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Special Sauce: Ruth Reichl on Gourmet's Demise and the Future of Food Journalism

She felt guilty about Gourmet crashing and burning? Of course, she should feel guilty. She was at the helm and led what was once a great magazine into triteness. Instead of Fred Feretti writing about the tiny stall he'd discovered on a side street in Chinatown selling amazing dumplings from a part of the world we've never heard of, we get $1200 hostess gifts. Instead of Gerald Asher taking us to an appellation where the wines are a true discovery, we get a feature on New Zealand whites for guacamole. The hotel Issue became filled with articles about hotels none of us not on Ms. Reichl's expense account would ever stay in, and the Restaurant Issue came across as bragging about places where we'd never make the reservation list, but ooooooh.... look at what the Chef made just for me. It sounded like the girl who was not invited to the prom now had a big job in the big city and darn it if she wasn't going to show them who was the big, important girl now!

After more than 20 years as a subscriber and cover-to-cover reader I let it go when I came home one night and saw the last three issues on my table: unopened and unread. What had been an exciting publication had become boring.

Before here stint at Gourmet she reviewed restaurants for the NY Times, where months would go by without a single mention of the wine list or the service. She did spend at least 20% of the reviews writing about what the people at the other tables were wearing and what she imagined they were talking about. A review? No. More like lifestyle writing done by a wanna-be fiction writer.

Who was to blame? Those who hired her for a job that she had no experience for? Ms. Reichl for changing the magazine to her image? We will never know. I do know that I am sad for the loss of something that I thought was one of the finest publications written in the English language. I am sad for the loss of the joy that it brought me for many years. Our world is a smaller place without Gourmet.

The Serious Eats Guide to Port

As to further bottle ageing: Crusted Port, rarely seen her in the USA but easily available in the UK, will develop with about five years of cellaring.

Good Bread: Dean & DeLuca's New Beaujolais Bread is an Autumnal Beauty

Clever... but the Nouveau is 10 1/2 months old, if they're using the 2011. A way to use up dead stock?

New Paltz, NY... "The Berkeley of the East"!

If you take a moment to check you'd see that I've been posting here for at least seven years. Spam, indeed!

New Paltz, NY... "The Berkeley of the East"!

If you take a moment to check you'd see that I've been posting here for at least seven years. Spam, indeed!

Weekend Cook and Tell: Lovin' Liver

Chicken livers with sage, cream & Parmesan with pasta!

Ed's Cosmic Pizza Blab: Sauce

There was a pizzeria on Vanderbilt Ave, around the west side of Grand Central Terminal, that had a delicious sauce on their pizza. Every once in a while you'd find a bit of chopped caper in it. Just a touch.

Dinner Tonight: Pasta alla Vongole

Everything that I've eaten at Al Di La (and that's almost the entire menu!) is delicious. Ana Klinger is an amazing chef with a terrific palate.

Sweet Talk: Wendy's New Shakes

Tried a shake at Macdonald's (after not having one there in at least ten years), and it was ghastly. Sugar, sugar, sugar... and no flavor. Tossed it out after two sips.

From Behind the Bar: In Defense of the Free Pour

At least half of the bartenders whom I've seen using a jigger over pour into it... so what's the point? A good barman, like a well-trained chef, can measure by eye.

Gin-Gin Mule

mookleknuck: Blenheim Ginger Ale sure isn't half of what it used to be. They were bought out by the Six Flags people and they changed everything. Blenheim was made from mineral springs water, fresh Jamaican ginger, sugar and then carbonated. Today's ingredients read like the inventory of a chemical supply house, and they've moved away from the original spring. The flavor lacks the depth and complexity. Nothing more than another overpriced mediocrity, using the name of a once-fine product. Such a shame.

D. Trump Offers Worst Excuse Ever for Using a Fork to Eat Pizza

Note to poster "frankfurter": If you ate at Domino's and say "It ruled", you are in no position to judge anyone!

Rant: Enough With The Truffle Oil Already

Truffle oil is the ketchup of the mediocre cook.

"Fat Free" Half&Half???

When they put cattle into a feed lot to fatten them up, what do they feed them: fat or grains? I rest my case.

Angostura Bitters...what else to do with it?

Many years ago I expedited at Windows on the World: calling 800 dinners on a Saturday night can parch your throat. Seltzer with a few dashes of bitters and a squeeze of lime kept me going!

Depuy Canal House in High Falls NY

An old favorite that I have been away from for far too long. The only people I've ever know who didn't have a good time and a very good meal were people who expected something that the Canal House simply isn't. Craig Claiborne of the NY Times gave it four stars years ago: Craig Claiborne "got it". Don't expect Le Cirque or Le Barnardin: the Canal House is not like that and isn't trying to be. Relax, enjoy, have a wonderful time.

Recent Bourdain Episode : Techniques

re: Jacques Pepin's fork in the pan.
If you have the kind of control over your tools that a Chef with Jacques Pepin experience has, you move the eggs without scraping the pan. I do it all the time, using a Calphalon non-stick 12" pan and a three tined fork. Just take your time, take it easy, let yourself feel what is going on in the pan. Remember, it's not going to stick, so you don't have to actually scrape. It's more a gentle lifting motion.

A vegan in a French restaurant

A vegan in a French restaurant? France has three fats: butter, duck/goose fat and olive oil. A French restaurant that has a southern French slant should be no problem. I would speak with them in advance, in order to avoid the dreaded "the Chef can throw something together for you" response.

The Year That Was: Memes, Themes, and Schemes of 2009

When Condé Nast pulled the plug on once-great Gourmet, putting what had become a ridiculous tribute to classless over-consumption out of its misery.

In-Flight Drinks: Spicy Tomato Juice

I flew for the first time when I was about 8 years old. The stewardess offered me a Virgin Mary, which accepted and enjoyed. I've been drinking tomato juice, almost reflexively, whenever I fly. It just seems to be a part of my travel ritual.

100 (okay, 50) Things Restaurant Staffers Should Never Do

redfish:

1. Eat
2. Pay
3. Tip
4. Leave

See? There's really much more to it, isn't there? Stop acting like a jerk.

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