Friday, April 23, 2010

A Four-Course Elegy to Gourmet Magazine

October 5, 2009, the day that Gourmet Magazine announced that it was throwing in the towel, our hearts all skipped a beat. Was it really possible, or, like Mia Farrow in Rosemary’s Baby, were we all in a feverish nightmare trying to wake up to the smells of something good coming from the kitchen? No, it wasn't a dream; it was really happening. We had just renewed our subscription (for two years . . . we loved it that much) just the day before. What would we do now?

Cousin Barbara e-mailed us the press announcement as reported by the New York Times. She suggested that we should come together to celebrate the life of this golden magazine by cooking our favorite recipes culled from shelves of dog-eared magazines, compilation books, and stained recipes printed from Epicurious. A gustatory feast? What an inspired way to eulogize the years of culinary inspiration, for not only did Gourmet provide each and every one of us with recipes to provoke, comfort, and challenge, it also gave us glimpses into the world of top-notch chefs, food writers, growers, butchers, and manufacturers. Every time we opened the mailbox and saw the latest issue awaiting us, our hearts aflutter, our eyes glued to the cover dish, we’d wonder what photo or seasonal veggie would inspire us to make our shopping list and walk to the local market in preparation for our next Gourmet meal.

Every Gourmet reader had their favorite month. Traditionalists loved November, filled with Thanksgiving side recipes and new ways to make the turkey tender and savory. For some, fall’s orchard recipes would inspire pastry chefs of all ages to break out the rolling pin and start dusting the counter with flour. For others, many would count the days before the first spring issue arrived, excited for new recipes with peas, asparagus, and artichokes, almost forgetting what these harbingers of spring tasted like after a surfeit of winter root veggies.

We decided to wait until spring to break bread. The season of renewal would inspire us, even if some of used fall recipes. Just so long as we made some of our favorites. It didn’t matter that none of us made a meat dish, or that there were two pasta dishes. This was about love and loyalty and getting together with friends to share an evening hanging out in the kitchen, and moving into the dining room when it was time. For a challenge, we’d also have to pair our dish with a beverage, either alcoholic or non-.

To read more about this adventure of 4 foodies and the amazing dishes they made, plus two delicious and refreshing drink recipes, click here.

Fava Bean and Pecorino Bruschette, plus recipes for Oysters Rockefeller, the Tom Collins, The Mocktail, and links to recipes for the very best Macaroni and Cheese; Almond-Crusted Shrimp Cakes with Lemon Soy Mayonnaise; and Mushroom, Radicchio, and Smoked Mozzarella Lasagne. Click here.

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