Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Artsy Wednesday: Goodbye, Gourmet

When I write "artsy" posts, they're often sort of tangential to food. I write about art, then I find some way to connect it to food. Not so this week.

The demise of the classic foodie magazine Gourmet has encouraged many tributes, one of which Erin's friend LP (who's quite the chef/baker) sent me the other day. Media Bistro said goodbye to the magazine through a look at past covers.

The brief, but super interesting, article is really a lesson in the history of foodie aesthetics. Compare these two covers, which appeared in October and March of this year:With these, from October 1952 and August 2000:

Even in the past decade, the aesthetics of food photography have shifted - and for that, I credit (blame?) blogs. Bloggers' photographs of whatever they're eating are sometimes sloppy, but certainly porny. We capture food in its natural state, with rough edges, bites taken, forks at the ready.

Compare last March's sandwich to 1952's pressed duck. Even forgetting the fact that pressed duck is a relic these days in general, and that sandwiches were certainly not considered "gourmet" in 1952, the depiction of the two dishes is wildly different. The older illustration is all sharp lines and shiny copper, while the newer image is full of the blurred lines and imperfection that we've come to know and expect, thanks to the internet.

Media Bistro does an excellent job of saying goobye to an institution. We're all luckier to have had the magazine's covers, its articles, and recipes to make our mouths water for years.

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