Ship of Fools?

The comment in my recent NYTs Op Ed piece on Gourmet that has raised the most ire was the one about abandoning the “ship of fools,” referring to the mass of unregulated internet chat about food and every other topic. So let me go back and make a few things a wee bit clearer:
1) Yes, I do believe that most of the food chatter on the internet is less than thoughtful, rarely inspired, and lacking the depth and expertise that, given a very busy day, I would like from a good food writer or blogger. But, yes, I have made many friends on Twitter and found many of the voices there better informed on coffee-making and similar topics that I am. Plus, some of you are actually quite funny.
2) However, this is a free marketplace, and anyone who can punch through the white noise of the web and actually get his or her voice heard is fine by me. This challenge to traditional media can be a good thing. These days, magazine editors are going to have to be much more responsive to their readers since ad dollars are scarcer.
3) What scares me the most, however, is that in a world without editors — just the unfiltered voices of millions — it can be harder to find insightful commentary and get at the truth. I am reminded of the legion of radio talk shows where the listeners are almost universally polemical and uniquely uninformed. In other words, I still miss Walter Cronkite. I also have zero interest in reading the public’s opinion regarding Iran, global warming, or the economy., For that, I will stick to the New York Times and a handful of folks who have spent a lifetime investigating these issues.
4) In terms of recipes, no, I do not believe in a Wiki website, with a community opining on recipes as a means of creating a valuable database. Making a recipe 75 times in a test kitchen under controlled circumstances (yes, this is deeply self-serving) is vastly better than the voices of millions under less the ideal circumstances, with kitchens with a host of different problems/equipment/etc. Go ahead and make that broccoli casserole off your Google search and see how you like it! In cooking, as in all things, there is a right way and a wrong way. Very little in life is truly relative.

Finally, the world changes as does media and every magazine has its run and its time. Gourmet provided a great deal of joy for many of us middle-aged cooks and it is still a sad passing, even if its day had come. Besides, we have good friends who worked there and are now out of a job. So, our best wishes to them, especially to Ruth and Doc Willoughby, my old comrade from the early days of Cook’s. And to those of you trying to get your voice heard on the web, you also have my best wishes but now you are going to have to compete in a crowded marketplace and win on the merits. What is good for the goose is, as they say, is good for the gander. (Boy, that makes me sound old!)

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Published in: on October 9, 2009 at 11:16 am  Comments (51)  

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  1. I thought your editorial was on-target and poignant. In an Internet world, filled with millions of undifferentiated voices – differentiated, branded, and trusted voices have more value than ever. Media companies like America’s Test Kitchen (and my company – Interweave) can continue to thrive by curating the voices of the masses to shine a brighter light on the authority and value proposition of the perspectives of our editors. It’s a cocktail party dynamic where one wanders into conversations among many only to end up in a one-on-one discussion with the person whose opinions resonate with us the most.

    Companies like ours, and some others (including August Home, Taunton Press, Reiman, etc.) have always operated with models that presume that passionistas are more than willing to pay for content that enriches their lives and that supports their life-long interests and passions. What we are learning in this economy (and shame on our industry for needing a Great Recession to learn this lesson) is that revenues from any source other than end users is really a subsidy and ultimately unsustainable. When subsidies go away, so do the business dependent upon them.

    While our industry is focusing on how they can diminish the voices of the masses and how to develop new marketing strategies to get end users to pay for their content, they should be focusing on how to leverage the voices of the masses and how to create content people will enthusiastically be willing to pay for.

    Kudos to you and America’s Test Kitchen for leading the way.

  2. Oh, I so agree about the random recipes out there on the internet! Occasionally I stray and give one of them a try, and I almost always wish that I had come to Cook’s Illustrated first (and so does my family!). I love, love, love you guys and your recipes.

    I do think that to some extent, the good stuff does float to the top on the internet. Food bloggers who make great food tend to be more popular than food bloggers who make bad food.

    Nothing is ever as trustworthy as Cook’s, though. :)

  3. I’m glad to have found your magazine and website. The thing I love most about it is that you tell us what you did WRONG so we can understand how mistakes can lead to less-than-desirable results.

