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Old 05-16-2014, 08:50 AM   #1
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"Cooks Illustrated" - recommended?

On the basis that you all seem very taken with ATK I signed up for the newsletter a while ago and there's currently a special offer of a 3 month free trial of "Cooks Illustrated" magazine, The free offer doesn't apply to me as I'm overseas but I googled to see if the mag is available on-line in the UK which it is, either as a one-off edition or a subscription.

Now the sticky question to anyone who knows the magazine.. Would you recommend it for an experienced cook who still wants to learn or is it really aimed at the beginner?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 05-16-2014, 10:00 AM   #2
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In my humble opinion, CI recipes (along with America's Test Kitchen and Cook's Country TV show recipes) are way too fussy. They tend to make recipes more complicated in order to make the "perfect" result.

Some of their recipes yield very good results but you probably already have a recipe for the same dish that works great.

Also, they are very financially driven. The magazine is expensive in the US and their websites require a paid membership for regular use.
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Old 05-16-2014, 10:14 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy M. View Post
In my humble opinion, CI recipes (along with America's Test Kitchen and Cook's Country TV show recipes) are way too fussy. They tend to make recipes more complicated in order to make the "perfect" result.

Some of their recipes yield very good results but you probably already have a recipe for the same dish that works great.

Also, they are very financially driven. The magazine is expensive in the US and their websites require a paid membership for regular use.
Thanks, Andy.
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Old 05-16-2014, 10:22 AM   #4
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I have been a subscriber for over a decade. I love it because their process is like a scientific experiment: They try many different variations of ingredients and techniques to determine what works best and describe it all in detail. There are a few of their recipes I use regularly, but primarily I read the magazine to learn about the science behind successful recipes. I also have a subscription to the website so I can look up articles and recipes easily. $20 per year isn't exorbitant for that convenience.

It is more expensive than other cooking magazines, but that's because there are no ads. I love that.
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Old 05-16-2014, 10:37 AM   #5
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I agree with both Andy and GG.

Cooks Illustrated is a great magazine for learning. And its definitely not aimed just at beginners. But sometimes the recipes can be "fussy" like Andy said.

The recipes in their original cookbook "Best Recipe" seem more straightforward.

The food drawings on the back cover enchant me. Ive framed some of them.
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Old 05-16-2014, 11:07 AM   #6
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Thanks, everyone (and thanks for the PM, Addie). I am more than tempted!
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Old 05-16-2014, 11:37 AM   #7
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I would say that even an experienced cook could get stuff from them, but they are overpriced.

Different approaches to preparations are the best things that I've gotten from CI, not necessarily the recipes. I just apply some of their "tricks" to my recipes because I like my recipes better.
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Old 05-16-2014, 12:48 PM   #8
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I agree with everything just said. I think your money would be well spent purchasing the cookbook instead of the magazine however. Fourteen seasons of recipes is a real bargain and well worth the money.
America's Test Kitchen: The Complete TV Show Cookbook (including 2014 season)
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Old 05-18-2014, 11:22 AM   #9
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I was given a subscription once and found it fun to read and did learn a few things. I did not renew my subscription.

A few weeks ago, I left the car dealership with a copy that was in the waiting room.
I read every article and found issue with each one.
To fussy? Maybe.
They had an article on pot roast. They used a chuck eye! Enough said.
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Old 05-18-2014, 11:59 AM   #10
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RB - not for me Is there a problem with using chuck eye for pot roast? That's the cut I use and the one recommended here: https://www.certifiedangusbeef.com/c....aspx?ckey=115
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