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Old 03-07-2012, 03:55 PM   #1
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Does anyone else find the Cook's Illustrated website to be annoying?

My pet peeve of the day.

I have a paid subscription to Cook's Illustrated Magazine. I also own several of their cookbooks. On top of that, I pay another $25 or so per year to subscribe to their website content.

So why is it that every other time I try to use their site to pull up a recipe, I get a message that says: "Sorry. This page is for Editors' Choice Cookbook Collection Members Only". And there's a link to "upgrade" my membership.

WTF? It seems ridiculous for them to charge a premium above and beyond the ludicrous sum I'm already paying. I feel like Chrisopher Kimball has his bony little hand in my back pocket (and that's a scary thought).

Sorry, but I had to vent.

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Old 03-07-2012, 04:58 PM   #2
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I hear you and I agree.

I used to frequent their site and forum. I left because there is an attitude about them I did not and do not care for. It rears it's ugly head on their TV shows too but it's less annoying. It's also evidenced in their pricing schemes as you have noticed.
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Old 03-07-2012, 05:12 PM   #3
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I subscribed to Cooks Country because one of the issues had a recipe for Barberton (my home town in OH) Fried Chicken. Fond memories, etc. Then, somehow, I got an unasked-for cookbook in the mail, which I did keep and pay for but sent them a note in no uncertain terms that they were not to send me anything else without a request. I doubt that I will renew. Too pricey.

When I get one of their enticing e-mails soliciting a subscription, all the good stuff is inaccessible and just serves to annoy me.
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Old 03-07-2012, 05:17 PM   #4
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So it's less annoying to be cheap?
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Old 03-07-2012, 07:50 PM   #5
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I feel the same way about their site. Do like the magazine so that is all I do.
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Old 03-07-2012, 08:35 PM   #6
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I used to be a fan of cooks illustrated, but now it just seems like a big money grab.

They repeat recipes over and over in their cookbooks. There seems to be some errors too, I have seen the same recipe for yellow butter cake with different amounts of flour, no wonder I had this cake fail and turn into an eggy dense mess. I made the gingerbread recipe from the Family Baking Book and I am not sure if it is incorrect, but the flavor was so incredibly pungent that we couldn't eat it, and my partner can eat pure ginger without flinching. I made their multigrain bread too, it was supposed to make one loaf but the dough filled the pan completely with little room to rise, it was dense and not very good.

Since these recipes are supposed to be tested over and over, I tend to follow the instructions exactly and turn off my instinct. They say that 1 cup of flour should weigh 5 oz. King Arthur Flour says 4.25 oz. I have had much better results going with the 4.25 oz. measure. When I measure a cup of flour, it weighs 4.25 oz. How could they be that far off?

I have gotten a few great recipes from them, but I am pretty much done feeding the Cooks Illustrated machine.
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Old 03-07-2012, 09:01 PM   #7
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So it's less annoying to be cheap?
It's the non-stop aggressive in-your-face sales tactics I find to be annoying. It would be one thing if I were trying to get something for nothing, but I've already shelled out more than $50. And I don't mind the fact that they have "premium content" (though I'm not sure what exactly classifies it as premium) but if I don't have access to it, don't put it in my search results and then blast a message on the screen like I'm breaking and entering.
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Old 03-07-2012, 09:11 PM   #8
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I have had mixed results with their recipes as well.

What really bothers me is how the TV shows always present their recipes as the very best ever "x". I'm getting tired of watching Chris Kimball swoon with the first mouthful of every dish.

My intelligence is insulted by all that and the fact that the start every recipe presentation with an overacted offering of just how bad the usual preparation is.
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Old 03-07-2012, 09:15 PM   #9
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I'm sorry to hear Chrisopher Kimball is involved. I've really liked him on America's Test Kitchen. ATK had been one of my favorite television cooking shows.

I can understand free content, in some cases a teaser. I can understand paid content = premium content. I can't understand "premium premium" content for those who already paid. What next? "Premium premium content?" For those who already paid for "premium premium" content?

Hey, I'm not a cow! Don't milk me! I'll appreciate the free content. I may be willing to pay for premium content. But don't milk it to death!
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Old 03-07-2012, 09:26 PM   #10
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I hear you and I agree.