    However, when it comes to a “right” or “wrong” way to make broccoli casserole, I’d have to say that’s not accurate. A better way to say it would be a “gourmet taste” and an “everyday taste”. While many spices and specific ingredients may make a difference to a person with a finely tuned palate, I would argue that most people would not be able to tell the difference between White onions or yellows, Yukons or Russets, dried herbs or fresh. Yes, side-by-side there is a taste difference. And yes, some folks enjoy the love of creating a perfect food dish. But some folks (like me, ha ha) have to balance the detail involved in preparation with a budget and time constraints of a family.

    That said, I always LOVE to read the magazine cover-to-cover because I learn so much about food! Even if I’m not necessarily preparing the recipes, the writers are awesome and Cook’s Illustrated is a one-of-a-kind magazine, treating food preparation much like a science experiment and putting the scientific method to the test.

    Thanks for an always awesome and RELIABLE cooking resource, one I know I can trust and that I regularly recommend to my friends.

    • Well, there are plenty of recipes that are truly horrible, regardless of “gourmet” and “everyday.” We test them every day so the notion of right and wrong is valid but then, once you have a recipe that “works,” you can get into taste, texture, time, etc. But, believe me, most recipes out there don’t meet a minimum level of quality and reliability.

  4. I think my biggest concern in the closure of Gourmet (sweeping economic concerns about the future of publishing notwithstanding) is who is filling the void on the following:
    1. Writing on Food Politics – their “politics of the plate”
    2. Elegant and inspired takes on recipes – my favorite buttercream in the world, the Brown Sugar Buttercream, combined with the best Devil’s Food cake, came from Gourmet.
    3. The menus with timetables on when to do which pieces – example the brilliant tapas menu last year (if memory serves) that became my longest and best dinner party yet.
    4. Exploration of the food of other cultures – recipes that are not just American, or “pan European” or “new American”, I found they did great focus articles on other cuisines.

    I am an avid Cook’s Illustrated fan and love the franchise as a whole. If I need to make a good, never fails recipe, you are the man, so to speak. BUT if I am seeking unusual combinations or things to inspire me, as a lover of food and seeker of new challenges in the kitchen, where do I go now? I would love suggestions for alternate publications to scratch that culinary itch?

  5. I am a regular customer of the Cook’s Illustrated magazine and particularly enjoy learning from the details behind recipe development and testing included in every issue. I completely agree that in the science of cooking few things are relative, but when we look at what it takes to get people into the kitchen and simply cooking, I would argue that much is relative.

    Some people cook to feed a passion, to feed their creativity, and to feed their soul. Others simply cook because they need to feed themselves and their families. And those are just two examples of thousands of why people cook. The many and varied reasons behind why people step into their kitchens necessitate many and varied ways of helping them reach their goals. For some, a blog or help from an untrained and unprofessional friend may be just the friendly leg-up that they need to start building their confidence and their pleasure in being in the kitchen. That may in turn make them willing to take the time to read a well-crafted article in a magazine that they would otherwise not have been interested in. Or, it may not, and that’s okay too.

    Isn’t what’s really important getting people into the kitchen in whatever way is best for them? Wouldn’t we rather that they make a questionable broccoli-cheese casserole at home to share with their family than eat at McDonalds? Don’t we want to build joy and passion for cooking in every way possible for every person possible, even if it’s not the way we would build our own?

    I’m a content professional by trade, and I will be the first to agree that there is _a lot_ of questionable content out there. In some ways it’s difficult for people to sort through the chaff to find the wheat, but if the chaff is what it takes to set them on a journey that the otherwise wouldn’t have begun at all, I’ll take that as a first important step.

    • Good point BUT what if they try a bunch of recipes off the, most of them do not work well, and they get discouraged? I have had hundreds of people tell me over the years that the one thing that Cook’s has done for them is to build their confidence — they realized that they were not lousy cooks, they were just using lousy recipes. So, I am no fan of half-baked recipes that turn out bad food and make the cook feel insecure. But, I agree, ANYTHING that gets folks into the kitchen is a good thing — I just want to them to come back for the rest of their life.

