Friday, November 13, 2009

Last of the Last

Creole Crab Dip

Makes about 2 1/2 cups
Active time: 15 minutes Start to Finish: 15 minutes

2 garlic cloves
1 cup sliced bottled roasted red peppers
1 1/2 tsp red wine vinegar
1/4 cayenne pepper
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 lb crabmeat, picked over
1 1/2 Tbsp finely chopped chives

*With motor running, drop garlic into a food processor and chop.
*Stop motor and add roasted red peppers, vinegar, cayenne and 1/2 tsp salt to food processor and purée until smooth. Add mayonnaise and process until combined.
*Transfer roasted red pepper mixture to a heavy medium pot and heat or a low heat. Gently stir in crabmeat and cook until just heated through, then stir in chives.

That's it.

That's it. That's how Gourmet Magazine ends 70 years of recipes, articles, reviews, stories, interviews and celebrating all things food.

That's it. The final recipe from the final issue of Gourmet. RIP, November, 2009. The "Thanksgiving" Issue. Big, brown, roasted turkey on the cover, no different than the 69 previous big, brown, roasted Thanksgiving turkeys.

Only this is the last one. No more turkey. No more "discoveries" that Martha Washington can haz the best turkey recipe evah: put the turkey into a hot oven and cook until it's done.


Adios Gourmet. It's been a good run.

You know, the thing I noticed about the final issue was the smell. Rather, the lack of smell. In recent years some of the major advertisers in Gourmet have been perfume companies who placed sachets of perfume or scratch-n-sniff pads on the pages. Seriously, there's nothing more off-putting when you're reading a recipe or trying to follow it in the kitchen than to be smacked in the nose with Chanel No. 5 or whatever.

I wrote a letter to Gourmet about the perfume ads but never got a reply. I suggested that perfumers develop scents more in line with kitchen smells: BBQ No. 5, or Bacon No. 5.

Yeah, I'd wear Bacon No. 5. I'd wear No. 6, 7 and 8, too!

Back to Gourmet. I subscribed to Gourmet for nearly 20 years. I would have made 20 years and beyond if the magazine hadn't folded! Duh. I even bought the annual recipe books, the Best of Gourmet. They line my kitchen bookshelf along with Julia Child, Emeril Lagasse, Alton Brown, Molly Wizenberg, James Beard, Jamie Oliver and many, many others.

About 10 years ago, having kept all the Gourmets since I started my subscription, I had a great purge. I simply couldn't keep much less keep track of all the magazines and recipes. Something had to be done. So, I went through each magazine with my handy dandy clipping tool and I extracted all the recipes I thought I might possibly cook, and articles that I might read again given a hundred years or so. Recipes like "bacon wrapped shrimp with Thai dipping sauce" survived, while "beet fritters" went to the landfill. Harsh, but it had to be done.

Looking at the ultimate Gourmet I asked myself what recipes would I keep and to be honest, this rare issue is a winner from aubergine to zucchini. I balked at "deviled eggs with pickled beets" but I might give it a try for old time's sake if for nothing else. (Actually, I was encouraged by the direction to "discard the beet mixture" which moved this recipe from the No Way category to Maybe.)

So, there you have it. Seventy years of turkeys, beets, titanium spoons, impossible to find ingredients and, all in all, wonderful food, wonderful times, wonderful experiences and always the excitement of what the next month would bring.

I'll miss Gourmet. Yeah, sometimes I took it for granted but I always looked forward to the next issue, knowing it was just a few weeks away.

As for the November issue, it's a keeper. Uncut, as it were. It goes on the Kitchen Bookcase with the other big guns.

On, and for a touch of irony, on the back cover the advertisement is for Chanel Coco Mademoiselle, and the model looks like she's starving ...

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