Cooks Illustrated

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I picked up a copy while I was in the states and it's an impressively useful magazine, however, is it always that good? If so I think I may well subscribe, especially as it'd be cheaper than most UK magazine subscriptions!!! The website looks good too, but again, you have to pay for content, I'm thinking it may be worth it though

Porkpie (porkpie), Saturday, 16 April 2005 22:26 (fourteen years ago) link

In a word, yes.

Casuistry (Chris P), Saturday, 16 April 2005 23:14 (fourteen years ago) link

Cool, thanks Chris, I saw you'd namechecked it before and thought it must be ok

Porkpie (porkpie), Saturday, 16 April 2005 23:17 (fourteen years ago) link

I agree, very worth it. I was given a subscription for Christmas, along with Gastronomica. Their new spin-off, Cook's Country (something like that), I wasn't impressed with. It was mostly letters and recipes and suggestions from readers.

Jaq (Jaq), Saturday, 16 April 2005 23:49 (fourteen years ago) link

I mean, almost worth it for the editor's intense and over-the-top New England-ness alone!

Casuistry (Chris P), Sunday, 17 April 2005 21:12 (fourteen years ago) link

I was surprised that there isn't an option to get the magazine and web access to their site combined, though they do offer a discounted rate to the site if you subscribe to the magazine. But does anyone know if they put all of the magazine on the web-site? I know it's a lovely magazine to hold read and generally look at, but the combined price of the magazine and website starts to add up, especially if all of the magazine content is repeated on the site...

Vicky (Vicky), Monday, 18 April 2005 09:26 (fourteen years ago) link

Pick up their book -- The New Best Recipe -- which compiles the first ten years or so of recipes.

"Cook's Country" is hilariously disappointing, at least the first issue, but I do support the fragmenting of Cook's to support various market segments, and would love to see "Cook's Apartment" or "Cook's Offal".

Paul Eater (eater), Monday, 18 April 2005 19:21 (fourteen years ago) link

I also got Gastonomica and Cook's Illustrated for Christmas. I'm afraid I'm not as big a fan of CI as others here. I find that there are too many tips having to do with freezing things in ice cube trays and too few deep analyses of technique. I would very much like to understand what it is about a particular failed technique that made it fail. Perhaps the magazine I want to read isn't wouldn't have enough of a readership to warrant publication.

Hemoglobin Hummingbird (HemoHum), Friday, 29 April 2005 23:24 (fourteen years ago) link

I have one of the CI editor's cookbooks, The Cook's Bible. It's a bit daunting, over-stuffed with information. Interesting to read but I get so intimidated by the scientific analysis of braising, etc that I wind up searching elsewhere for more user-friendly recipes.

m coleman (lovebug starski), Saturday, 30 April 2005 11:33 (fourteen years ago) link

I've found them to be really explicit about what makes techniques fail, although I'm more familiar with the books than the magazine at this point, and maybe they expand that aspect in the books. Rather than intimidating me, it's the main thing that makes the books interesting!

Casuistry (Chris P), Saturday, 30 April 2005 14:58 (fourteen years ago) link

I'm cooking their skillet roasted potatoes tronight - I will report back

Porkpie (porkpie), Sunday, 1 May 2005 16:18 (fourteen years ago) link

It looks like The Cook's Bible may be what I'm looking for. You're right, Casuistry, they do give reasons for why some techniques do or don't work -- I think what I wanted to see was more chemistry, perhaps, and less mechanics? Not quite sure how to explain it.

hemohum, Monday, 2 May 2005 21:25 (fourteen years ago) link

For the chemistry/physics of cooking, I have to whole-heartedly recommend On Food and Cooking by Harold McGee. Incredibly detailed information on why stuff does what it does.

Jaq (Jaq), Monday, 2 May 2005 22:00 (fourteen years ago) link

I really want that McGee book. Powell's has a zillion copies of the first edition for fairly cheap, but should I hold out for the new edition?

Casuistry (Chris P), Monday, 2 May 2005 22:10 (fourteen years ago) link

I'd go for the new edition, because of all the updated and corrected stuff. A Common Reader has it, but it's still $35. There were a few of the newest on AbeBooks for around $25.

Jaq (Jaq), Tuesday, 3 May 2005 02:59 (fourteen years ago) link

Ah, the glorious McGee. I've got that, and one other short work of his, the Curious Cook. I wish there were two of him.

Hemoglobin Hummingbird (HemoHum), Tuesday, 10 May 2005 19:52 (fourteen years ago) link

five years pass...

I like this magazine and everything, but the cover for this issue is something else. Bananas?

