Wondering what to do with all those plump, juicy field tomatoes you hauled home from the market? Had enough toasted tomato sandwiches and made enough tomato sauce? Want a change from eating them sliced, drizzled with olive oil, and sprinkled with feta?
Well, another way to savour this year’s crop of garden tomatoes is this cheese and tomato galette tweaked ever so slightly from Julia Child’s Baking with Julia. Cornmeal-crunchy dough is rolled out thin, then folded up and pleated around a filling of grated cheeses, shredded fresh basil, and thinly sliced tomatoes. The galette is baked in a hot oven until the crust is golden and the cheese is bubbling, and it looks like a flat, rustic pizza.
I have a fairly large collection of old Gourmet magazines, 85 issues altogether dating back to March 1980. I keep them stored in cardboard IKEA magazine holders in a closet along with our snowshoes and boxes of Christmas decorations. They’re getting musty, but like so many others in the world who have kept their Gourmets since the magazine folded in 2009, I can’t let them go. They’re historical artifacts. I forget about them most of the time, but when my mother came across an old issue on her bookshelf the other day, and passed it along, it started me on a trip down Gourmet memory lane.
I’m not the first to say that Gourmet was the New Yorker of food magazines, especially in its earlier years, a monthly buffet of thoughtful food writing, travelogues, wine and restaurant reviews, beautiful photography, and recipes. Back in the 1980s and ’90s, amid the sumptuous spreads for meals with themes (Chinese Vegetarian Cooking, Passover Desserts, a Poolside Lobster Buffet), and the travel pieces (Scottish Highland Inns, North Carolina’s Outer Banks, Crossing into Chile’s Lake District), you’d find pages and pages of unbroken type which you might think would be heavy slogging if you weren’t interested in the New York or California restaurant scenes, visiting Heidelberg or cooking Turkish food. But Gourmet was loved and cherished, miles ahead of any other food magazine, offering a glimpse into another world, a taste of the good life.
Photo Copyright © Bruno Schlumberger
When my friends Kit and Nancy and I get together to celebrate our birthdays, it is always a special occasion. We’ve been friends since the early 1980s (which roughly indicates our age), and the friendship has become life-long, indestructible, and vital to our lives. When one of us turns another year older, the other two plan, in consultation with the birthday girl, a special outing or event. One year, in May, we took the ferry across the Ottawa River from Fitzroy Harbour to Quyon, then had a picnic under the escarpment on our way back along the Quebec side. Another year, in freezing February, we did an overnighter in Montreal, taking in the George Rideout play Michel & Ti-Jean (about an imaginary encounter between Canadian playwright Michel Tremblay and author Jack Kerouac one month before Kerouac’s death) at the Centaur Theatre. Lately it has been celebratory dinners in our homes, two of us sharing in the preparation of an elaborate home-cooked meal for the honoured one.