“If you are interested in recreating a Tuscan-style Passover feast or wonder what David Chang, the Momofuku Ko chef, thinks about contemporary art, Cook’s Illustrated may not be for you.”
From the New York Times Magazine’s feature on Christopher Kimball of Cook’s Illustrated. It was enough to make me consider subscribing.
On the one hand, I appreciate someone who acknowledges that cooking dinner is not all rustic gardens, dappled late summer sun, fresh produce harvested that morning, and free-form galettes. And Chris Kimball is willing to speak truth to power in that realm:
“I hate the idea that cooking should be a celebration or a party[…] Cooking is about putting food on the table night after night, and there isn’t anything glamorous about it.”
On the other, I am sort of one of “those Pollyannas who insist […] that a recipe’s effectiveness depends mostly on what a particular cook enjoys eating.” Not entirely: there are some objective failings that aren’t a matter of how much garlic one likes. But I am not a believer in The One True Recipe. And I tend to think that cooking dinner night after night is easier if you let go of slavishly following recipes a bit, something that I think isn’t helped by Cook’s Illustrated long explications of all the ways that your recipe could go wrong if you don’t follow their advice.
It’s worth a read. Plus, take a look at Christopher Kimball’s bitchface.