Recently I received an introductory copy of a new food magazine, “Cook’s Country.” The magazine contains the work of more than four dozen test cooks and food editors whose everyday work space is their 2500 square foot test kitchen where they tackle the same cooking problems everyone else faces in the kitchen.
“Cook’s Country” is one of the few magazines that accepts no advertising. Its staff test-tastes hundreds of supermarket ingredients, rate hundreds of kitchen equipment models and gadgets, and they go through tons of food each year to ensure foolproof results in your kitchen every time you cook. The staff answers only to subscribers due to the magazine’s refusal to accept advertisers, thereby making it easy to trust their results.
The magazine has numerous features in addition to the recipes each month. The first one encountered by the reader is called “Ask Cook’s Country.” This issue answered questions such as:
- Can I substitute yogurt for buttermilk in recipes for pancakes and biscuits?
- When I finish a jar of store-bought pickles, there’s always so much brine left over. Can I use that brine to make more pickles?
- Is it better to freeze a loaf of bread sliced or whole? Does sliced bread translate more freezer damage?
These questions, and several others, are not only thoroughly answered, all answers are based on tests conducted by the staff. Results of the tests are shared, including the “bottom line” answer each. The magazine accepts questions at CooksCounty.com/ask or write to Ask Cook’s Country, P.O. Box 470739, Brookline, MA 02247. Why not have a little fun and try to stump them – they welcome the challenge.
The next section is called “kitchen shortcuts.” These are actual shortcuts submitted by people around the country. Nick Iverson decides which ones will be included in the magazine. This month’s tips include easy shrimp shelling, ice cream portioning, cutting board security, putting on the icing on the cake and how to use items for double duty. Tips can be submitted online at CooksCountry.com/kitchenshortcuts or by letter to Kitchen Shortcuts at the address in the previous paragraph.
The rest of the magazine is divided into the following segments:
- Getting to Know
- Cooking Class
- Recipe Makeover
- Cooking for Two
- Five Easy Recipes
- Slow Cooker
- Taste Test
- Equipment Roundup
- Heirloom Recipe
- The Great American Cake
Recipes come not only with ingredients and directions, but also interesting stories that share the inspiration for that recipe and what process the test cook used to perfect it. Some recipes also include test kitchen secrets to improve the outcome. Additionally, sixteen 30 minute recipes come on recipe cards that can be easily removed and placed in your recipe box.
As if all the above is not enough to make a great magazine, there are snippets of information that appear under the heading “The American Table.” This month one featured Peg Bracken, author of the mega-best-selling “I Hate to Cook Book.” The other involved Reverend Sylvester Graham, the inventor of the graham cracker and was entitled The Worst College Ever.
Last, but certainly not least, you can watch the people behind Cook’s Country’ recipes, test equipment, taste ingredients, perfect classic American recipes and stroll through food history. Check to determine when “Cook’s Country from America’s Test Kitchen airs on public television in your area at CooksCountryTV.com.