20 November 2009

Then and Now

This week's flashback is a two-fer; in a roundabout, ironic way, there is a linkage between the two scenes.

In 1949, the Grand Ballroom of the Waldorf-Astoria hotel was bustling with dozens of finalists in the inaugural Pillsbury Bake-Off. Sixty years after No-Knead Water-Rising Twists captured first prize, the cooking competition is still going strong.


Not so with the setting of our second photo. It's a shot of the now-deserted test kitchen of Gourmet, a fine publication that did not deserve to die. Kevin DeMaria, associate art director of the magazine, made a series of elegiac images of the office during its final days.

3 comments:

  1. I hear and respect the sadness in your post. The death of Gourmet Magazine will seem to some almost like a death in the family, but comparing it to the Pillsbury Bake-Off is comparing apples and oranges, or "Zucchini, Corn and Basil Fusilli with Bacon" and Totino's® Frozen Pizza. The Bake-Off was a marketing gimmick. The Pillsbury company conned people — they continue to con people — into providing their time, energy and expertise, in the very slight hope of achieving momentary fame and a small check or gift certificate, to promote a particular line of grocery store products. And wasn't it fun to see all those stoves in the Grand Ballroom? Of course, mediocrity has a maddening tendency to succeed, but was there ever a contest? Gourmet to my knowledge never once strove for the perfect entrée using KRAFT Mayonnaise, or the best dessert using NutraSweet®. They never pandered or falsified. Now they can do what is seldom possible. They can stand proud in their failure.

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  2. An imposed failure—as opposed to an artifice of success, in the case of the PB-O.

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  3. If I misspoke in any way, forgive me. I was only looking for the silver lining. Happy Thanksgiving.

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