When Gourmet Magazine shut down in 2009, we were really sad. So were NYC photographers Noah Fecks and Paul Wagtouicz, only they decided to do something about it.
The pair launched The Way We Ate in 2011 as a retrospective journey back through every single recipe ever printed in Gourmet. Noah and Paul will cook, photograph and post about two to five recipes a week (with 815 issues, it should take them about fifteen and a half years). Watch the beautiful video by the Tumblr Storyboard team for a look at their process, their motivation, and Noah's "What Would Julia Do?" tattoo.
The Huffington Post got in touch with Noah and Paul to pick their brains about what this process has been like so far. "I guess what we learned is SINK OR SWIM. The recipes are static. They will never change, so you have to be as supple as spaghetti and tailor the present time and presently available ingredients to a vintage recipe."
In case you are wondering, they do have a few favorite recipes. They told us that these Buttermilk Fantails and these homemade Meringues are guaranteed to "knock the socks off your guests," while actually being incredibly easy. "They look and taste like you're hiding a master pastry chef in your kitchen closet."
The experience has not been without its challenges. "The recipes from the 1940s tell you to 'cook over a bright flame' (whatever the heck that means) or to 'use a handful of flour.' I dunno about you but I got hands the size of Chryslers. My handful of flour isn't exactly a 1940s handful of flour." They also revealed that despite being self-described "retrophiles," they do rely heavily on Gourmet.com and Gourmet Live, both for the project and in their everyday lives.
"On the whole it's made us more adventurous in the kitchen, but also more forgiving of ourselves (and our occasional failures)," they laughed.
Their enthusiasm for, and commitment to their project is totally contagious. We are extremely excited to have their work around for the next decade and a half.