  6. “with kitchens with a host of different problems/equipment/etc.” – and that is most likely why people do rely on information from each other. Our kitchens aren’t all America’s Test Kitchen. We do encounter problems. We can learn valuable lessons from those who, say, don’t have a food processor to make the perfect pie crust.

    But I agree, I do not trust the first recipe that shows up in Google search. I have magazines I trust, and I have blogs and recipe sources I trust. For the same reasons I trust one magazine over another, I would trust one blog or recipe database over another.

    I’m also an editor, so I understand not wanting to leave everything to the masses. And I don’t trust blogs with spelling errors, bad grammar, and poor writing as much as well-thought-out ones where I can tell someone has proofed their work.

    There’s nothing worse than working on a recipe and discovering an ingredient wasn’t listed or that the baking time is ridiculously wrong. But when I’m posting on my blog about a recipe, it’s a recipe I’ve tried. And I give my feedback on how it worked out for me. And that’s probably what most people are looking for – just more talk about recipes, more talk about food…

    • Here’s the honest truth about recipe development. It has almost nothing to do with whether YOU can make it, it has EVERYTHING to do with whether a range of home cooks with different skills, equipment, and ingredient substitutions can make it. (We test recipes in our kitchen using lousy cookware, crappy stovetops, and the wrong ingredients.) That requires, in my opinion, a highly regimented system for developing recipes that includes surveys of what folks have at home, asking readers to test the recipes for us (which we always do), and then a very long intense process of trying every possible combination. I do not believe, deep down, that a group of folks in a web community have the time, patience or resources to go as far as necessary to try all the options, to figure out what home cooks are likely to do with a recipe in their own kitchen. (My favorite example, a real one, was the reader who did not like our chicken recipe and then mentioned that he had substituted shrimp for the chicken!) That is not to say that web created recipes are a bad idea — I’m just saying that the resources we bring to bear on recipe testing really does make a difference in the long run. That is incredibly self-serving but it also is my honest opinion.

      • “Here’s the honest truth about recipe development. It has almost nothing to do with whether YOU can make it, it has EVERYTHING to do with whether a range of home cooks with different skills, equipment, and ingredient substitutions can make it. (We test recipes in our kitchen using lousy cookware, crappy stovetops, and the wrong ingredients.)”

        But, but, but… This is exactly what happens with a recipe posted on a blog. A number of people with different skills, equipment, and ingredients make the recipe and a number of them come back and comment on their results. Sure this is a self-selecting group but the best recipe discussions include corrections and adaptations. I write at a bread-focused site and we find all sorts of useful tweaks (for environment, available ingredients, etc.) via our readers. This can’t happen in a cookbook.

        “…the resources we bring to bear on recipe testing really does make a difference in the long run.”

        I agree, I own and use several of your Best Recipe books regularly, because of the testing notes more than the actual recipes. It would seem, however, that if the intended audience of a recipe is home cooks, having a few hundred (thousand) home cooks testing and commenting is at least as useful as a formal test kitchen.

        While I appreciate the good-spirited gauntlet of the broccoli casserole – you couldn’t have chosen something appealing? – and the wiki challenge, this is a big world and we can serve complementary, not competitive, purposes.

      • Broccoli Casserole with NOT, under any circumstances, be the recipe of choice in this contest. Will agree on something more interesting I hope.

  7. Yes, those of us with journalism backgrounds and years at magazines find it easy to scorn the vastly less experienced writers on the web. But now I’ve entered that world, and I’ve met writers as obsessed with recipes as you are, who have a magnificent voice not edited out by magazines, and who have a fearless passion to be heard.

    Still wondering where your ad dollars are going? Tons of ads on their sites. See http://diannej.com/blog/2009/07/five-lists-of-the-best-food-blogs/

    • Sure, plenty of smart, informed voices on the web but lots of crap too. In the “old” days, there were fewer choices and therefore a less confusing array of “experts.” These days, the range of options can be overwhelming but, that is like saying that I prefer the 19th century to the 21st — just have to get over it. And, I admit, now more people have a shot at developing their own voices. The problem is, the competition is fierce. But that is the essence of any free market system and am happy to have more voices. I just have the right to point out that many of them have no idea what they are talking about!

  8. I agree with your thoughts on writing without editors, but I also think this is only one side of the issue with regard to how the internet affects the food world.

