The Return of Gourmet (Kinda...)

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The good ol' days, kinda
I know that some of you still haven't quite gotten over the closure of Gourmet magazine last year. I know that some of you still bleed for that uniquely high/low mix of hardcore food and travel porn that Gourmet provided for most of its 68 year history. I know a lot of you miss the writing, that more of you miss the photography, that a lot of you probably even miss the trip out to the mailbox, the heft of the thing in your hands, the minor electrical shock of surprise on seeing what made the cover on any given month.

I still feel all these things. Though I was never a regular subscriber (and, therefore, stood as one of the causes of Gourmet's ultimate death), I did pick it up off the newsstands, read online and scour thrift stores and used book shops for the odd stack of back-issues or (even more rare) compendium volumes of recipes and photography from cuisine's Dark Ages. Though never faithful and rarely regular in my love for Gourmet, I was always happy knowing it was there, speaking for and to the wealthy, obsessed and coup-counting foodies and occasionally even coming up with an article (about Chinese markets in the the American Southwest or lowcountry grits or tours of great barbecue restaurants) that spoke directly to me. Gourmet was what I read when I was looking for an unimpeachable source on some strange culinary oddity or facing down a long airplane flight with no chance for drink service or a smoke for many hours.

And while I wish I could tell you that I had wonderful news about Gourmet magazine coming back--that the whole closure thing was just a hiatus or a hoax--I can't. Gourmet magazine is never coming back.

Except that, soon, it kinda is...

Wait! Before you get all freaked out, let me explain.

Gourmet isn't coming back as a magazine. That, sad to say, will probably never happen. But according to Eater.com, via a tweet from Women's Wear Daily and an announcement on a kind of place-holdery website at live.gourmet.com, it does look as though there will be some sort of Frankenstein-style rebirth of a pieced-together, web-only, gamer-friendly, iPhone ready, social-media-y version of Gourmet launching...sometime. This is part of the official announcement. Check it out:

"Condé Nast will introduce Gourmet Live, an entirely new digital content product, it was announced today by Charles H. Townsend, President and C.E.O. of the company. Gourmet Live is an immersive and interactive content experience built on an ever-expanding collection of articles, menus, photos, videos and more, encouraging social connectivity and sharing, and game play. It brings together branded high-quality content, social and location-based technology, as well as monetization structures new to Condé Nast, like virtual currency, that are typical in digital economies like gaming."

Yeah. Virtual currency...monetization structures...social connectivity. Sounds just like the old Gourmet, right?

Right...

Still, I have a lot of faith in the Gourmet brand and its ability to attract top-tier talent (and, more important, top-tier advertisers). So I'm going to hang-fire for the moment, give the thing a chance to actually launch, and then see if its worth my time. I've got my fingers crossed. Same as I do for the Huffington Post food blog did. And the new CNN food blog.

But pretty soon I'm gonna run out of fingers...

 
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