Walk before you run

Michael Bauer, the SF Chronicle’s food critic, had an interesting entry about feeling hopeful that people are cooking more. Here’s the blog entry. What I found interesting, though, were the comments.

Several folks took Cook’s Illustrated magazine to task for being passionless, unimaginative, humorless. I happen to subscribe to CI, and I’m a big fan of what it does: breaks down cooking into bite-sized, manageable, understandable pieces. You can either just go for the recipe (which, for certain, will turn out beautifully), or you can take the time to read the accompanying article that explains how the recipe was researched and developed. If you do the latter, you will definitely learn a lot about how to cook.

And I think you need to know the basics of something before you can get creative and expect success with your wild experiments. You’ve gotta study figure drawing and color theory before you can go bananas with your easel; you’ve gotta understand grammar and build up a decent vocabulary before you are able to spin out fabulous prose and poetry. Essentially, you’ve gotta walk before you can run, and CI is a great way to perfect your walking in the kitchen.

Does anyone else have thoughts on this? I’d be interested to hear them…



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3 responses to “Walk before you run

  1. My god, I *love* Cook’s Illustrated.

    I think that the earlier issues may have had a little more passion, but who cares? I’ve always said that the magazine was all about “recipes for geeks & engineers”.

    The cookbooks are also good, although I’m getting a little dismayed at the “CI Empire” that’s sprung up.

    And Christopher Kimball? Ugh. I finally learned to not read his stupid full-of-himself editorials. I wonder (a) what his year-round neighbors think of him; and (b) if he’s ever met a queer person or a person of color.

    Oh, and that issue where they had a recipe for nachos? I had to laugh and laugh. They are *so* east-coast oriented and can’t even tell.

    (This says something: we hardly cook anymore and still keep renewing our subscription.)

    • *blushes* um, we love that nacho “recipe.” but yeah, it’s pretty eastern-oriented. and i admit i’m not a huge kimball-editorial fan, but he does run a great magazine and for that i’m in awe.

      • I. Will. Kill. Livejournal.

        I had a longish comment that appears to have been eaten. But it was to the point that it wasn’t the recipe; it was the introduction to same that annoyed me.

        Maybe I’ll try to reproduce it later.

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