    Most people who take food seriously can tell which food blogs are written by people with knowledge of their subject. I am an amateur cook with maybe above-average knowledge and even I immediately recognize those who have no clue what they are talking about. People who really care about food are never going to make that broccoli casserole that claims to be a family recipe despite being found on a thousand sites.

    I think the real issue is the Food Network approach with shows that are over-produced and, with a few expections, not at all specific about the actual technique. Even those, a show like Alton’s Brown’s for instance, which explains not only what to do but why, publishes recipes on their website that are barely more than a list of ingredients, not a scrap of the really useful information.

    Those kind of hastily written recipes annoy anyone who knows something about food, and betrays the person who is new to cooking since they often think they have done something wrong when a recipe does not work. In truth, the best food bloggers (and maybe you have seen them and already know this) probably produce more intelligent recipes than a site that is supposed to one of professionals.

    • Sure, uninformed content exists everywhere; in print, on TV and on the web. No doubt. My problem is trying to make sense of it all, given the huge volume. However, the free market system will prevail, the good ones will rise to the top (well, maybe)…actually, let’s stop there! There are plenty of famous, rich, over-hyped food mavens who actually know very little about food or cooking. In fact, they often get the biggest ratings! So, not clear to me that this huge volume of media content will resolve itself by the good rising and the bad sinking. But, then, it is up to those of us in the business to serve up what folks want and to be better at selling what we have to offer.

      • Chris

        As a longtime admirer of your work, a fellow food media professional, James Beard Award winner and lifelong and passionate foodie I join you in your comments & observations. I wonder if how we think about the rising to the top needs to change. Is the “top” like the top of the food pyramid? With a pointy small space to occupy. Rare real estate occupied by the rich fattening programs and “over-hyped food mavens”? Like the fatty,treats we need to enjoy “in moderation” for a well balanced diet?

        But just like the rest of what’s wrong in the complex, complete cuisine culture in America. We want more than “moderation”. We want more than enough. And so like our continental waistline, we are practically food-media obese. Unsure of how to diet our way back to normalcy. We eat healthy stuff too. Afterall, we watch your programs, and Alton’s & Sarah’s. Just like we eat our veggies on our patty melts. Onions are veggies right?
        Are we losing our taste for the “real food” media mavens who, like you, deserve the attention and audience you earn through excellence (as well as media gluttony.) All the numbers count the same in a google index don’t they. The “converted” and the “hopeless” click just the same in the blogosphere. And on the radio.

        Do we even recognize the good stuff anymore? Or have we become petulant spoiled-child media eaters? Do we need a culinary media personality to emerge that slips pureed veggies into our macaroni & cheese unbeknownst to us? Jessica Seinfeld does it for her own children for their own good, and in a cookbook for the rest of us tricky parents. As food media consumers do we need something so tricky? So remedial?

        Or do we need to be reminded of what good is again? I had thought the Julie & Julia movie momentum would have done more to crystalize what really great looks like. Instead it celebrated both the best & the worst of our times. Boeuf bourguignon as latterday patty melt.

        I too am middle aged, and will miss Gourmet. I will miss trusting the great people who wrought it to life.
        But I am fortunate to work in live radio and will make sure that the voices and bright lights that made that magazine special visit with us often. In our own small way we hope to turn the volume of quality up slightly above the din of the ordinary. Which is getting louder every minute. Keep up the good work and thank you.
        cheers
        JE

  9. [...] Ship of Fools? Christopher Kimball Blog __________________ http://randallpmcmurphy.blogspot.com – Cooking Blog var [...]

  10. There were many young as well as middle-aged cooks among the hundreds lamenting Gourmet’s demise on the NYT’s site.

  11. That’s “what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.”

    And to quote another proverb, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. If people like an ATK recipe and want to enjoy it again, that’s the ultimate test. If people like an AllRecipes recipe and want to enjoy it again, that too is the ultimate test. What’s important is that people will have the chance to try a rigorously tested recipe.

    As for your op-ed piece, what sort of word is “coronate”? What’s wrong with “crown”? Queen Elizabeth II was crowned at her coronation.

