I don’t read Vogue, even for free in the beauty salon. The clothes are designed for women who are six inches taller than I’ll ever be, 50 pounds lighter, and priced at 200 times my average purchase. And frankly, none of the outfits have elastic waists. Plus the models always wear heels – ‘nuff said.
So why was I struck with sadness to note the closing of Gourmet magazine? It’s not like I was ever going to make one of their 15-step recipes, with ingredients that can’t be found within a 25-mile radius of my home, and cost more than my weekly grocery bill? But for me, Gourmet was Vogue for cooks, but with all that butter in the recipes, understood that elastic waists are a given. I didn’t actually want to cook anything in the magazine, but they made food look gorgeous and inviting. Sort of like a designer showcase house – you don’t actually want to live there since there probably isn’t a comfortable chair in the place – but it’s fascinating to see the different decorator visions.
I like to cook. I find it relaxing and creative. So it’s no surprise that Rachel Brenner, the co-star of Murder Off the Books and Murder Takes the Cake, enjoys preparing meals. Her pantry always has the makings of something good, even when unexpected guests show up at six in the morning. For Rachel – and me – cooking touches a primeval instinct to provide for family.
My mother, the original Evelyn, had zero interest in food preparation. She had a full-time job and my Dad traveled three out of four weeks in the month. So my childhood dinners were some broiled overdone meat and two cans of vegetables. Throw in an iceberg lettuce salad, and dinner was on the table in under 10 minutes and consumed in under five. In contrast, however, our holiday meals were always bountiful and delicious – because she insisted that the best way to create a holiday meal was to buy it. The emphasis was on being together –not being stuck in the kitchen.
And that’s actually the part that Evelyn, the original, Rachel, the character, and I share. While I enjoy puttering around the kitchen, what I really love is seeing my family and friends around the table with me (in my elastic waist slacks!).
Au Revoir, Gourmet magazine. You will be missed.
Murder Takes the Cake by Evelyn David
Murder Off the Books by Evelyn David