Chef Confidential

…every pantry has a story

Magazine Monday…Cook’s Illustrated

This week I picked up a copy of Cook’s Illustrated, most likely drawn to the cover picture of blueberries, I love blueberries.  When I make a magazine pick I look at the cover, then the price, without opening it or flipping through the pages until I get home.  A cover picture really plays a key role in my selection process which is pretty much a marketing 101 statement.

April 18, 2011

  • Magazine Name: Cook’s Illustrated
  • Website:
  • Publisher: Boston Common Press Limited Partnership
  • Issue Number and Date: May and June 2011
  • Newsstand Cost: $5.95
  • Number of pages: 33
  • Pages until contents: 1
  • Inserts: 4
  • Pages of Advertising
  • Full: 0
  • Partial: 0
  • Types of Advertising
  • Food: 0
  • Other: 0
  • Articles: 13
  • Issue Features: 4
  • Recipes: 29
  • Picture count article or recipe related: 103

Where to start, well less is more so lets’ start with advertising. It’s less all right a lot less as in none, zip, zilch, nada, no advertising it’s almost like this magazine is the consumer reports of cooking. The only form of advertising was the inserts which were subscription cards $19.95 for six issues, that is a really good deal. Six issues at the newstand prices would be $35.70, plus whatever your state tax is. The value is clearly there, it may only be 33 pages in length, but that is 33 pages of pure content.

Pictures actually end up playing a huge role in the content of this magazine, not just the typical glossy prints that you’ll find in most food magazines.  The pictures that accompany the recipes and article are black and white photographs and ‘pen & ink’, which I am a huge fan of. The step by step illustrations are fantastic. The only place where true color pictures are found was on the last page, with the recipe index. Normally I wouldn’t be such a fan of this but there is so much detail related to the recipes it all works.

Articles are packed with information, you not only get a recipe but a background about the ingredients, tips and troubleshooting captions. Questions sent in by readers are not simply answered, they are tested, and throughly explained in very plain terminology. There is a feature called ‘Equipment Corner’, that tests a variety of cooking and kitchen related tools and gadgets, very well done. The ‘Kitchen Notes’ section was interesting as well comparing different techniques, cooking processes, and foods.

They really are ‘America’s Test Kitchen’, I had no idea they also have a show on PBS. They test it all, explain the results, the recipe reasoning, as well as the technique that is going to give you the best result.  It’s no wonder that it is only published six times a year, this is a true case of quality not quantity. Cook’s Illustrated would make a great gift for someone just starting their kitchen creativity. The presentation of information is well thought out, not packaged to be glossy and hip, a great teaching tool. Regardless of your cooking experience I would recommend this magazine.

…the back cover is just as nice as the front.

2 comments on “Magazine Monday…Cook’s Illustrated

  1. mb
    April 18, 2011

    Thanks, I’m glad you stopped by to check it out.


  2. Dianna
    April 18, 2011

    Hi, interesting blog you have here. If only I cooked!!

    BTW, my son’s initials are MB.

    Thanks for visiting my blog today. Such a thrill to be “freshly pressed”!


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This entry was posted on April 18, 2011 by in Reviews and tagged , , , .

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