  12. Is there something wrong with the software? All but one of the 6 comments that are up were written by the blogger himself.

  13. Chris
    I just wanted to let you know that I totally agree with your opinions on testing recipes. One of the reasons I have come to love the Cook’s family of recipes is that I know I will not be wasting my precious time and wholesome ingredients and limited energy.

    You have gotten me back into the kitchen and cooking wholesome foods. My diabetic doc wants to know what is happening in my life as I’m healthier than ever. I tell her, good ingredients and good recipes make good food which makes good glucose numbers…all goodness in the long run.

    So enjoying cooking a rewarding meal that does not make me sick. Of course my checkbook is crying cause my poorly stocked kitchen equipment is getting a much needed boost! I got a new 6 qt dutch oven yesterday!!!! I am so excited!!!

    Ressy

  14. In my town, they’ve abandoned our printed newspaper for online, largely written by unpaid food bloggers, most of which haven’t written much before and don’t know much about cooking. It makes me sad!

  15. I must say your economics/iran analogy is the strongest for me. I subscribe to the cook’s web site because I know the recipes there will work. I read the NYT and other major newspapers for their information on Iran and Economics because I know it’s been vetted.

    While I also might read other bloggers on food and economics, I require more proof and extra scrutiny because they haven’t built that level of trust with me yet.

    The swedish meatball recipe might be great but I’m not making it for company without making the family try it first. I feel no such qualms about breaking out a cook’s recipe for the first time on the guests.

    In the same vein, I don’t think I’ve ever said “I read it in Joe’s blog” to support my argument at the dinner table, but I’ve definitely said “I’ve read it in the New York Times.”

  16. I blog about genre fiction for a print magazine, and am lucky enough to have a professional editor as my co-blogger (and wife). Without her help, the blog would be nowhere near as good as it is. The same is true of cooking, I’m sure.

  17. [...] Gurgling Cod, or The Breakaway Cook. And for Mr. Kimball’s blog response to all this, click here. Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Chris Ayer Gigs at Spinner HeadquartersFoolproof [...]

  18. OK, I will not pretend to be familiar with all the ins and outs of INSPIRED cooking. Nor will I say I have a degree from ABC Culinary school. However, Ihave been in the kitchen since I was 14 years old.
    I wouldn’t call it the school of hard knocks. I call it HANDS ON EXPERIENCE.

    Some experiences were good, some not so much. All of them taught me something. Like Edison, I now know 9,999 ways NOT to cook something!

    As far as my broccoli casserole goes, it is just fine, thank you. The congreagation at church must think it is DIVINELY inspired as they request it every time food is to be served! You may poll them if you so desire!

    As far as opinions go, obviously the only one that matters to you is your own. WHAT CHEEK! WHAT ARROGANCE! WHAT CHUTZPAH!

    I will miss your magazine. I will not miss you.

    Sincerely,

    Emmie

  19. There’s a key difference between the Web and talk radio: radio bandwidth is scare and time-constrained, whereas the Web is, for all reasonable purposes, not. In other words, if you want to listen to talk radio, you’re stuck with a small number of hosts and their ill-informed guests (leaving aside NPR). On the other hand, if there’s only half a dozen top-notch food blogs and sites out there — and there’s more than that by an order of magnitude, I’d argue — then you don’t need to slog through bottomfeeding recipe sites to get to them.

    Beyond that, however, I’d argue that you’re missing one key point: the amateur food blogs form *communities*, and lots of them, so that whether you’re looking for the best fish markets in Australia, searching for street food in Saigon, trying to replicate El Bulli in your efficiency’s galley kitchen, or just want to swap tips on Texas BBQ, you’ll find close-knit groups of fellow enthusiasts. They’ll ask questions, give answers, help with problems, and applaud (and even criticize) your latest efforts. And that provides, in its own way, the same thing your magazine does: confidence to step into the kitchen and pick up a knife.

    This doesn’t replace the ability to test a recipe to destruction. And it doesn’t replace Gourmet’s ability to pay great writers to produce great writing about food and food culture. But it gets people excited about cooking, it gives them new ideas, it forces them to stretch themselves in the kitchen. And let’s face it: *nobody* gets excited about Bon Appétit.

