Conde Nast to Shutter Gourmet; FoodNerd Mourns

By Lady Bird October 5, 2009

Oh, man. What terrible news for a Monday morning: Conde Nast, citing declining ad sales and a need to "narrow our focus to titles with the greatest prospects for long-term growth," is shuttering Gourmet Magazine, effective this morning.

As I've written in the past, Gourmet is superior to Bon Appetit—its rival, also owned by Conde Nast, which focuses on "quick weeknight dinners" and "feeding your family fast"—in virtually every way:

Unlike Gourmet—which includes elegant recipes, travel tips, party ideas, and stories on food politics—Bon Appetit assumes you’re a harried working mom who only cooks because you have to, what with the hungry husband and whining children and unexpected guests perpetually at the door. And it assumes you’re completely comfortable—cozy, even—with overpriced “convenience” foods, like store-bought pesto, stale cut-up veggies, and canned broth.

Oh, and also, you’re looking for diet tips.

Bon Appetit talks down to readers, treating them like idiots who've never come across basic ingredients like hoisin sauce and sea salt, and avoids the kind of aspirational stories and recipes that were Gourmet's specialty. The loss of Gourmet, along with its legendary editor Ruth Reichl, is a sad outgrowth of the lousy economy—and tremendous blow to the food publishing world.
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