Norita, My Gourmet Magazine Guru

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My fellow cooking friend, cookbook and recipe collector, Norita Solt is a generous, kind soul who has some difficult life challenges taking care of her husband Ron, who had a debilitating stroke.  They lived in their dream home, but now have to leave it for a smaller home with wheelchair accessible needs.  Norita had to sell or give away her many treasures in her home.  It’s one of those heart-breaking necessities that come with life and illness.

Through all the work and tears, this past weekend was the last for Norita and Ron in their home.  A new week begins with a new place.  Months ago, while Norita was sorting out items to keep, sell, or give away, she came across all her food magazines from many decades.  Treasures to those of us who love that sort of thing.  Norita knew all about the flood I had last summer that destroyed most of my cookbooks, and definitely all my magazines.  Nothing could have saved those.  But Norita didn’t just toss all the magazines.  She took the time to email me and ask if I would like them.  Not only that, her son lives not too far from me and volunteered to bring them from Iowa to my home.

Since there is still so much work to do to bring back the new Culinary Cellar, it wasn’t until this past weekend that I decided to full-on tackle Norita’s magazines.  Boxes and boxes of them.  Since the flood, I have learned that I cannot keep every issue in its entirety; there is just not enough space.  Instead, I need to go through each magazine and clip out recipes I want to keep.  It’s a huge job, but one I love.  Like I said, all those recipes are treasures.  The magazines are mostly from the ’80’s and ’90’s and I have been elated that I have found many recipes I loved that were lost in the flood are back again.  It turns out many of those recipes are from the old Gourmet issues.

Does anyone else miss the old Gourmet?  As I was looking through them over the weekend, not only was I grateful to find many recipes I remembered and can replace with what was lost in the flood, but it made me sad to see how much magazines have changed.  First of all, the old magazines are huge with enough recipes to cook for months!  Many now are so skimpy, with barely any recipes.  And don’t get me started on the paper quality.  Nowadays, so many magazines have paper-thin pages which are annoyingly hard to turn and rip if you look at them wrong.  Look at the photography on these Gourmet covers.  Compare those to what some food magazines put on their covers.  A food magazine should showcase gorgeous dishes that are so beautiful, you want to bite it.  Finally, what I really noticed in the old magazines was the advertising.  Raise your hand if you are sick of pharmaceutical ads.  I am exceedingly tired of every fifth page advertising medications with warnings of a million bad side effects.  In comparison, here is a sample of the ads I found in the old magazines:  cookware, kitchen appliances, a new food item, even cars and jewelry, but not one for medications.  Here are some examples:  This was a three page pull-out ad with chef Mark Miller.  He has 5,000 cookbooks!

Here is the chef not only cooking, but has recipes as well!  The ad was for the appliances.

Or this one from Viking.  Yes, I would love to imagine myself in a Viking kitchen!  Now aren’t these ads more fun to see than medications that scare us just reading their two pages of warnings.

It is going to take me weeks to go through all the Gourmet issues and many others, my other favorite being some old Cuisines from the early 1980’s.  I found one recipe to make on Sunday morning.  My husband Bill loves biscotti with his coffee while reading the Chicago Tribune, and I came across a dried cherry biscotti recipe.  However, I didn’t have any dried cherries but had dried lingonberries, and since I used lingonberries, I added a little cardamom to give them a Nordic twist.  They were excellent!

Thank you, Norita, for all the magazines and to your son for delivering them.  I am having the best time looking through them.  I could never have found all these magazines in one spot, ever.  You are a generous soul, and I wish you and Ron happiness in your new home.

5.0 from 3 reviews
Almond-Cardamom Biscotti with Dried Lingonberries
  • 2 Tablespoons butter, softened
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 4 egg whites
  • 2 teaspoons almond extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup dried lingonberries (or cherries or cranberries)
  • ¼ cup chopped almonds, toasted
  • Confectioner's sugar for sprinkling
  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease an 8-inch square pan. Have a large cookie sheet ready lined with parchment or lightly grease it. Set both aside.
  2. In bowl of electric mixer beat butter and sugar until crumbly. Beat in egg whites and almond extract.
  3. Combine flour, baking powder, cardamom, and salt; gradually add to sugar mixture. Stir in dried lingonberries and almonds. Dough will be stiff.
  4. Press dough into prepared 8-inch pan and pat down evenly. Bake for 20 minutes or until edges start to brown. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes.
  5. After cooling for 5 minutes, carefully turn out of pan onto a cutting board. Cut the square in half with a serrated knife, then cut each half into ½-inch slices, making about 2-1/2 dozen pieces.
  6. Place slices, cut side down, on lined cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes or until light golden brown, turning them once. Remove to wire rack to cool completely. When cooled, dust with confectioner's sugar.