    There’s still good writing out there in traditional media. McGee at NYT is knowledgeable and interesting, your team at CI is still able to teach me some new tricks each month, and Gastronomica is home to brilliant and idiosyncratic food writing. But I’ll also keep reading my food blogs as well. After all, without Gourmet, who else is going to taste test all the banh khoai vendors in Hue?

  20. [...] Illustrated’s Christopher Kimball took to the New York Times this week to dump on the internet, and the internet is dumping right back. See this impassioned defense of the online meritocracy [...]

  21. “In cooking, as in all things, there is a right way and a wrong way. Very little in life is truly relative.”

    The “right” way to cook is what is right for you. Saying there is a definitive right and wrong way alienates people and seems counter intuitive. There are grey areas everywhere, in most places in fact, and that includes cooking. You are taking all of the fun out of the exercise.

    • Good cooking has to be built on a foundation of experience, knowledge, and, to a large extent, science. Same with any other art or avocation including music, painting, etc. Do you think that good music doesn’t have a rigid foundation? Pink Floyd or The Grateful Dead both understood a lot about music theory before they became famous. You can’t just pick up a guitar and be creative. I know since I keep trying! You gotta practice those scales! It doesn’t kill the fun – in fact, putting in the practice time makes the improvisation all that much more satisfying.

  22. When you say, “Very little in life is truly relative,” are you actually saying that most things in life are absolutes? Because I absolutely disagree with that statement.

    • I am not a relativist. Life is complicated, there are lots of things that are seen differently by different people, but there is a foundation of truth beneath it all. In Vermont, for example, there are good neighbors and bad neighbors. There are good cooks and bad cooks. There are good growing seasons and lousy ones (like last summer). I guess that I like things plain and simple.

  23. “Go ahead and make that broccoli casserole off your Google search and see how you like it! In cooking, as in all things, there is a right way and a wrong way.”

    I have. I do it all the time. Normally I take into account ratings, comments and any other feedback method that particular website uses, and the recipe comes out just fine.

    I find it a little insulting that you don’t think home cooks can figure out how to do these things themselves. People can, in fact, discern a good blog from a bad one, and if we’re seeking out a particular recipe, one bad turn in the kitchen isn’t going to put us off the kitchen for life. Most people realize that blogs are opinions, so they mediate it themselves– and I think that’s the part of the picture you’re missing. Without editors and gate keepers (or at least, the traditional sort of gate keepers), most people are learning how to mediate what they read and become their own gate keepers. For instance, if I know that a particular site’s recipes haven’t worked out, and I see a broccoli casserole recipe from that site, I simply don’t use it.

  24. Do the world a favor and stay out of the kitchen and concentrate on getting some advertising money for your publication. I think your brand image would be far better served if you allowed your test kitchen employees to run the television show. You come across as bloviating and rigid. You say that there is a right way and wrong way to do things, but that stifles innovation and imparts the same bloviating and rigid attitude about cooking that you have yourself. The world of food and flavor is COMPLETELY subjective, so please PLEASE relax!

    • Bloviating? Good vocab! You and I just deeply disagree. Good cooking has a great deal more with practice, good technique, and an understanding of how cooking works than it does with creativity, at least in terms of home cooking. Chefs have been trained and have the chops to “be creative” — most home cooks cannot roast a chicken properly or even cook decent scrambled eggs. It’s like music — if you don’t know the scales, you can’t stand up and play great lead guitar. Jerry Garcia practiced scales every day. It looks like a creative process but the foundation has to be deep. The world of home cooking is rarely subjective. We send out all of our Cook’s recipse to a group of willing subscribers who make them and rate them and guess what? They almost always agree — very little subjectivity there. Everyone can agree on when a stew is tender, a cake is moist, or a cookie is crispy.

  25. Perhaps it’s just that I’ve grown up among internet chatter, but I don’t find it to be all that threatening of disheartening. It’s just what it is, and I’m used to quickly deciding whether the reviewer/blogger knows what the heck they’re talking about. It’s the “Yelp Chinese Restaurant Effect,” where as soon as someone goes on about MSG and greasiness and vegan options I know I don’t care to take that reviewer seriously.

