Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

Afterburner

"Cook's Illustrated"

Recommended Posts

I've been subscribing for 2 years and just renewed, since the mag only comes evey other month.  I tend to fall behind in reading it, since I "save" it.  So I can't tell you what month this was, but I got annoyed when I finally read the baked ziti recipe they perfected.  They want you to use cottage cheese and a white sauce instead of ricotta.  What?  They turn a quick fallback dish into a production that no longer resembles the original. 

And no cottage cheese in the ziti.  Geez!  I know people do it b/c the cottage cheese is thicker and not as runny as ricotta, but seriously, don't mess with tradition.  Drain the ricotta for an hour, like you do with yogurt, if you have to improve it.

By the way, the idea for white sauce & cottage cheese came from someone outside the test kitchen who rec'd bottled alredo sauce - I am so sure it came off RecipeZaar or allrecipes.com.  So now we have the high-brow CI reinventing/recycling low-brow recipes.  Need to find those ideas somewhere!  I really am not as snobby as I sound, I just hate the idea of cottage cheese in the baked ziti!

Also for the sake of argument, cottage cheese is also a bit cheaper than ricotta - so some will go with cottage cheese because it's a cheaper alternative.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I've been subscribing for 2 years and just renewed, since the mag only comes evey other month.  I tend to fall behind in reading it, since I "save" it.  So I can't tell you what month this was, but I got annoyed when I finally read the baked ziti recipe they perfected.  They want you to use cottage cheese and a white sauce instead of ricotta.  What?  They turn a quick fallback dish into a production that no longer resembles the original. 

And no cottage cheese in the ziti.  Geez!  I know people do it b/c the cottage cheese is thicker and not as runny as ricotta, but seriously, don't mess with tradition.  Drain the ricotta for an hour, like you do with yogurt, if you have to improve it.

By the way, the idea for white sauce & cottage cheese came from someone outside the test kitchen who rec'd bottled alredo sauce - I am so sure it came off RecipeZaar or allrecipes.com.  So now we have the high-brow CI reinventing/recycling low-brow recipes.  Need to find those ideas somewhere!  I really am not as snobby as I sound, I just hate the idea of cottage cheese in the baked ziti!

I have to totally disagree with you. I'm a baked ziti connoisseur( having grown up eating it at least 2x a month). I even started a topic( a year or two ago) asking "why my baked ziti sucks". When I read CI's recipe, I was also weary of cottage cheese because my favorite ziti from a restaurant in FL, uses ricotta. But ya know what? It freaking works. Its amazing ziti. I've made it at least 4 times already and everyone who eats it loves it. So, as the old saying goes, dont knock it till you try it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm a little surprised that I haven't seen anyone else mention this - maybe I didn't look back far enough - but I mainly like it for the equipment reviews and would just as soon have it only online because I have plenty of food-porn magazine subscriptions. I don't think that anyone could call Cook's "food porn." Hence, I don't need the actual magazine. I don't know if it should be scary if others understand my "reasoning."

Is there a way to see all their equipment reviews without subscribing to their website, given all the horror stories I've read here about that?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I honestly think that the Foolproof Vinaigrette recipe in the September/October issue of Cooks Illustrated is one of the silliest things I've read in years.

My own recipe, based on Julia Child's, is 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar. Put the vinegar in a jar, add salt and pepper and a generous dollop (the test kitchen, to the best of my knowledge has never defined a dollop) and shake well. Add the oil, and shake well again. If the mustard isn't included, you'll have to shake vigrorously before using since it will separate quickly.

I do not understand the point of wanting a vinaigrette that can sit for an hour and a half without separating. Who dresses their salads an hour and a half in advance. I only do it when I'm making a beef salad and plan on letting it sit in the refridgerator overnight.

Puttiong mayo in a vinaigrette? For heavens sake If a vinaigrette does separate, the solution is to pick up the bottle and shake it some more,

If the test kitchen ever did descend to making their vinaigrette in a bottle and not using mayo I wouldn't be at all surprised if somewheres in the article they point out that 5 tasters liked it best when shaken with the left hand, six tasters liked it better when shaken with the right hand, but the majority thought it was best when held in either hand while using an abdominal belt vibrator, except for one or two who thought the vibrator made it taste like mothballs from their grandmother's cedar chest.


