I started putting together a list of memories tied to the magazine- a long list - to try and portray just how important it has been in my life. Thing is, if I had to say just one thing about this magazine, there is really only one story I could tell.
My mother was dying from cancer. We all knew it. Brain surgery had just revealed more tumors, it was in her bones, it was a matter of time. Not much time. I was spending my days in a regular pattern. In the mornings, I would go to work. I couldn't skip out due to a project deadline. My boss, being a decent human being, gave me my afternoons. I would leave work, drive the hour to the hospital, sit with my mom, my dad, and various other grieving friends and family, get in my car and drive back.
But I wouldn't go home necessarily. Sometimes at home, sometimes at the home of good friends, I would cook. I grabbed various copies of Gourmet, flipped through for anything that sounded interesting, and cooked. Pork tenderloin? Now was the time to try it. Gratins? Sure. Crazy, elaborate over the top dishes using ingredients I had never dared to buy before was exactly what I needed.
I wasn't hungry. I tasted what I made but I don't remember eating much. That was not the reason I cooked. What I needed through those long days was that moment when I served dinner. When we gathered to eat those meals I put together, that was where I found that food isn't just about sustenance. It was then about finding good, constant things, the comfort of friends, and just knowing that there was more to the world than just the job, the drive, the hospital.
It's not everyone would have done. Indeed, it was probably one more reason that when I did decide to change careers, my family was completely unsurprised. But at the time it was how I got through each day. One could say that I could have found that with some other task, some other magazine. All I know is that when I realized that I needed to cook, to keep my world in focus, that was the magazine I grabbed from my shelves. It could have been something else, yes, but I'm glad it was Gourmet.