I didn't discover Cook's Illustrated until about a year ago and when I did, I fell head over heels in love. All of those basics I'd never cared to learn as a teen in my mom's kitchen popped out of those beautifully illustrated, ad-free pages. It was as if they knew the very decisions I was trying to make--they knew that I was shopping for the perfect set of knives, and that I had just butchered sixteen chickens and needed to know the best ways to grill them, and that the knew that I had a scad of hot peppers in my garden that were crying out for new recipes. Every page taught me something new, either basic or more advanced, that I'd never tried before.
Now, even in my earnest search to find each issue, I have a difficult time laying my hands on one and really should just subscribe to the thing.
A few months ago, I borrowed several of the Cook's Illustrated cookbooks from the library. I enjoyed Cover and Bake, Baking Illustrated and devoured The Complete Book of Pasta and Noodles. I didn't want to return them.
And now, I have one of my very own. Over the weekend, I visited a sweet little bookstore in Mt. Vernon, Ohio called Paragraphs. The wonderful ladies there read book after book to my children while I perused the shelves for goodies of my own. I came away with The New Best Recipe Book which has the heft of a college textbook but at a much more reasonable price. They don't call Cook's Illustrated America's Test Kitchen for nothing. It's fascinating to me to read recipes where someone else has done all of the guesswork for you.
I also bagged The Ultimate Cheesecake Cookbook by Joey Reynolds and Myra Chanin. I hope to turn my cheesecake-baking fifteen-year-old son loose on this one. Read one reviewer here, who says:
With the "Bonus" Magic Formula Which Will Allow You to Experiment and Concoct
Your Own Personally Flavored Baked Cheesecake, you can add any of the flavors
they haven't already, and you'll never have to make the same flavor twice.
This, my food-loving friends, is right up my son's alley.
I look forward to delving into these books which will, I'm sure, inspire me to collect a few more of Cook's Illustrated's editions. I have my eye on Steaks, Chops, Roasts and Ribs next.