    What I’m saying is that all food writing needs to be taken with a grain of salt, and by that I mean ALL. It’s up to me to decide if a writer’s tastes are relevant to me, whether the recipe comes from Cook’s Illustrated or Tasty Kitchen. It’s important to understand what I want in a recipe, and whether that intersects with the goal of the writer. For example, I know that I adore CI for stews and braises and baked goods, but for Asian recipes I turn to Asian bloggers like Steamy Kitchen or White on Rice because I find their tastes run much closer to mine.

    As for insightful commentary, the discussions that go on in forums and comment sections are nothing more threatening that what’s said in restaurant kitchens and potlucks. It’s just that the meeting place has changed. With print media it can be tough to get around the idea of these experts talking at you. And while I think it’s valuable to spend time listening to those with more experience than me, I also value having a community of bloggers who write and respond to each other. What I’m saying is I think there’s room for everyone in modern food writing, and Gourmet’s closing doesn’t necessarily mean the end of the world is upon us, magazine-wise.

  26. “In cooking, as in all things, there is a right way and a wrong way.”

    Nope…it’s just you, showing your age and the rigidity that comes with it.
    Cheers to you buddy and please stay the heck outta my kitchen……..

  27. Add me the group of people who run to the pros before the blogs. I like Cook’s Illustrated because you tell me what you’re tried and why it did or didn’t work. CI is the reason that I know adding cornstarch to a berry pie will work in terms of texture, but will dull the color a bit. I have tried other recipes only to have them fail when I follow them blindly, and to have them turn out remarkable when I apply the things I’ve learned from reading the annual CI bound editions, or the Best Recipe (best peanut butter cookies ever). Allrecipes or cooks.com is great for some things…but definitely not everything, or even close to it.

  28. I have written an open letter to you, Mr. Kimball, on my blog on the subject of “experience vs. access”. I would invite anyone interested in this debate to stop by and leave their two cents.

    http://mllenoelle.wordpress.com/2009/10/16/an-open-letter-to-christopher-kimball/

    • Thought your letter was right on and thoughtful. I don’t disagree that there are lots of ways to get good cooking information — but everyone has to play by the same rules — your stuff, my stuff, and anyone with a Facebook page, Twitter account, or blog, has to deliver the goods! Just because you or I have an opinion, it doesn’t make it useful or worthwhile and there is, indeed, a lot of useless chatter along with some very good content as well. As for getting along, jeez, I like to mix it up. Maybe all of this will actually lead to something interesting besides a silly food fight!

  29. Chris,

    This is only slightly related, but one thing the blogs have going through them is that I have much easier time searching for information about them. CooksIllustrated.com’s search function is not very good. I frequently have to issue multiple queries to find what I’m looking for.

    I’ve offered a few times as feedback to your web site to add a modern search system to your web site for you (for free). I can bundle it into my PhD dissertation as an application of the search systems that I work on (so it won’t be a total gift to you) and your customers will be a lot happier with the outcome.

  30. I love you Chris Kimball!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1111

  31. I’m glad to have found your website. In your website there is a very valuable information. The thing I like about it is that you tell us what you did wrong so that errors can produce something extraordinary. I hope in your website added to the dishes along with the benefits of cooking it for our health when we consume them.

  32. [...] Illustrated’s Christopher Kimball took to the New York Times this week to dump on the internet, and the internet is dumping right back. See this impassioned defense of the online meritocracy [...]

  33. Hahahaha, what a comic this YouTube video is! My group is still laughing, thanks to admin who had posted at this web page.

  34. I am extremely impressed with your writing skills as well as with the layout on your weblog. Is this a paid theme or did you modify it yourself? Either way keep up the excellent quality writing, it’s rare to see a great blog like this one nowadays..

  35. I was looking for techniques for my very
    own site and noticed ur blog post, “Ship of Fools?
    Christopher Kimball Blog”, do you mind in the event
    I start using a bit of of ur concepts? Thx ,Heriberto

  36. […] former publisher) is not currently in a budget crisis because of an imaginary virtual “ship of fools” that smashed up the noble magazine industry like drunk savage hordes rampaging across an […]

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  39. Very energetic blog, I liked that bit. Will there be a part 2?


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