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Serious Reads: Fannie's Last Supper, by Chris Kimball

Serious Reads Leah Douglas 12 comments

Victorian-era cuisine is a far cry from anything on today's American dinner tables. Food in the mid-1800s was of limited variety, took a long while to prepare, and was occasionally truly revolting by modern standards. However, much can also be learned through studying and reproducing the cuisine and techniques of the time. Cook's Illustrated founder and editor Chris Kimball wanted to celebrate the food of Fannie Farmer, whose 1896 cookbook has been revered for over a century. He set out to re-create a twelve-course Victorian feast in his Boston home, for eleven special guests, using primitive equipment and only recipes of the time. His two years of research, recipe testing, and eventual victorious meal are recounted in Fannie's Last Supper: Re-Creating One Amazing Meal from Fannie Farmer's 1896 Cookbook. More

Video: Chris Kimball Explains How to Tell When Your Cake Is Done

Erin Zimmer 6 comments

In this video over on the Christopher Kimball Blog, Kimball is full of great tips on figuring out when your cake is donezo. First, know your oven. Is it lying? When it says 400°F, does it mean it? He also recommends buying an oven thermometer—a worthy investment at $8. Watch the video for more cake-baking wisdom. More

Did the Internet Kill 'Gourmet' Magazine?

Ed Levine 42 comments

Or, 'I'm Mad as Hell and I'm Not Going to Take This Anymore!' [Photograph: Cook's Illustrated] I've listened to all the heartfelt obits for Gourmet I can at this moment. My emotional and intellectual hard-drive is full. The final straw was Cook's Illustrated editor Chris Kimball's piece on the op-ed page of the New York Times this morning. Kimball's not-so-subtle, sledgehammer-like thesis: The ignorant, inexperienced, and untrained internet masses masquerading as journalists killed Gourmet. How do we plead, Mr. Kimball? Not guilty. Not in the least, as a matter of fact, as Hamilton Nolan so aptly noted on Gawker. Kimball in the Times: The shuttering of Gourmet reminds us that in a click-or-die advertising marketplace, one ruled by a million... More

Turkey Talk: Cook's Illustrated's Chris Kimball

Ed Levine 12 comments

Every Thanksgiving we check in with food magazine editors around the country to see how they have gone about putting together their Thanksgiving issues. The reductive and obsessive Chris Kimball, founding editor and publisher of Cook's Illustrated and host of America's Test Kitchen, is always refreshingly honest and forthcoming. "I am not in favor of green vegetables. I'm a white, tan, and orange food guy." Your subhead on the pumpkin pie piece in the magazine is fighting words in some quarters: "The best thing about pumpkin pie is that you only have to eat it once a year." Once in awhile we do back and do something again if we learn something about it in the interim. I made our... More

The Best Turkey: What's Your Favorite?

Ed Levine 7 comments

This is the time of the year when turkey buying panic sets in for those of us obsessed with finding the best-tasting (responsibly raised if possible) turkey to roast. There seems to be more and more choices every year, and I don't know about you, but I think there's a conspiracy afoot to befuddle and confuse us with these choices. Just consider what we are confronted with: fresh, frozen, frozen basted, free-range, free-roaming, all-natural, heritage fresh, heritage frozen, organic, wild, kosher fresh, kosher frozen. It's mind-boggling. Maybe that's why one year I switched to an all-pie Thanksgiving dinner. I didn't have to choose one pie. I just bought a dozen pies of every variety imaginable, including a turkey pot pie.... More

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