Look, I made some for you:

ergonomically chromium plated fish slice (La Lechera), Saturday, 18 December 2010 20:31 (eight years ago) link

I should have held the bananas in the other hand to show that I too had shined light on them.

ergonomically chromium plated fish slice (La Lechera), Saturday, 18 December 2010 20:32 (eight years ago) link


been thinking about getting a sub to this, or maybe another cooking mag... which best?!

tehresa, Saturday, 18 December 2010 20:32 (eight years ago) link

i've had CI and also Cooking Light -- the pictures in CL are more useful than the recipes, but both are good for dessert/baking. otherwise, it's mostly just ideas/reminders of what sort of food is out there that i forgot about.

i find some of the "perfect tomato sauce!" recipes in CI a little much for me. i'm not interested in perfecting eggplant parmesan or fried chicken or macaroni and cheese. i would rather either make something more interesting with eggplant or make mac and cheese my way or just eat something else. the selection of recipes in there can be kind of stodgy, imo. or maybe they're really good and i personally just like to make more ethnic food or sthg. (this is probably true)

it's fun to read though, and good for dessert/baking. kind of depends on what kind of cook you are. i am not a "do it precisely this way for perfect results" kind of person.

ergonomically chromium plated fish slice (La Lechera), Sunday, 19 December 2010 03:28 (eight years ago) link

I have an online subscription and buy a magazine occasionally (they are different, btw, you are not going to get everything from the magazine online and vice versa). I'm starting to find the breadth of recipes they cover underwhelming -- there are only so many "Best Tomato Sauce" recipes you can print.

I also have an issue with the "regionalism" regarding flavor/taste: They're very New England (and Christopher Kimball has acknowledged this). I know that a lot of the writers are freelancers, so they must be writing and submitting the recipes to the test kitchen where they get tweaked to appeal to Vermonters.

What I do like is taking a technique I read/used from the magazine and applying it to something else. For example, I made the pan-fried pork chops a few weeks ago and while I was not blown away by the recipe, I knew I could apply the breading portion to make a very good pan-fried chicken.

However, my wife had a subscription to Cooking Light for a few years and, other than a few killer recipes, it was pretty weak. Reading the recipes in the magazine, you'd think that they considered garlic a saturated fat!

righteousmaelstrom, Tuesday, 21 December 2010 21:16 (eight years ago) link

bumping in hopes that someone else has had some better experience with other cooking mags they can recommend with higher praise than above. especially since deserts and baking aren't really my thing and can cosign the preference for making ethnic food. i'll probably just stick to accumulating cookbooks whenever lightning strikes, but a new exciting issue every month would be fun and probably help expand my limited repertoire.

arby's, Friday, 24 December 2010 02:08 (eight years ago) link

i wanna read chris kimball's book about recreating a 12-course victorian dinner.

i remember that i loved browsing saveur. is that still in print? it was fancy. probably not great for ethnic food though.

tehresa, Friday, 24 December 2010 02:12 (eight years ago) link

ooh it is in print and pri¢ey!

$19.95/year... where a year = 9 issues.

tehresa, Friday, 24 December 2010 02:21 (eight years ago) link

(xpost) well i do want to branch out a bit into non-ethnic stuff but what lechera was saying about things like recipes for perfect mac and cheese was just like, man, really? i'm a pretty easy customer to please when it comes to food, honestly, and i only get all aspie judgmental about it when i'm the chef (or paying for it i guess from my ludicrously meager wages), but stuff like that just doesn't seem worth my or anyone's effort and just sorta sounds like page filler cuz hey u gotta put out and issue each month.

maybe i will just stick to cookbooks.

arby's, Friday, 24 December 2010 02:23 (eight years ago) link

i'll scan magazine racks for saveur and see how i like it, might be a good one to hint drop for a b-day present.

arby's, Friday, 24 December 2010 02:25 (eight years ago) link

I've got a subscription to CI and Saveur - CI I've had for years and yeah there there's too much fried chicken / grilled steak / turkey plainness but i think it's still worth it for the couple of random things every year that stick with me or show me something new that become staples that I cook all the time. When I want to make something specific and I know I they've covered it, it's always my first source to check.

Saveur is different - more stories, more pictures, which can be interesting or just overbearing in a "look at how INTERESTING all this is, I am a FOOD WRITER" kind of way. I use it more for ideas than strict recipes.

XP - I swear I get a subscription to Saveur for like $8 or something insane which is the only reason I get it - you can find deals online or with the insert subscription cards or whatever. Not sure if it would be worth $20 or whatever, though really that's not bad over a full year.

joygoat, Friday, 24 December 2010 02:30 (eight years ago) link

i think you guys should all create sets on flickr like i did and then we can browse each other's ideas. honestly, i'd rather see what y'all are cooking than make perfect mac and cheese or w/e

ergonomically chromium plated fish slice (La Lechera), Friday, 24 December 2010 06:09 (eight years ago) link

btw tonight i ate caramelized leeks and flat beans (not sure if this is what they're called?) with giant sea scallops and it was absolutely divine. i have a friend who is really a tremendous spanish cook and it was a pleasure to cook with her.

ergonomically chromium plated fish slice (La Lechera), Friday, 24 December 2010 06:11 (eight years ago) link

Weird - tonight I'm making a bunch of tapas and will be making sea scallops and leeks (with cabbage, bacon, maybe some potatoes) tomorrow.

joygoat, Friday, 24 December 2010 17:06 (eight years ago) link

Wow lech that sounds delishhh!

