I mentioned I was commenting on the passing of Gourmet as a travel entry. "Travel?" I was asked - how. Oh, let me count the ways!
I received my first subscription to Gourmet Magazine as a wedding present in 1966 and I was hooked. The pictures, the ingredients, the tips on setting the table - just the elegance and celebration of food as an event. I remember a Thanksgiving in Michigan with my new, no nonsense, UP Fin in-laws. I was not only the first non Fin to marry into the family but horrors - not even a Lutheran. They were nothing but gracious to me but I curled a few toes by introducing a bourbon-laced sweet potato souffle to the long-established Thanksgiving menu. Oh and I still can close my eyes and savor a Non Humble Pie in I think 1976 - dark chocolate and raspberries - and the triumph as I brought this to the table. Other pies followed, ones with free-form crusts supporting meltingly ripe and sweet apples- rustic, I think was the term used.
But travel? It was a travel magazine - in those years when travel was out of the question I had only to open my issue each month to find myself in a corner of France, a bustling city in Italy, a taverna in Greece . As Gourmet branched out from safe Europe to test the waters of more exotic cuisines, I was right there, along with a huge wedge of my generation as we explored souks, toasted spices, pickled lemons. We got daring with our table settings - mixed sets of dishes , did away with table clothes, searched for unique centerpeices.
Even my own once scorned native cuisine of Ireland grew lustrous in the pages of Gourmet. I cooked in delight, humble dishes from childhood taken to a new level as rich farm creams and cheeses, hormone free pork and wild salmon became all the rage, bursting with flavor and memories of home.
And then we traveled even further afield and I learned the delights of Asian cooking - will never forget the first Thai meal I cooked for friends all the recipes sourced from the pages of Gourmet, the photos stuck on my fridge to guide me. I learned about plating - making the look of the food match the wonder of the taste.
When I could afford to travel ,back issues of Gourmet were a resource for travel tips, restaurants, must try foods. Stories and reviews were carefully cut out, pasted in my notebook to become my travel guides.
More recently I've followed Gourmet's take on thinking about where our food comes from, the political and economic ramifications of big time farming; I've learned about artisanal cheeses; grass fed meats; organically grown vegetables and fruits. I am going to miss you, Gourmet.
There is still a chance for a last hurrah. I understand that the November issue is in the mail. Once again as in countless past years, my family will determine our Thanksgiving menu from its pages.
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