Magazine Bloodletting Continues As 'Gourmet,' 'Modern Bride,' And Others Go

The April 2009 cover of Gourmet magazine.

hide captionGourmet magazine, along with three other publications, will close, Conde Nast has announced.

Gourmet

Cooking is on something of a popular-culture roll these days, with the Food Network, Top Chef, Julie & Julia and other artifacts demonstrating that people still have an interest in cooking.

But serious food journalism was dealt a blow today as Conde Nast announced the shuttering of Gourmet magazine, as well as Modern Bride, Elegant Bride and Cookie.

They'll still publish Bon Appetit for foodies, but Bon Appetit is much more recipe/how-to oriented, while Gourmet is more interested in the entire world surrounding food and restaurants (they're heavily into sustainability and ethics questions about the treatment of farm workers and so forth).

Bon Appetit seems to be more of a wave-riding publication — serious, but also ready to take advantage of the tie-ins that make food, in both highbrow and lowbrow ways, a part of readers' lives. Put it this way: Bon Appetit reports the goings-on at Fox's Hell's Kitchen, which is trashy even for a cooking-related reality show, while Gourmet featured a blistering review of Julie & Julia that takes as vitriolic an anti-Julie-Powell a position as I've seen anywhere.

Gourmet people are proudly serious about food, and the magazine has been led for years by editor-in-chief Ruth Reichl, one of the most influential food writers, if the not the most influential one, in the country. It's not that Gourmet is disappearing as a brand — Conde Nast is apparently keeping it up for book publishing and television purposes — but the wails of miserable subscribers in the comments section of the New York Times discussion of this development makes it clear that they're feeling the loss.

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