Friday, May 6, 2011

Too Many Cooks...

The other day, the mail brought Cook's Illustrated, a slim magazine which seems to be a cross between a foodie mag and Consumer Reports. It was founded and is edited by one Christopher Kimball, who lives in Vermont. Living in Vermont's looooong winters may explain a lot... His "kitchen" seems also to be a laboratory. In this issue alone, he tested baking pans, gives us a guide to buying fresh pork, looked into Italain olive oils and in "Equipment Corner" he rates colanders, nonstick-baking pan liners, food injectors and more.

"Notes from Readers" has letters inquiring about such as how to brown meat; are shallots worth the expense (Ans. yes) and eliminating gas from beans.

Here are some of the items in the "Quick Tips" section. Use a pizza cutter to quickly cut up waffles or pancakes for hungry children. Put your standing mixer (and who today even has one?) on a cafeteria tray because clean up is so easy -- just rinse the tray. This sounded like a good idea -- when grating cheese, put the grater and cheese in a big plastic bag, grate your cheese and store the leftovers in the sack. In reality, I don 't grate that much cheese and secondly, a quick brush with the flat of one's hand across the cutting board gets the leftovers.

Some things I didn't understand at all -- use a paper coffee filter to make tea bags or put the filter in your empty tea cup, add tea leaves and boiling water and then lift out the filter. This is, to my way of thinking, making a mountain out of a mole hill...and certainly not cost-effective.

Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to clean mushrooms. That is being altogether too picky! But putting a Silpat baking sheet in a box to carry your cake to the festivities does make sense -- the cake stays where you put it., although any time you're carrying a cake, caution is called for.

The magazine is an interesting concept, but too "scientific"for me. I didn't need to know that a boiled russet potato absorbs more vinegar than a Red Bliss. See for yourself at

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