Gourmet’s pomegranate gelato is strawberry ice cream’s sultry, brooding cousin. It’s a chilling farewell to a magazine loved and lost.
Sometimes bad news starts as a whisper so faint that it might easily be a rustle of leaves, or of the imagination. Most of the time that’s all it will ever amount to—either because it was never real, or because we only hear so much of reality. Functional people tune out a lot of whispers. They have to.
Sometimes the chatter rises loud enough to echo just a bit. In a quiet moment here and there, it reverberates in the hollows of your skull. You spend a few days wary, nursing knotted shoulders, piling daily errands and cheerful banter on top of an inkling. Pushing it down, crowding it out. Functioning.
But sometimes when the news is at its worst, you don’t get any warning. It swells up behind your mousy little silhouette, silent and vicious. Ugly. In the middle of a deep, relaxing breath. On a Sunday night or a bustling Monday morning. When you finally feel like you’ve found your footing.
Gourmet Magazine vanished that way. One day perfuming the world with vanilla-poached apricots, the next day eaten alive in broad daylight by a system hungry only for profits. You can’t trust people who turn their backs on vanilla-poached apricots, no matter how much money is at stake.
Sure, Gourmet was just a magazine, a stack of papers. Only a business, and not even such a great business in the end. I know all that.
But the hollow space it left in the mailbox is bigger than the sum of its intermittently superior recipes, its flight attendant humor and its tomato revolution. It’s bigger than the lust for fall food and eloquent folks to share it with, and that’s saying a lot. All that’s left is a space where people prioritize money over everything. Over creativity. Over dignity. Over warmth. Sometimes I worry that if it keeps growing, the emptiness will swallow up all of us, too, right in our own homes. Whether from the mailbox or on the treads of well-heeled shoes, when the shadows lurk outside, they can make their way in.
Gourmet was just a magazine. But to see a thing of such transformative beauty brush shoulders with cruelty, and not survive—it makes you wonder about the rest of us.
Adapted from Gourmet Magazine September, 2006
-makes 1 scant quart-
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups bottled pomegranate juice
1/3 cup creme de cassis, pomegranate liqueur or fruit dessert wine
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1. In a medium pot, whisk together the cream, milk, sugar, cornstarch and salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking occasionally. When the mixture boils, reduce the heat to maintain a lively simmer and cook, whisking constantly, for two minutes.
2. Scrape the mixture into a medium bowl and add the pomegranate juice, liqueur or wine and lemon juice. Whisk to combine thoroughly.
3. Chill the mixture for at least an hour, either in the fridge or by carefully setting the bowl into a larger bowl of ice water and stirring occasionally.
4. Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. The gelato will be very soft (although perfectly edible!) at this point and will firm up if transferred to an airtight container and placed in the freezer for a few hours. Homemade gelato is always best eaten within a day or two, but this will keep in the freezer for a week or more.
Note: The original recipe, with photo, is here on Epicurious. For now, anyway.