There are two gastronomic institutions that I am mourning today. First, the loss of the grand food and culture periodical Gourmet, and second, the anniversary of the passing of one of the best food writers ever, R.W. “Johnny” Apple, Jr.
I was too stunned yesterday to write about the passing of Gourmet magazine. Gourmet was my first “food porn” in the mid-1980s and has remained a steady part of my monthly diet since. I can’t imagine planning holiday meals without the inspiration and fantasy Gourmet provided.
It’s heartbreaking to realize the direction popular food media has taken – from the elegance and finesse of cuisine and culture (back) to the freezer case and prepared “almost homemade” aisle (a different side of our culture that I am adamantly opposed to).
Quoting his obituary in the NY Times, “R. W. Apple Jr., who in more than 40 years as a correspondent and editor at The New York Times wrote about war and revolution, politics and government, food and drink, and the revenge of living well from more than 100 countries, died Oct. 4, 2006 in Washington. He was 71.” I had the pleasure of working with Mr. Apple during the Worlds of Flavor conference at the CIA at Greystone a couple years before he died. It was one of the more memorable experiences of my time working there… his love of food and his willingness to share his enthusiasm for all subjects made him the center of attention wherever he went.
There is a new book out called “Far Flung and Well Fed: The Food Writing of R.W. Apple, Jr.” (click this link for more information about the book). I can’t say that I’ve read it yet, but it is now at the top of my Amazon purchase list! You can get it by clicking here… Far Flung and Well Fed: The Food Writing of R.W. Apple, Jr.