Christopher Kimball would like you to subscribe to his magazine and website, and has been trolling various media for attention. The Cook's Illustrated publisher's latest ploy: A cookoff between him and Wikipedia. Talk about a ridiculous match up.
Kimball (pictured) is the fellow who wrote a wrongheaded and nakedly self-serving New York Times op-ed about how much internet recipes suck, and how the web's terrible food writing basically killed Gourmet magazine. Where can you turn for quality recipes? Cook's Illustrated, naturally.
The current rage is the WIKI [sic] recipe notion... I am willing to put my money, and my reputation, where my big mouth is. I offer a challenge to any supporter of the WIKI or similar concept to jump in and go head to head with our test kitchen.
Well, of course Kimball wants to cook off against something from a Wiki. Cooking is a chemical process, and tinkering with what is fundamentally a science experiment via the Wiki's trademark mass, open editing process is... well, it's a recipe for disaster, as Kimball surely knows.
Far more interesting would be to see Kimball square off against a reasonably popular food blogger. Here is just a brief sampling of some of the free online material I gathered in five minutes from various food blogs I track from home in the San Francisco Bay Area:
- A restaurant pastry chef's recipe for Madeira Cake.
- A restaurant sous chef's recipe for jams, pickled vegetables and cooked vegetables.
- A farmer's recipe for canning your own tomatoes.
- An urban farmer's guide to when the fruits and veggies grown in the backyards of my actual town are at their peak ripeness.
- A restaurant cook's guide to frying an egg "Spanish-style in olive oil... my new favorite way to devour these culinary jewels." See also his "Least popular recipe ever."
Of course, acknowledging that this stuff even exists would slightly undermine Kimball's point that the internet is an eater's idiocracy in need of rescue by his fine magazine (which, side note, I subscribe to, being a proud media omnivore). But at least it would make for an interesting cook off rather than the contrived burning of a culinary straw man.
(Pic by Laurie Chipps)