pre-TV for many) to whimsical vacation sports and offered famous recipes for them to create at home. All this daydreaming at a time when the world was at war and in turmoil (WWII). That may be true, but that is not my recollection of this magazine’s impact. You see, Gourmet was my father’s favourite magazine, not my mother’s or grandmother’s. I recall his reading this magazine not when the world was falling apart but when our family was still together in much happier and healthier times.
There were stacks of Gourmet magazines on his nightstand. He saved every single issue, read them cover to cover and stored them in safekeeping for later reference. My father was a fairly well- travelled man so am certain this aspect of the magazine appealed to him. Each family vacation we took, no matter where, involved one visit to an acclaimed restaurant no doubt inspired by his devotion to Gourmet. Most every Sunday morning he made breakfast in bed for my mother, the menu of which was very likely replicated from Gourmet. His love of wine and wine-making was no doubt inspired by his love of wine, but also because of his devotion to Gourmet.
We gather this coming weekend from all corners for a Thanksgiving feast, which is not likely to be inspired by Gourmet as my sister’s creativity requires no prodding or coaxing from the oldest culinary magazine in North America. I haven’t read or even thought about Gourmet in many years. I haven’t seen it lying around my parents’ home either since my father was moved to a chronic care facility. I do know, however, that I will be sure to pick up a copy of the November issue – just for old time’s sake.