For someone that gives no more than 2 stars to virtually all reviews I give no credance to your comments. I will only comment that you completely miss the whole point of what these people are trying to accomplish. Instead of complaining about repetitive recipes get the book "The Best Recipe" and refrain from writing pointless reviews.
The people at Cooks Illustrated have figured out how to put together a good and informative cooking magazine. It is a thin magazine because there are no ads.
Most cooking & baking magazines are horrible because they are littered with countless ads and huge pretty pictures of cakes they don't tell you how to bake.
This magazine is a must have for any serious cook. These people put a lot of work into their magazine.
The magazine is based on the work of an actual test kitchen outside of Boston, MA. It is thorough and focused and right on. I have also found it to be very impressive because it is printed on recycled paper and it isn't your typical publication with glossy paper and lots of photos. In fact, pictures that are found within its pages are drawn by staff members, thus "illustrated". You'd be surprised at how great it is. It leaves you with a feeling of nostalgia with every delivery. It is also written with great clarity.
Plus, you'll find literal gifts to yourself in every issue, atypical of most others. There are, of course, terrific recipes. Then you'll find equipment ratings, taste tests and comparisons, suggestions for supplies, herbs and spices, specialty foods, tips and techniques, shortcuts, etc.
One of my most favorite areas is the editorial from the publisher in the beginning of each issue. I love his down to earth, somewhat quirky style of writing as it is always interesting and always intelligent.
If you go to their website, name of magazine, you'll find good deals on subscriptions and they will send you a free issue.
There is something for everyone here....the novice cook and the accomplished chef. Highly recommended.
If you are a savvy food geek or just like to cook, the indepth information presented in this magazine is thourough, scientific,and well researched. Amazing!
This magazine was recommended to me by a friend who has been a gourmet cook for years. He fell in love with this magazine because of the detailed articles and the lack of advertising.
The magazine is very informative, and will explain in detail why a cooking technique works. It also has a section where it will describe some of the common errors and how to avoid them. My friend's favorite section was an article in which the magazine tests different brands in their kitchen and writes reviews of them. While I was not as drawn to this, I really enjoy the detailed articles. Many cooking magazines will just include the recipe and instructions and will not tell you why something works or explain why something might not work as well. For myself, this is helpful because I am not an experienced cook and need all the help I can get!
The one downside of this magazine is that the recipes are fairly rich. I try to cook healthy, low fat foods and many of these recipes I would not make for my family. For that, I prefer a magazine like Cooking Light, which is full of low-fat, healthy ideas.
Recommended For: Anyone
in Cooks Illustrated. The cooking tips section is very thorough and the drawings are very helpful. The ratings are fun to read because they cover everything from ketchup to bread pans. I really like the articles that deal with finding the perfect recipe for something because they articulate the process that the author went through in their research. Even when the recipe isn't one that I would use because of personal taste, the article was still interesting and informative in that many of the tests the author used could be applied to other recipes. I find that I save whole issues of Cooks while I apply scissors to Gourmet and Bon Appetit. It's just a very user friendly magazine.
Cooks' Illustrated stands alone for the following reasons:
1. It accepts no advertising and gives excellent product reviews.
2. The artwork throughout is so unique that you won't miss glossy photographs at all.
3. Foolproof recipes give you history, testing results, and fun facts about the food you're making. It's a truly educational experience.
Don't pick up an issue of this magazine if you've got thirty minutes to get dinner on the table and you are in search of quick inspiration. DO pick up this magazine if you want to really feel like you know what you you are doing as you do it, whether you are making brownies that have that lovely shiny, crinkled top, or an apple pie that you can trust will come out just right the first time you make it.
Some people find the editor's attitude and demeanor to be off-putting and snobby. Take him for whom he is: a food expert. Appreciate his perfectionist tendencies and understand that if you have their recipes to refer to, you won't need to do much tweaking yourself.
I regularly read Cooking Light, Quick Cooking, Taste of Home and Bon Appetit. I enjoy each one for different reasons, but only Cook's Illustrated appeals to my scholarly side--the side that also wishes I had become a chef. With Cook's in hand, I am content to just pretend!
This is the only cooking magazine I will subscribe to. I call it the "Consumer Reports" of cooking magazines.
With its unbiased cookware and food reviews, and the fact that they don't take ads, I can trust their recommendations. The recipes are well-written -- each step is illustrated for further instruction, and I love reading about all of the work that went into making each recipe better than the original.
Extensive testing and tasting goes into each article, recipe, and product review -- which makes this magazine great for the novice as well as someone who has years of experience in the kitchen.
My only complaint is that their subscription department is a little lax in remembering that you've renewed, and delivery is a little sporadic at times.
For anyone who's into cooking and food, this is the ideal magazine.
Recommended For: Anyone
An excellent magazine for people who love to cook, and who also want to understand in greater depth the science of cooking. Cook's Illustrated explores cooking techniques in great detail, and also describes the chemical interactions at work in many recipes. The magazine's authors perform extensive tests on each recipe in order to determine the best method and ingredients for a particular dish. If you ever wanted to know just why your cookies are soft or crispy, or how to keep a pork roast truly moist, Cook's Illustrated is for you.
The design of the magazine is a delight if you prefer beautifully rendered drawings over glossy photographs. The black and white drawings are clear and descriptive, and help clarify recipe directions.
My primary complaint regarding the content of the magazine is that there are too few low-fat and/or "healthy" recipes, and I would appreciate it if the recipes included nutritional analyses. Additionally, many of the recipes call for expensive or unusual ingredients that may not be readily available to the average cook.
Recommended For: Hobbyists/Enthusiasts
I like this magazine because it actually TEACHES you about cooking. By explaining what different types of ingredients and cooking techniques DO, it helps you learn how to cook better with or without a recipe. It's really nice not to be married to my cookbook every moment.
Also, while there are many recipes too complicated for me personally, there are at least 3 recipes per issue that are things I can use. Those that I am not likely to use are good anyway, because by reading the text about the cooking methods I can learn techniques to use in other dishes.
The only thing I don't like, and this is the reason I will not renew this year is that the emphasis is entirely on taste and appearance of food. Concequently, I often end up with great tasting, beautiful, extremely fattening or calorie laden food. So for those of us who are health conscious, it is harder to use this one on a regular basis. If I could afford more than one cooking magazine, I'd keep this one, but since I can't, I'll try something new.