Elastic Waistbands and Gourmet

I don’t read Vogue, even for free in the beauty salon. The clothes are designed for women who are six inches taller than I’ll ever be, 50 pounds lighter, and priced at 200 times my average purchase. And frankly, none of the outfits have elastic waists. Plus the models always wear heels – ‘nuff said.

So why was I struck with sadness to note the closing of Gourmet magazine? It’s not like I was ever going to make one of their 15-step recipes, with ingredients that can’t be found within a 25-mile radius of my home, and cost more than my weekly grocery bill? But for me, Gourmet was Vogue for cooks, but with all that butter in the recipes, understood that elastic waists are a given. I didn’t actually want to cook anything in the magazine, but they made food look gorgeous and inviting. Sort of like a designer showcase house – you don’t actually want to live there since there probably isn’t a comfortable chair in the place – but it’s fascinating to see the different decorator visions.

I like to cook. I find it relaxing and creative. So it’s no surprise that Rachel Brenner, the co-star of Murder Off the Books and Murder Takes the Cake, enjoys preparing meals. Her pantry always has the makings of something good, even when unexpected guests show up at six in the morning. For Rachel – and me – cooking touches a primeval instinct to provide for family.

My mother, the original Evelyn, had zero interest in food preparation. She had a full-time job and my Dad traveled three out of four weeks in the month. So my childhood dinners were some broiled overdone meat and two cans of vegetables. Throw in an iceberg lettuce salad, and dinner was on the table in under 10 minutes and consumed in under five. In contrast, however, our holiday meals were always bountiful and delicious – because she insisted that the best way to create a holiday meal was to buy it. The emphasis was on being together –not being stuck in the kitchen.

And that’s actually the part that Evelyn, the original, Rachel, the character, and I share. While I enjoy puttering around the kitchen, what I really love is seeing my family and friends around the table with me (in my elastic waist slacks!).

Au Revoir, Gourmet magazine. You will be missed.

Evelyn David

Murder Takes the Cake by Evelyn David
Murder Off the Books by Evelyn David

3 replies
  1. Vicky Polito
    Vicky Polito says:

    I feel badly that the people at Gourmet are going to be out of work, at least some of them, and it's too bad that we're losing one element of variety from the magazine rack, but Gourmet had fallen off in quality over the years. To me, anyhow. But, it was still ahead of Food & Wine in my heart, which has REALLY lost it's appeal.

    Gourmet got too full of ads for things that I'd bet over 80% of its readership couldn't or wouldn't buy and it focused on similar food and travel. Same story for Food & Wine.

    Historical value and other attributes aside, these days I turn to Saveur and Bon Appetit because they are still giving me a mix of recipes and can (and do!?) use with some things that are in the category of "reach for the stars".

  2. Misa
    Misa says:

    I turn to Cooking LIght and EveryDay Food (Martha Stewart's small monthly which I LOVE!). These are definitely more my speed, though I agree, admiring the pics in a magazine like Gourmet is never wasted time!

  3. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    It is very interesting for me to read the article. Thanks for it. I like such topics and anything connected to this matter. BTW, why don't you change design :).

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