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Visit the Photo Place
By Edie Gross
He actually uses them for cooking. Since I don't cook, I treat the magazines like the SkyMall catalog: I'll take the succulent-looking main dish on page 13 with a side of page 27, and I'd like the chocolate-drizzled centerfold for dessert.
One of our favorite magazines is Cook's Illustrated. It's published by a team of mad scientists who toil for months at a time in a super-secret kitchen bunker deep beneath the Sierra Nevada mountains, where they study things like how to alter the molecular structure of cheese to make a better pizza or how to employ stovetop nuclear fusion to prepare a chocolate ganache that will make your tongue weep uncontrollably with the velvety indulgence of it all.
Or maybe they do all that in a test kitchen outside of Boston.
In any case, my husband was flipping through the May/June issue recently when he came across a small item on the next-to-last page about how to cook crisp, yet tender, bacon.
How this wasn't the cover story I'll never know. At the very least, there should've been a pull-out, full-color poster of frying bacon for fans like me to pin to the wall and moon over.
Instead, the cover photo for this particular issue featured a head of lettuce. No doubt the powerful Lettuce Lobby is responsible for that blatant product placement.
But to paraphrase the late Patrick Swayze, nobody puts bacon in a corner.
The discovery of the bacon bit ushered in an emotional time for my husband and me. One second, we were overjoyed to find this little gem. The next, we were dismayed at its afterthought-like treatment.
And then, after we read the cooking tip, we were horrified.
The kitchen chemists at Cook's Illustrated insisted that boiling the bacon first would produce better results.
Boiling bacon?! In water?! As if it were a lowly cabbage or a godforsaken package of ramen noodles.
The suggestion was so outrageous that we briefly considered burning our bras, tossing a bunch of tea into the harbor and then penning a strongly worded letter to the editor.
But this was Cook's Illustrated. They've never been wrong.