Why Gourmet Shouldn’t Close in Vain
I’ve been thinking lots about Gourmet magazine closing, and what this really means.
Gourmet was essentially shut down because it was too high end, too high falutin’, too aspirational. And advertisers didn’t feel like they could sell their packaged good as well there as they could sell them elsewhere. Well, maybe so. But let’s look at the flip side.
Let’s look for a moment at the fact that the world is sinking quickly towards the lowest common denominator, in this case, food-wise. Late last night, I saw a commercial where Kraft singles positioned themselves as the “solution to the world of American dreamers.” I swear I heard it, but I have spent the morning scouring the internet and can’t find a trace of this. KFC is marketing a sandwich that saves us from carbs by sandwiching cheese in between two piece of fried chicken, instead of bread. No time to make dinner? No problem. Dump a can of salty mushroom soup over some chicken breasts and you can feed your family, and fast.
No way. No way, that we are going to accept all of this as a solution. No way that we are going to settle for a fair-to-middling remedy for getting dinner on the table, and not push ourselves a little bit more to figure out way to give our kids, our families, our friends something better to chew on. We need to push back on mediocrity in all forms, especially at our dinner tables, and be willing to work a little bit harder. There is too much at stake. Screw Hamburger Helper. Gourmet may have done some things wrong, and they may not have been the number one place to go for weeknight dinner ideas. But that wasn’t the point. By attempting to inspire people, by giving people a glimpse into different cuisines and ideas, by opening up other worlds, by teaching us something new, they did a lot right.
We need to continue to find ways not always to make things easy, but to make things different and better. Let’s pick that over complacency.