THE BLOG
03/18/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

The Best Porn in Print: R.I.P. Gourmet Magazine

My heartfelt condolences to Ruth Reichl and all the other employees and freelancers who made Gourmet Magazine the most-waited for package in our mailbox every month. We have been subscribers, with occasional time off, since the 60s, when few of us would venture to actually cook any of the insanely complex recipes.

Now, I wasn't the actual subscriber to Gourmet. The person of record was my mate. At the time, I was very serious about being serious about everything and dwelling on food seemed to me to be about as distinctive an occupation for a serious person as thinking about sex. In my mind at the time, if everyone did it, i.e. eat food or have sex, then it was a lower activity compared to making movies and discussing Important Ideas.

In other words, Gourmet was pornography. Fortunately, over the years, it has remained pornography. What changed, I guess, was my feelings about food. I have always enjoyed good food, and now I can even talk about it for a few minutes without feeling guilty.

So now that S.I. Newhouse has protected his fragile billions by shutting down the principal source of pornography in our household, I am forced to ask myself, "What have we lost?"

For one thing, I will never undergo another challenge as I faced some years ago when I decided I would cook the Complete Gourmet Thanksgiving (We'll call it CGT for short). That year was the year of the incredible boneless turkey. I needed to go to Chinatown in Los Angeles and buy a huge cleaver with which I would be able to decimate an uncooked turkey carcass, necessary for some brew that was part of the CGT. I also needed to buy the nastiest knife I have ever owned -- a boning knife, necessary for removing the skeleton of the turkey before it was cooked and without its permission. The boning knife would turn on me several years later, inflicting the only major cut I have ever received cooking. Fortunately, I don't cook that much. I still own the knife, but I keep my eye on it, of that you can be certain.

Now here's the terrible part about that boned, stuffed, CGT turkey. Twenty guests. Out comes the turkey. Being sans bone, it cuts like a roast. Fast! Put said turkey on plates. Guests go silent in that creepy way they'll do once in a while as they devour the main course. CGT turkey vanishes in 2 minutes flat. Two days work for two minutes of eating.

And worse, there were requests to make it again the next year, and the year after that. Not until I bought a smoker was I able to obliterate the CGT boneless turkey memory.

Yeah, yeah, yeah: I know I can go online and get recipes, and there are a lot of food blogs out there. But the fact is, I like my porn once a month and on shiny pages. I can't believe a million subscribers wasn't enough to keep Gourmet going. Is nothing sacred? And you Playboy readers: Lookout.