Here's your first look at the "special edition" release of Gourmet Quick Kitchen ($10.99) that recycles 81 recipes from the ghost of Gourmet past. And while it is nicely designed, has pretty photography, and is ad-free, it is rather troubling.
Gourmet Quick Kitchen has a big, fundamental problem: the recipes are supposed to be "quick" yet many are not. The introduction talks about how "most recipes take only 30 minutes or less!" and how "It's a collection of... dishes for those of us who... want to eat at a reasonable hour on busy weeknights or host a dinner party without committing to a day at the stove." Which sounds great, but most of the recipes have a sort of misleading extra-large number promoting "10 minutes" or "25 minutes." That's for "active time," not total time.
We counted: 54 of the 81 recipes take over 30 minutes total time to produce (yes we're using Rachael Ray as a metric). Oh, and 42 recipes take 45 minutes or more. That's not very quick at all.
The Roasted-Tomato Tart? That's 25 minutes "active time," but start to finish it's 1 1/4 hours. Cheesy Chicken and Mushroom Lasagne? That's 35 minutes active time and 1 1/2 hours total time (and that's assuming you bought a rotisserie chicken and no-boil lasagne noodles). The Winter Minestrone? That's 45 minutes active time, and start to finish it's two hours.
Also, the print quality is bizarrely uneven (see the slideshow above), especially considering this is a. from Conde Nast, and b. costs $10.99. See the screwed up trim on the cover, a few pages with random ink splotches, and one page being folded like it got jammed in the printer. Perhaps the one we picked up is the exception, but still. Poor quality control there, guys.
Side note: The press release touted "eight new menus, complete with wine pairings by Belinda Chang, Wine Director at New York City's The Modern." So original content, hooray. But that's just stuffed in the back, totaling a scant 1 1/3 pages.
Granted, the recipes are surely great — having come from the rich archives of Gourmet, one can assume they've been thoroughly tested and retested multiple times for accuracy and consistency by professionals. But does this represent "content of substance and beauty"? Given the depth of the recipe archives, is this truly the best curation that can be done, especially with quick meals in mind? Is this the best direction for the brand? Wasn't Gourmet more about the writing anyway?
We've never been fans of these "special edition" Single Issue Publications (SIPs) because generally they just recycle old content and feel like shameless money grabs, and this veers dangerously into that territory. Would you pay $10.99 for 80 recipes (that are readily available online anyway) but with some pretty pictures? Conde Nast sure you hopes you will.
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