Goodbye Gourmet

Gourmet, a magazine of "almost biblical status" in the food world, went under this morning after 68 years in print. My editor there, Jane Daniels Lear, brought the magazine most of its Southern writers. I met her at a Southern Foodways Alliance symposium in Oxford, Mississippi. She encouraged me to write stories about subjects other food magazines wouldn't touch.

For Gourmet's Latino food issue, I wrote about taco trucks all over the country and the immigrants who run them -- hardly a story I expected to see in glossy Gourmet. Several years ago, the magazine ran my feature about an African-American cowboy cook named Mama Sugar and the Juneteenth celebration she holds at her trailer home and horse farm in Frisco. The story was turned down by other food magazines. It was the first Juneteenth story Gourmet ever ran. But in truth, it was the black-and-white photography by O. Rufus Lovett that made the story.

I have no doubt that superstars like Ruth Reichl and Jane Daniels Lear will quickly move on to the next big thing. Bon Appetit, Condé Nast's other food mag, will remain in business. But I, for one, will miss the unexpectedly edgy editorial bent of Gourmet.

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