Let me start by saying, for the record, I love food blogs. I read many; I value several; I am inspired by a bunch.
However, food blogs are no replacement for Gourmet magazine. After 68 years, Gourmet will be closing. November 2009 will be the last issue. I recognize that as a country, we have large looming issues like health care, wars, sub-par education, foreign policy issues. The list goes on…and on. But for me, Gourmet is Mom and Apple Pie. You see, I am a foodie. Self-proclaimed, lover of all things food. I love shopping for it, cooking it, eating it. I have a stack of cookbooks and magazines (Gourmet!) beside my bed. If you come to my house, I will likely be cooking. Gourmet helped teach me how to create not just consume.
So it is with great trepidation (and naturally, no dramatic hyperbole) that we now enter a world sans Gourmet. To echo my elders "What is this world coming to!" when people are unwilling to pay for good content. When the world demands free. A terrible, depressing world of self-entitlement, I say.
There it's out. I think we have become a world of self-entitled, why should I have to pay, your content is worth my eyeballs but not worth my money society.
And this, my friends is sad. Very, very sad. And dangerous. If Gourmet goes away, what's next? Are we on the road to content written and managed and edited by…well, nobody. Written of course by someone, but quality control? Hmmm.
I suspect that many readers of Gourmet would have paid more for our subscriptions. And sadly, because running a print publication is no cheap feat, that probably would not have been enough to sustain this fabulous publication. So we needed ads. Well, people hate ads. And the advertisers recognize this somewhere (they understand their ads in print are "not effective"), so they stop advertising. And when subscribers stop paying, we fuel the advertisers' fire ("How many PAYING subs do you have?").
We have with free free free created, therefore, a vicious circle. Folks, SOMEBODY has to pay for quality. To use a wonderfully appropriate (and true) cliche, there ain't no free lunch. And I fear that with the free movement, we have created a Monster of Mediocracy. Gourmet's content was edited, culled, reviewed, tested and for many, trusted. My recipes (which I post here every once in a while) are the wild west of cooking! I can assure you that nobody died by eating what I cook but that's about it. Don't trust me, trust Gourmet!
I think we are asking too much to expect advertisers alone to support quality. WE, the consumer, may have to pony up. Seriously, what is the last ad in print that you remember? That moved you to purchase? If you are drawing a blank and then move on to page through a favorite magazine, look at it as an ENDANGERED SPECIES. Especially if you pay little to nothing for that magazine.
I can hear some of you thinking I am going overboard, get with it, jump on the bandwagon. But I associate the monthly receipt of Gourmet magazine with inspiration, a catalyst for creativity, a bevy of ideas that will draw friends together. Heck, they even did the menu planning for me.
So as a social experiment, I grabbed http://twitter.com/savegourmet. I have no idea if there is something to be done here, but if viewers of Party of Five could bring that show back to life, perhaps there is a way through social collaboration that we can rally support for Gourmet.