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26 Responses to Norita, My Gourmet Magazine Guru

  1. March 19, 2018 at 6:06 am #

    As one who still enjoys flipping thru a magazine I could not agree with you more on the changes. I honestly think there is more advertising than actual recipes.

    Love the recipe changes you made and the kindness of friends like Norita and her son

    • March 19, 2018 at 7:57 am #

      Lisa, I wish you were here to go through all the magazines. You would love them!

  2. March 19, 2018 at 8:23 am #

    To clarify…that old ad implies that if I buy a Viking kitchen it comes with a Viking man? Sign me up! 😉

    • March 19, 2018 at 8:36 am #

      Wouldn’t that be nice?! There might be some in Finland. 😉

  3. March 19, 2018 at 12:07 pm #

    I am with you on missing the old magazines. The new ones are definitely quicker to go through since there are so many pages of ads anymore. And like you said, most of the advertisements are pages long about prescription drugs! Enjoy all those older magazines. I will look forward to hearing more about them in your future blogs.

  4. March 19, 2018 at 4:38 pm #

    I’m sure Norita is happy to have given the magazines to a person who appreciates them so much! Enjoy them Debbie!!!!

  5. March 20, 2018 at 8:11 am #

    I miss Gourmet. None of the current magazines compare to it. I also miss Chocolatier. Most of the recipes were difficult, more like something you’d find in a boutique bakery, but it was so much fun to read and fantasize about making some of those magical creations. Chocolatier magazine is where I found the recipe for my wedding cake.

    I know what you mean about not being able to keep them all. But what fun you must be having going through them and picking out the recipes and articles to keep. Wish I could help you.

    • March 22, 2018 at 7:11 am #

      Madonna, I also miss Chocolatier. Wish you were here to go through them with me too. Only problem could be is that we most likely would run up to the kitchen to make everything!

  6. March 21, 2018 at 8:45 pm #

    Debbie I am so happy you are enjoying the magazines. I’m grateful they found a terrific home with a fellow chef who will put them to good use. I will picture you perusing them while enjoying your coffee or a cup of tea, maybe nibbling on a goody you’ve made from one of the recipes you found therein. And Mark and I are pleased to have had a small part in helping restock the Culinary Cellar. ❤️‍

    • March 22, 2018 at 7:07 am #

      Thank you, Norita. I will always think of you whenever I use the recipes- and there will be many!

  7. March 26, 2018 at 6:49 pm #

    It warms my heart, to read this and to see the caring that our group of foodies have for one another. Many of us cherish our cookbooks and magazines as if they were part of our family, to just throw them away would be heartbreaking, to say the least. I know reading this must give Nortia a peace of mind, knowing they went to someone who can appreciate them. I feel we all are lucky that they went to someone who will share some of their pages with us all. Times have changed and magazines have too but it is nice to know we preserve part of the old. In the years to come, I fear many will never understand the gratification of turning the page of a book or a magazine, of running your finger across a part of a recipe you want to take note of. My mother passed not to long ago and going through her things brings up feelings of both sadness and joy. But it is as if she is communicating with me by the folds of the tips of pages, or the notes in some margins, and once in a while I get lucky and tucked in a book I find a handwritten recipe or note that is attached to one. Precious gifts from beyond the grave.

    • March 26, 2018 at 10:07 pm #

      Such a lovely note, Andreann, especially about your mom. Thank you so much for your kind words and insight to how important the old cookbooks and recipes are to life.

  8. April 3, 2018 at 2:05 pm #

    I miss Gourmet Magazine so much…so much so that I started collecting backissues. I am trying to create an entire set. Please reach out to me if you (with Norita’s blessing, of course) are ever interested in providing them with a new home.