tehresa, Friday, 24 December 2010 18:18 (eight years ago) link

we're wrapping dates with bacon which i thought was a tapas but apparently isn't

mmm errm mmfff huh (jdchurchill), Friday, 24 December 2010 19:13 (eight years ago) link

i use my dads online cooks illustrated account and its a great resource. i might even pay the $25/yr for it if i had to.

max, Friday, 24 December 2010 19:24 (eight years ago) link

the magazine is nice to have too but the online recipe database is way more useful. theres usually only 1-2 recipes per issue that i really wanna try.

saveur is great too but ive never subscribed

max, Friday, 24 December 2010 19:24 (eight years ago) link

honestly, i'd rather see what y'all are cooking than make perfect mac and cheese or w/e

― ergonomically chromium plated fish slice (La Lechera), Friday, December 24, 2010 1:09 AM (13 hours ago) Bookmark Suggest Ban Permalink

i would rather have actual perfect mac and cheese than almost anything in the world

max, Friday, 24 December 2010 19:25 (eight years ago) link

viva la diferencia, no?

ergonomically chromium plated fish slice (La Lechera), Friday, 24 December 2010 19:26 (eight years ago) link

Got on online subscription for xmas... the iphone app is pretty sweet too.

sofatruck, Monday, 27 December 2010 19:48 (eight years ago) link

I have subscribed, at various times, to Saveur, Cooking Light, Cooks Illustrated, Gourmet, and Bon Appetit.

IMO Gourmet was the best until Ruth Reichl messed with it. Saveur was my second favorite and I will prob subscribe again now that Gourmet is defunct. Cooking Light recipes listed reduced-fat cheddar cheese and other bullshit, but for some easy, basic recipes it was OK. Cooks Illustrated wore thin after a while (same old "we tried dozens of recipes for some uber basic food and found blah blah blah). Bon Appetit is awful.

quincie, Monday, 27 December 2010 22:34 (eight years ago) link

we tried dozens of recipes for some uber basic food and found blah blah blah

This always makes me 'lol' because it sounds like they never liked the food in the first place. "The average eggplant parmesan is insipid at best, and at worst, a greasy, mealy disappointment." If every version of the food you tried was so shitty, why did you want to cook it?

Stop Non-Erotic Cabaret (Abbbottt), Tuesday, 28 December 2010 02:12 (eight years ago) link

^^^^^ so OTM! Like, why bother cooking if it is doomed to inedible failure?

quincie, Tuesday, 28 December 2010 05:10 (eight years ago) link

My mom gets me CI every year and I've never made a single recipe from it for all the otm reasons in this thread. But I do love it for the painstakingness of all the variations on a theme and the "hints from Heloise" flavored tips from readers pages (101 things to do with onion nets!) and mostly the Consumer Reports style appliance and utensil and condiment/staple comparisons.

I got Gastronimica for a few years early on and it's beautiful and all. But I think Saveur is the one I'll try next.

Jaq, Tuesday, 28 December 2010 05:29 (eight years ago) link

i think the consumer reports appliance and blind taste test segments are always my favorite part of the tv show

tehresa, Tuesday, 28 December 2010 05:33 (eight years ago) link

Jack so clearly wants to put a pot roast in Chris' ass, it is painful to watch.

quincie, Tuesday, 28 December 2010 05:35 (eight years ago) link

Adam also totally gay but apparently has wife and kids wtf?

quincie, Tuesday, 28 December 2010 05:36 (eight years ago) link

I've been picking up Saveur more and more and am starting to really like it. I will probably subscribe if I find a deal.

What is weird about CI is that they do some great BBQ recipes. Not authentic Texas style but still quite good. For my birthday one year I ot their book on grilling and barbecuing and use it quite a bit during the Spring/Summer.

righteousmaelstrom, Tuesday, 28 December 2010 22:36 (eight years ago) link

one year passes...

Dear Friend,

These days, it’s pretty easy to get free recipes on the Internet. I’m sure a search for “roast chicken recipe” will turn up thousands and thousands. But, as with so much on the web, you should tread lightly if you don’t know the source.

Dale, dale, dale (Abbbottt), Monday, 14 May 2012 01:16 (seven years ago) link

I really love that facial expression he's making.

Dale, dale, dale (Abbbottt), Monday, 14 May 2012 01:19 (seven years ago) link

dwight schrute. i always think about getting saveur when i'm in whole foods and i don't.

kneel aurmstrong (harbl), Monday, 14 May 2012 01:21 (seven years ago) link

He looks like he's wondering how tender I'd be after 6 hours of braising.

improvised explosive advice (WmC), Monday, 14 May 2012 01:21 (seven years ago) link

three months pass...

oooh i am so pissed at this company! i was charged $34.95 for a subscription i did not authorize, and when i called to inquire about/cancel it, they were extreeeemely accommodating, which indicates to me that maybe i am not the only one they charged without authorization.

these albatrosses have no fear of man (La Lechera), Wednesday, 29 August 2012 22:48 (seven years ago) link

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