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A history of Gourmet Magazine

Nov 17, 2014

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Think about the days when you had no Internet. No Food Network. No Epicurious. None of those websites where you can find any recipe in an instant.

In those pre-Internet days, food-lovers and cooks would find themselves turning to Gourmet.

The magazine was launched in 1941 and it folded in 2009.

The University of Michigan has a new exhibit on the magazine and, among other things, it features one issue from each of Gourmet's 69 years of publication.

Janice Longone joined us today. She's the adjunct curator of culinary history at the University of Michigan and the donor of an enormous collection of cookbooks, magazines, menus and more.

Listen to our conversation with Longone below:

The mission of Gourmet magazine was to give people a broader view of life, food, travel, quality, and other cultures, says Longone.

She notes that Gourmet began as a Francophile magazine, but it soon came to include articles about every country in the world.

During the early years of its existence, the magazine was a form of escapism from the raging war for readers.

One of the appeals of Gourmet Magazine, according to Longone, was that readers were always surprised at how much there was to learn. When the magazine finally folded, the food world went wild, says Longone.

Subscribers were shocked and dismayed, asking what they were going to do without the magazine, as it had become an important part of their culinary life.

The exhibit, Life and Death of Gourmet: The Magazine of Good Living, will run through December 1 at the U of M's Hatcher Library on the 7th floor.

Tomorrow, Longone will talk about the exhibit and her collection of Gourmet issues from 4-6PM at the Hatcher Library Gallery.