Wednesday, September 8, 2010


First came the magazine. Then came the cookbook. The magazine folded. The cookbook may not have been remaindered but it was selling at steep discounts. There was a website that disappeared shortly after the print magazine. Now there’s an app for that!

Conde Nast had the biggest and arguably the best cooking magazine on the planet. They were shuttering a legend. To this day the Gourmet cookbook offers a free subscription to a magazine no longer in print. But the gang at Times Square knows the power of the brand. They gathered some friends, of whom they have many, and planned a limited release series of news-stand-only special editions. The first is “Gourmet Quick Kitchen” and two more, currently unnamed, are planned. If sales blossom, is a semi-annual or quarterly Gourmet big magazine in the future? We’ll have to wait to find out.

“Gourmet Quick Kitchen” was supposed to appear on newsstands Tuesday, September 7, 2010. I found it at the local Walmart on Saturday, September 4. Naturally, I bought a copy. Shopping was over for the day. I had to get home to read my treasure. The only thing I forgot was butter.

Once home, I sat down to read it. It felt good to be greeted by an unadorned gray inside front cover instead of ads. The first, unnumbered, page announces, “Here’s a secret:” and continues with a secret even better than the fact that lemon juice will curdle milk. Before the recipes begin on page 6 with Spicy Pepper and Garlic Shrimp and a handy Kitchen Tip on how to devein shrimp in the corner of the page and by the time we’ve developed a craving for snappy shrimp, we’ve already seen the Roasted Tomato Tart twice and we want to eat that too – now. The distance between pages 6 and 12 couldn’t be longer.

From the photo index on the inside back cover (no ads again!) I counted 81 recipes. All look scrumptious, probably due to the simple albeit sometimes whimsical photography. Total overall Start-To-Finish times range from 10 minutes to 3 hours. Three hours may not seem quick but good food sometimes takes time to put together and there are only a few items taking more than an hour. They look good enough to save for a less hectic day.

At 129 pages, Gourmet Quick Kitchen contains ten “chapters” of recipes, one Kitchen Notebook, one containing menus, and a recipe index. Sold in the magazine section with a cover price of $10.99, I consider it more a soft-cover cookbook than a magazine. One of the 10-minute recipes, Chile Peanuts, was similar to something I thought I invented. In contrast, one of the desserts had me slapping my forehead with the palm of my hand saying, “Why didn’t I think of that?” Nothing looks impossible for the home cook. Now the decision is what to cook first.