I used to frequent their site and forum. I left because there is an attitude about them I did not and do not care for. It rears it's ugly head on their TV shows too but it's less annoying. It's also evidenced in their pricing schemes as you have noticed.
The "vibe" over there is a real pain in the..... I didn't like it and left.
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Old 03-07-2012, 09:50 PM   #11
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They are under the impression that I renewed my subscription. I didn't, the one I had was a gift and I don't pay those prices for ANY magazine. So, I'm not paying attention how many I've received when they start telling me I need to pay them. I mailed the invoice back telling them I never renewed and they kept sending me magazines. idiots...
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Old 03-07-2012, 10:23 PM   #12
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My mother once "gifted" me a subscription to Reader's Digress. (Okay I'm making fun/pun of their name.) I thanked my mother and told her I don't read magazines. (It's not so much that I'm against killing trees--I just don't read magazines, for whatever reason. I read online.) So anyway the magazines kept coming even after I ignored the renewal notice and I discovered that it's some sort of "twofer" where the gifter renews their sub and the giftee gets renewed too, meanwhile the giftee is solicited to add more people to the list. My mother had renewed me.

It's mindless. It's robotic. You should tell the person who "gifted" you that you don't want a renewal. They are of course playing on the psychology that people who receive gifts don't want to tell the person who gave it to them that they don't want it, because that is impolite.

It's a scam playing on peoples' psychological belief that it's impolite to criticize gifts. Like they say, "Don't look a gift horse in the mouth."
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Old 03-12-2012, 12:17 PM   #13
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No, it's Chris Kimble that I find annoying!
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Old 03-12-2012, 01:27 PM   #14
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Many magazines and newspapers have yet to understand that they have to change their business model to include the internet and wired customers or they will suffer the same fate as Kodak.

CI has introduced a paywall concept of accessing certain content. NY Times, WSJ and others do this as well. Not working out too well since competitors offer similar content for free. Also, much of the so called premium content can be accessed by reading search engine caches.

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Old 03-12-2012, 03:08 PM   #15
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Chris Kimble and his whole/total operation is a modern day version of the "Snake Oil" salesmen of the distant past... selling their Magical Cure All Potions..."Step right up ladies and gentlemen...for only 50 Cents a bottle this will cure..................."

A total and utterly waste of time and resources......
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Old 03-12-2012, 11:30 PM   #16
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No, it's Chris Kimble that I find annoying!
I really like him on America's Test Kitchen. I have no idea how he's like in RL.

Quote:
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Many magazines and newspapers have yet to understand that they have to change their business model to include the internet and wired customers or they will suffer the same fate as Kodak.

CI has introduced a paywall concept of accessing certain content. NY Times, WSJ and others do this as well. Not working out too well since competitors offer similar content for free. Also, much of the so called premium content can be accessed by reading search engine caches
I don't have any problem with free content or paid content. I have a problem with paying for paid content and then finding another tier, like the OP says. (I don't know if they do this from my own personal experience.)
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Old 03-13-2012, 06:14 AM   #17
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Chris Kimble and his whole/total operation is a modern day version of the "Snake Oil" salesmen of the distant past... selling their Magical Cure All Potions..."Step right up ladies and gentlemen...for only 50 Cents a bottle this will cure..................."

A total and utterly waste of time and resources......
Kimble seems a bit full of himself. Saw him on PBS last night oohing and aahing over a pretty pathetic looking pizza.
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Old 03-13-2012, 12:00 PM   #18
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At the beginning of each show, when he drags out a really pathetic example of whatever his minions will be cooking, it reminds me of those stupid infomercials where they outrageously exaggerate everything that goes wrong when making whatever they're going to improve upon with their product. Snake oil salesman indeed!

The recipes on both his tv shows, Cook's Country and America's Test kitchen, are long, drawn out and tedious, but I have to admit that they do work flawlessy.
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Old 03-13-2012, 01:53 PM   #19
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If you look at these things as entertainment rather than for real cooking ideas, you'd probably be OK with it.
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Old 03-13-2012, 10:47 PM   #20
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At the beginning of each show, when he drags out a really pathetic example of whatever his minions will be cooking, it reminds me of those stupid infomercials where they outrageously exaggerate everything that goes wrong when making whatever they're going to improve upon with their product. Snake oil salesman indeed!

The recipes on both his tv shows, Cook's Country and America's Test kitchen, are long, drawn out and tedious, but I have to admit that they do work flawlessy.
It must be a question of temperament here. I don't mind his flogging the old worn out measures to deal with the recipe. I've been always convinced that ATK's methods look flawless, and were flawless the ones I personally tried.

Maybe some people are just annoyed by Kimble. I'm not. I like his "on TV" persona. I have no idea what he's like in RL.
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