Saturday, October 18, 2014


Chiles en Nogada, a recipe from Gourmet magazine.

I  miss Gourmet magazine. The food magazine ceased publication a few years ago, financially challenged in a digital age. I miss the terrific photo spreads, the recipes, of course, and even the ads. I liked opening up each new issue (living abroad, they arrived late in the month) and deciding which recipes I would try in my kitchen.

I never clipped recipes. I saved all the back issues. About 30 years worth. Until finally, I had to unload them to make room for other things. But first I leafed through them all, rereading some articles, clipping and saving only those marvelous “centerfold” menus for parties, holiday dinners, brunches, picnics. What a record of how menus and food styling have changed! When did tobacco ads disappear? From 1987, a “movie night” photo spread depicts those old clunky videos. In the 1970s, still determinedly French, aspics and quiche appeared over and over.  By the mid-80s, there were dozens of chocolate mousse recipes, but now there is hummus, bulgur, arugula, kale, pine nuts and the food processor.

Some of the pre-digital camera and pre-PhotoShop pictures would never make it today on ! But I loved the styling, the exuberant textiles, china, glassware, whether it was for a “formal Thanksgiving,” a “Victorian Christmas dinner” or a “weekend in the country.”

Gourmet was an inspiration to me as a food writer, too. For 30 years I wrote a monthly cooking column about Spanish food for an English-language magazine in Spain. I often borrowed seasonal ideas, ingredient themes and holiday lore from Gourmet, adapting them for Spanish recipes.

Now, as I cull the remainder of the Gourmet stash and all those centerfold pages, I am cooking through some of them before they go.

One is a whole menu for “A Beach Weekend,” from August 1987. I prepared the Pan-Grilled Salmon with Olive Oil and Basil; Summer Squash with Lemon; Barley, Bell Pepper, and Corn Salad, and Frozen Nectarine Mousse with Raspberries.

Cooking the "centerfold"--pan-grilled salmon, barley salad, summer squash.

Barley salad hardly needs a recipe--cooked barley, chopped red bell pepper, corn, chopped parsley, vinegar and olive oil.

Salmon, summer squash, barley salad--recipes from Gourmet.

The other is a recipe for the Mexican dish, Chiles en Nogada (Stuffed Poblano Chiles with Walnut Sauce and Pomegranate Seeds), from an article about chiles from September 2006.

The photo from Gourmet is--surprisingly--not so good. Still, I tried to copy the colors.

The chiles are roasted and skinned, stuffed with a mixture of braised pork, tomatoes, cinnamon, allspice, peach, dried apricots, raisins and pine nuts, sauced with a sweetened cream of ground walnuts and almonds, and served sprinkled with ruby-red pomegranate seeds. (The recipe can be found  on the database at .

I have peppers in the garden—not actually poblano chiles, but similar—as well as pomegranates, almonds, walnuts.

Filling with pork, fruit, tomatoes.
Chiles are stuffed, ready for the oven.
What a ravishing dish!


  1. I grew up on Gourmet Magazine, though my family was hadly posh and we ate normal meat loaf to mac n cheese to roast chicken back in the 60s-70s. My dad's sister, who lived with us and worked as a secretary in a wine company, got a subscription, and somehow we just kept it up for years and years. I swear, everyone in the family used to sneak off and read it, like teenaged boys with Playboy.

    1. Lee: Love your comment. Vicarious pleasures--the wonderful food, the gorgeous table settings, the beach resorts--