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Gourmet closing makes Twitterverse sizzle

Conde Nast's dousing of the venerable cooking magazine elicited quite the reaction across the Web. But in an age of searchable online recipe archives, it's not all that surprising.

Maybe Ben Huh really could solve all of Gourmet magazine's problems. Caroline McCarthy/CNET

The bittersweet jokes write themselves.

Ben Huh, the CEO of funny photo hub "I Can Has Cheezburger," who has been known to show up at black-tie events with a giant hamburger hat on his head, on Monday offered via Twitter to purchase Gourmet, the seven-decade-old, high-end cooking magazine that will be ceasing publication in November as part of budget cuts at parent company Conde Nast.

Huh was probably kidding. We think.

The recent ax job at Conde Nast, long a symbol of print media's most egregious of excesses and more recently the ultimate case of a postlapsarian publishing-industry crisis, received quite the reaction from the blogging and Twittering masses--a crowd that's notoriously easy to ignite with debate and banter over the death of print and future of the media. Along with Gourmet, the company announced the closing of titles Cookie, Modern Bride, and Elegant Bride on Monday.

Management consulting firm McKinsey had been enlisted earlier in the year to help Conde Nast handle its increasingly dire financial problems, so many people had been anticipating magazine closures (the fledgling business title Portfolio and home decor magazine Domino were silenced earlier this year).

But it was beloved industry mainstay Gourmet that really set off the blogosphere. Easy way to tell: the title became a "trending topic" on Twitter.

Media critic Rex Sorgatz offered his tongue-in-cheek take on the Conde Nast magazine shutterings. Twitter

Reactions ranged from "Is it strange that Gourmet folding feels like losing an old friend?" to "So. I'll never be Editor in Chief of Gourmet. Time to reassess my life goals" to "Wow. I guess I'll be eating more TV dinners now."

Twitter's ubiquitous celebrity users weighed in, too; pop singer Michelle Branch tweeted "First Domino and now Gourmet. What the hell!!?? Let's have a moment of silence."

It's sad to see such a long-lasting magazine disappear so quickly. But in the grand scheme of things, it's not surprising. Recipes are easy and convenient to put on the Web, not to mention searchable--and indeed, Gourmet recipes will live on at the Conde Nast-owned And food news has increasingly shifted to the Web with the growth of the food blogging craze, something that was exemplified in a snarky publicity stunt last week when restaurant industry blog Eater, which had just launched a "national" edition to go along with its regional sites, offered to pay any of the Web's "about 1,000,000 cutesy food blogs" $25 to shut down.

"Gourmet probably took the $25 to stop writing about food," one Twitter user quipped on Monday.