Cook’s Illustrated

The magazine for cooking nerds

The technical aspects of cooking are usually overlooked. Kitchen gear is addressed by most publications, if at all, when it is fancy and untried. This paper magazine, however, tests equipment, gadgets, and recipes — new and old — in a relentless quest for the best kitchen stuff. Cook’s Illustrated is at liberty to be honest in their recommendations because they have no ads — no one to please but avid readers. The tests are amazingly thorough, and astoundingly informative. They examine everything from basic ingredients (sea salt, bread flour, olive oil) to high-end equipment (what is the best mixer?), as well as state-of-the-art in standard instruments like garlic presses, frying pans, oven thermometers, etc. I find their comparison methods to be more realistic and far more useful than Consumer Reports; and, of course, they evaluate far more items than CR ever would. They also obsessively taste-test popular recipes in hundreds of variations, and research the mysteries behind each ingredient. I learn tons each issue — about foodstuffs, about cooking, and about eating. Best of all, these folks make it very clear when a new tool or technique is not worth the trouble, and how you could manage with an old version. Unlike most magazines, back issues don’t age. This is the 2600 for cooking nerds.

-- KK 05/26/03

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