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Missing Ruth Reichl’s Gourmet

It is with a heavy heart and a deep longing for a bowl of comforting matzo ball soup that I read about the closing of Gourmet magazine, which was announced on Monday.

The culinary giant of Condé Nast, which has been a staple of both the New York and national food scene since its birth in 1940, will close along with three other Condé Nast publications after a three-month study of the company and amid falling ad sales. The announcement came as a surprise for many foodies, who expected Bon Appétit, Condé Nast’s other food publication to close, instead of the more established and influential Gourmet.

While the magazine’s Christmas and Thanksgiving issues are legendary its editor, the famed Ruth Reichl, who served as the restaurant critic for the New York Times for six years, before moving to Gourmet in 1999, hasn’t neglected her Jewish roots or its culinary traditions.

In a 2001 interview with Jewish Woman magazine, Reichl explained: “My parents did not practice religion in any way, but we lived in New York … so I grew up with a very secular Jewish identity.”

She also discussed a change in Jewish food, which eight years later has come to full fruition: “There is a growing understanding that Jews live all over the world, and people are really trying to embrace a much larger tradition of Jewish food. The palate is widening.”

Reichl once commented, “We are losing the sitting down together for a meal on a daily basis. We long for it and miss it.” Well Ruthie, as a woman in the opening scene Reichl’s third book “Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise,” referred to her, we will long for Gourmet and we will miss it.

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