    • April 3, 2018 at 11:46 pm #

      I’m with you, Jenna. I miss Gourmet too. About 20 years ago I found almost all the issues from the 1940’s in a thrift shop. I treasured those not just for the recipes but also the covers! They were like works of art. I lost every one of them in the flood last summer. I always keep my eyes open for old issues. I will certainly let you know if I ever find any. Good luck in your search.

  9. April 15, 2018 at 8:23 am #

    Oh yes, wish I still had my Sphere and Cuisine collection. I have a new husband and step family now and when we get together I will often make a food dish from one I tore out of the magazine and they are delighted and request again. The same ones my own family loved. The magazines today are expensive, full of ads as you say, and often errors in the instructions or ingredient listing. In an effort to be different and “creative” they call for ingredients you can’t find or have to order on line. They also seem to have no regard as to the cost of making it, a tsp of a spice you rarely use, or a fancy oil you may not use again.

    • April 16, 2018 at 12:21 am #

      Hi Judith- It’s wonderful how you and your families have loved the Sphere recipes over the years. I wish you still had your collection too! If you ever remember a favorite recipe that you no longer have, let me know and I’ll look it up for you. Thanks for writing!

  10. November 21, 2019 at 5:44 pm #

    I loved reading what you wrote about gourmet magazines and cuisine and all of the others. I have several shelves full of them belonging to my mother who passed away five years ago. She was an exceptional chef she was self taught but could master anything. She catered many private events simply because she loved cooking! She absolutely adored her magazines and read them like books and I have saved most all of them and they are from the 80s and 90s and they bring me such joy as I turn through the pages and see the pages she bookmarked. The current food magazines could not compare to these older magazines. She not only collected the magazines she has a collection of cookbooks that would rival any bookstore. She taught my young daughter to sit and read cookbooks with her at the age of three and even though my mother is gone now my daughter still loves to read her grandmothers cookbooks. They are treasures and I have the fondest memories going into bookstores while we traveled looking for a cookbook that she didn’t have and that was hard to do sometimes! It is good to know that others shared for the love of these magazines and beautiful cookbooks!

    • November 21, 2019 at 8:51 pm #

      Margaux, your response warms my heart. At this moment as I am writing this, I am on my last day of visiting my daughter and family who have two girls, my precious granddaughters, Helen age one, and Virginia Rose age almost three. When you mentioned your mom reading your three-year-old her cookbooks, I could certainly relate to my own daughters and now granddaughters. Virginia Rose has a favorite toy set of kitchen equipment and every time she played with the mixer, she would point to my daughter’s Kitchen Aid stand mixer and tell me that was mommy’s mixer and this is her mixer. I would ask her what she was mixing and she would say a birthday cake for Helen, who just had her first birthday. Kids learn young the joy of cooking and how it makes people happy. Thank you for sharing your loving memories of your mom. I lost my mom last year and treasure her recipe box which will be passed down to generations. It will make me sad to leave tomorrow but I will see everyone again at Christmas, waiting in my kitchen to make cookies with Virginia Rose. I have an apron my mom made for my girls, and now she can wear it too.

  11. February 16, 2021 at 2:21 pm #

    Do you by any chance have an issue containing a cornbread recipe from the Greyfield Inn? It had creamed corn as an ingredient and was the best I’ve ever had. Used it for years then tragically lost it.

    • February 17, 2021 at 1:08 am #

      Hi Kathy- Do you have any idea of which month and year? I have so many that it would help in my search if you can think of any more info. I’ll be happy to do what I can.

  12. October 21, 2022 at 6:08 pm #

    I’m looking for a cardamom coffee cream torte. The recipe was in an issue of Gourmet Magazine.But I jus can’t find it.

    • October 21, 2022 at 9:45 pm #

      Hi John- I don’t have all the Gourmet issues but if I come across the recipe you are looking for I will email it to you. It sounds delicious!

      • October 22, 2022 at 7:08 pm #

        thank you so much! This recipe is driving me and my fam. nuts! It’s that good!!!

        • October 22, 2022 at 8:53 pm #

          You’re welcome, John. I hope I come across it. With my husband’s Finnish heritage, he loves anything cardamom and coffee.

        • October 23, 2022 at 10:56 am #

          Do you know about when you saw the recipe first? I have a very large Gourmet collection and can look.

  13. October 23, 2022 at 4:55 pm #

    we’re thinking about early 80s to 1986 Thank you!

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