Yesterday, Ruth Reichl made her biggest post-Gourmet public splash yet when she appeared on NPR's "Fresh Air" program to talk shop for nearly 40 minutes. The entire segment is online, and the breakdown is as such: Reichl talks Gourmet for the first eight minutes or so, then recipes (minute 9), her memoir Not Becoming My Mother (minute 14) and the role of home-cooked meals and whatnot (minute 25+). Below are some highlights from the portion of the interview that revolved around the untimely demise of Gourmet.
On the shuttering news: "Everybody was stunned. None of us saw this coming. You know, we knew that ads were bad, but it's been a hard time industry-wide. There was no arguing that the ad picture had been really dismal but I still thought that a magazine that had a circulation of one million and devoted, devoted readers and had been an icon is a different animal from any of the other epicurean magazines. I could never imagine that the magazine itself could go away."
Why Gourmet was special: "It's the only one of the big epicurean magazine that covers politics and science and takes food as a whole world unto itself ... we did a lot of serious journalism and a lot of really great writing."
On the sticker on the Gourmet cookbook offering a free subscription to Gourmet: "That's just one of the many ironic things in this whole situation."
Her goal as editor: "I wanted to broaden what an epicurean magazine could be. I've always thought that food could be a prism for looking at the world."
What she would've written if she knew the November issue was the last: "I think I would've said how proud I was of this magazine and how proud I was of this group of people. Working there was the best job I've ever had ... when they trust you, [Conde Nast] completely let me do the magazine I wanted to do. There was no second-guessing for ten years."
· Ruth Reichl: A New Book And The End Of 'Gourmet' [NPR]
· Reichl Speaks; Already Planning a Conde Nast Memoir (!) [~EN~]
· Ruth Reichl Was Very Hopeful on Saturday, Stunned Today [~EN~]
· All Gourmet Coverage [~EN~]