Making all kinds of messes

Cook’s Illustrated- Puritans and Science vs Joy

Have you read this article about the editor of Cook’s Illustrated?  It’s a really interesting piece about the rigor of their process, who the editor is, and how his outlook has shaped the magazine.

The funniest quote from the piece is Kimball (the editor) saying:

Chris Kimball Quote

True feelings revealed.

Considering he looks like the dour farmer in the American Gothic painting, it tickles me that he would say something so somehow expected.

The quote that is getting the biggest reaction is:

What cooking is not

Cooking is nothing fun. Stop trying.


I agree that in itself, there’s not much glamorous about cooking.  You make a mess, you hope that the recipe turns out correctly and that it tastes good.  To mitigate risk, you use recipes from trusted sources for “higher stakes” meals, such as steak dinners.  Or free-range organic chicken.

Basically, anything I buy in my twice a month trip to here:

Rancher owned store o meat

Free range everything and local food mecca.

Excuse the extreme reflection, I was trying to record their hours, not be artistic.

Something I have been shocked to find out is that I do, in fact enjoy cooking (for now.  Get back to me when I’ve been doing it 30+ years night after night).  I enjoy the creative process, I enjoy the challenge of figuring out what to make and how it can be used the next night. I’m not someone who plans ahead, yet.  I just buy protein ahead of time and then figure out how to use it.

For instance, yesterday, I had a free range organic whole chicken in the crockpot all day. We ate the thighs and drumsticks, I pulled the rest of the meat off and threw the bones and skin back in the crockpot.  I checked for preferences on Chicken Tortilla Soup vs Chicken and Peaches Salad, got an answer, and BAM, today’s dinner is almost done in my mind.

Crockpot was turned back on this morning, and fresh chicken stock will be waiting for me at home tonight.  It makes me feel extremely competent and happy to have a) made food that tasted good b) planned for the next day  c) know what I’m doing tonight and d) made healthy food from scratch.

I think Kimball is underestimating the satisfaction and accomplishment that comes from that.  Cooking every night is work, no doubt, but I have done harder things with my time.  I’ve also done much less rewarding things with my time.

How do you feel about cooking?  Is Kimball a kill-joy or the only one who has the guts to speak Truth with a capital T?




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