Cooking our way through Gourmet, 1972: Mushroom Risotto

A while back,  I blogged about 1972.  Such a good year.

1972 brought us Exile on Main Street…


Great album

…and Cabaret…

Great movie

Great movie

…and me.

Baby Joyce

Baby Joyce

Many interesting things going on in 1972.


In my 1972 post I mentioned Gourmet Magazine.  Such a good magazine that was, and a travesty that its publication ceased so abruptly.  I had obtained the February 1972 edition in honor of my birthday.

And recently, for the first time really, I was sitting and looking through my new treasure, when my husband noticed an ad that seemed interesting.  He reached over, took the magazine by the cover, and pulled it toward him so that he could have a closer look.  And the 40-year-old paper, being in a brittle state, ripped down the middle right at the staples, and my pristine copy was no more.

And so I turned again to Ebay in search of a new copy and found, instead, an entire binder filled with all 12 issues of Gourmet from 1972.  And I figured, you know, to ease the trauma of losing my February copy, I deserved the entire 1972 collection.

And that is how I became the owner of my newest little collection, which my husband is not allowed to touch.  And the seller even threw in a few 1973 editions, as a little bonus.

January, 1972

January, 1972

As I was looking through my new binder of goodies, I got to thinking about how much fun it might be to, every month, cook up a little something from each edition.  And then spring it on my readers.  Who then get to try to make sense of my weird obsessions.

To be honest, it took a little bit to find something that I actually wanted to cook from the January edition.  The main feature, nestled between an article on cheeses and a food tourist’s account on traveling in Corsica, explored dishes inspired by room service entrees at the finest hotels.

Although I am not exactly interested in preparing these dishes, I found them fascinating to ponder…

Visible fish eyeballs are very passe these days.

Visible fish eyeballs are very passe these days.

Remember, this was over 40 years ago.  Gourmet cooking was still very formal, very French, reflecting a static formality that is not seen as much in this era of Rachel Ray and Jamie Oliver and whatnot.  Cooks today seem to be attracted to effortless, casual fare.

risotoMy selection for this month was found not in the featured articles but in the “You Asked For It” section, in which readers wrote in requesting specific recipes from specific restaurants (or just recipes in general), or sharing their own favorite creations.

Here, a reader requests a good mushroom and rice recipe.  The editors offer an Italian risotto, but throughout the recipe proceed to use the words risotto and rice interchangeably.  Some tips for this recipe:

I used the risotto.

Where they mention a large “casserole”, I used what some people call a Dutch oven, or a large pot.

I bought mushrooms that were sliced, but then sliced them a bit more thinly.

It seems to me that adding the liquid a little at a time, as the recipe suggests, and then stirring until the liquid is absorbed, is the way to go.  I added a quarter cup at a time.

I pretty much followed the recipe very specifically, except for the little matter of the truffles.  You see, when I walked into the fine foods store and asked for truffles, I didn’t question what I was handed, which turned out to be, in fact, black truffles, as opposed to the white truffle as required by the recipe.

I hardly think it matters though, as the flavor is so mild, and I truly believe that they are just for effect.  I believe I am lucky to have found any  truffles in my town.

Here are my black truffles, in case you wondered…

Four very expensive pieces of fungus.

Four very expensive pieces of fungus.

They resemble lumps of coal, do they not?  I went ahead and used all four, because, what the heck do I need with the other three?  They looked a little more edible when I sliced them up…

photo (30)

I would describe their texture as slightly more dense than that of a mushroom, and their flavor is somewhat nutty.

They made a nice addition to the risotto, but are by no means essential.

My finished product….

photo (29)

…most definitely a keeper.  Delicious, buttery, mushroom-y, pasta.  I’m pleased that I chose it.

About Joyce

40-year-old university advisor, 10-years married with two small children, trying to do it all and have it all and still manage the occasional social interaction through the wonderful world of blogging.
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14 Responses to Cooking our way through Gourmet, 1972: Mushroom Risotto

  1. Sis says:

    I love risotto, that grape tart looks weird it would be fun to surprise my family with.

  2. What a fun idea!!! I can’t wait to see more now! That is such a cute picture of you too! Great post!!

    • Joyce says:

      It turned out soooo good. It’s fun to leaf through these magazines. When my mom found out what I was doing she seemed interested in finding a copy of Gourmet from her birth year, and I’ve been checking, but 1954 is a little harder to come by!

      • I’ll be on the lookout for you! I am always going to estate sales and have seen old magazines sometimes! It’s so interesting that there is trends in cooking. I understand fashion but you don’t necessarily think of food “going out of style!”

      • Joyce says:

        Awesome! If you ever see a June 1954, let me know!

  3. mummyshymz says:

    This is such an interesting idea! And the risotto looks yummy 🙂 I should look for magazines in my birth year too!

    • Joyce says:

      The risotto was super delicious and plentiful. I’ve been thinking that these old magazines would be great gift ideas too, especially for someone who has everything.

      Thanks for coming by!

  4. Lu says:

    Mushroom risotto is always a winner! I don’t think a leafy green salad has changed much either – and possibly the only one of the four that would turn out as it ought to if I tried it! As for baking grapes, well that’s just plain wrong! – But they still look plump and shiny – are they not just placed in an pre-puffed up pastry shell?

    • Joyce says:

      Lu, I think you must be right about the grape tart. See, that’s one thing you would have done better than I would have.

      Interesting that the one thing that has gone more fussy through the years appears to be the salad. You don’t typically see just a bowl full of lettuce anymore. They usually can’t resist adding something to it.

  5. Pingback: Cooking Our Way Through Gourmet, 1972: February! | Relax and Float Downstream

  6. Pingback: We start with glace de viande – Gourmet 1972 | Relax and Float Downstream

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