Edited by Arey (log)
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Kenji is an ex Cook's Illustrated guy, is he also ex ATK?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Kenji is an ex Cook's Illustrated guy, is he also ex ATK?

 

Aren't they all kinda the same? (ATK, Cook's Country, Cook's Illustrated, ATK Radio)


Edited by IndyRob (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Has Cook's Illustrated or ATK ever tested any products from Trader Joe's?


Edited by Shel_B (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Arey and Norm. Anything that makes fun of CI gets my seal of approval. Chris Kimball with his homespun routine annoys me no end. I hope his ex wife got the farm and the maple trees and everything else. CI blocks access to all their on-line recipes yet have the nerve to send out unsolicited emails to me for various things. After you "unsubscribe" to their unwanted attentions they wait a year and then start again. Aaargh!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Has Cook's Illustrated or ATK ever tested any products from Trader Joe's?

 

This question is a parody of itself!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was an original subscriber to the magazine and enjoyed it for several years.  I got tired of the format and had a big hassle with their subscription service.  I get the familiar Friday email as well as the inducements.  My email service (gmail) allows me to put in filters which send all the inducements directly to trash.  The Friday emails occasionally have something of interest.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Unfortunately, sending incessant e-mails hardly makes them unique among companies, judging by my inboxes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I find I've never gone wrong by assuming Cook's Illustrated knows nothing

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In my experience, CI recipes are, for the most part, acceptable, but they're far from the "best recipe" for anything.  I think the magazine is useful for people who are new to cooking, or insecure about improvising on existing recipes, but they're often far from imaginative.  One thing that annoys me about the content of the magazine is the authoritative tone.  Yes, they might test several variations before they come up with one that's consistently good, but it leads some readers to believe that theirs is the only right way to prepare a particular dish.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We got an e-mail from them the other day advising us that they are now offering on-line courses.  For a monthly membership of $19.95 you can access their on-line cooking school without instructor access.  For a monthly fee of $39.95 you get access to their on-line cooking school plus instructors.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How is there a school without instructors?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 minutes ago, MelissaH said:

How is there a school without instructors?

 

A Zen koan?

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

they do love their $$$$ at Cook's

 

that's for sure !

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That. And I would argue that if they feel the need for a cooking school with a separate charge and an upcharge for instructors on top of that, maybe their writers and editors aren't doing their jobs all that well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

""""    they feel the need  ****

 

the need is greed      its that simple.

 

I do watch the shows, and learn something from the vids.  they come to me  ****  free *****

 

im sure they are working on that !

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A short while ago, I requested a free sample of their current issue, and it arrived yesterday.  This evening I got comfortable on the couch, put my feet up, and looked forward to enjoying a pleasant peruse of the content.  It was a disappointing experience.  The entire content was in black and white, with a complete absence of color for the images and illustrations.  There was really nothing to distinguish one page from another, nothing to grab the eye and lead it to an article or a recipe.  The bland and monotonous nature of the magazine was quite the soporific.  This is not a publication to which I'd care to subscribe.  Do they have an art director?

 

The content was similar to the layout - boring and uninteresting.  The recipes were not at all inspiring, not a one made me want to check my cupboards, grab some ingredients, and start cooking.  To be fair, there were a couple of techniques that looked to be worth trying, but most of the techniques (never mind their presentation) were nothing new even though they seemed to be hailed as a "new discovery."

 

I think they wanted $24.95 for a six issue subscription.  Not worth the $$$ IMO.

 

Oh, one other minor annoyance.  In order to subscribe or cancel the order, I'd have had to supply my own postage - no prepaid envelope. 

 

FEH!

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with @Shel_B.  Many years ago I stopped subscribing but I am still on the "send the bound annual volume at the end of year" list.  The last three years I have returned it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

items like this are what Public Libraries excel at.

 

I look at these from time to time as a reserve.

 

My Local Tax Dollars  Actually At Work


Edited by rotuts (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×