I’ve always been prone to analyze things, to want to understand the WHY behind what’s going on. It’s not surprising that I view cooking as an applied science and like data. That’s one of the reasons my favorite cooking magazines are Cook’s Illustrated and Cook’s Country. (Nope, no affiliate program or anything like that–just my personal preference.) I particularly like the experimental data about what works and what doesn’t–and the same for kitchen equipment, supermarket products. What’s not to love about realistic data about how that piece of equipment is going to survive if you drop it? Or how easy it really is to clean and reassemble?
I was just browsing my latest issue of Cook’s Illustrated–yes, the hard copy one, and I found a section titled “Common Cooking Myths, Debunked”. If you’re not a subscriber, this is still worth reading–check the library or the magazine stand in your local grocery store. The debunking includes information on which part of the tomato has most flavor (supports my predilection for NOT seeding and peeling tomatoes), where the hottest part of the chili pepper really is, among other myths that seem to float around amongst cooks. Understanding the how and why of cooking makes improvisation so much easier–which in turn makes cooking for one so much easier since you don’t have to depend on recipes nearly so much.
Another feature of these magazines that I like is the equipment review–I’ve just been researching portable induction units, since I’ve decided that is going to be my birthday present from Frankie (the cat) to me this year–seems a great idea for energy-saving–must be cooler than having a gas burner on for the time it takes to cook dried beans–which is something I’m inclined to do in the summertime; they make such good, hearty cool meals. I’ve read the Cook’s Illustrated reviews so now I’m ready to go shopping, with their review in mind–especially since no manufacturer knows about the reviews until after publication of the results. (OK–I sound like I’m selling something–sorry! It’s just enthusiasm of an inquiring mind!)