CONTINUED FROM PAGE 29
The Costco Connection: First, talk about the experience of going back over 20 years of Cook’s
Illustrated issues and choosing the recipes for the
new cookbook. A trip down memory lane?
Christopher Kimball: Going back in time reminded
me of all the work over the years—the jillions of
hours we spent in the test kitchen and the techniques we came up with that were new. That’s a hard
thing to say, because people often claim there’s nothing new in the kitchen. But we really
did, and when it happened those were
wonderful moments. It would always be
something that would make the home
cook more successful.
A good example is vodka pie crust.
That solved a huge problem I had all
my life: adding enough liquid so the
dough is easy to roll out, while ending
up with a tender pie dough when it’s
The Costco Connection
Costco features the Cook’s Illustrated
Cookbook in all warehouses. You’ll also find
Cook’s Illustrated magazine throughout the
year on the magazine rack, as well as special seasonal issues of the magazine during
November and December. Costco also offers
great foods for all of your holiday meals.
30 The Costco Connection NOVEMBER 2011
Christopher Kimball and
Julia Collin Davison on the
set of the America’s Test
Kitchen, a TV show on PBS,
where culinary myths
are debunked in a quest
for the best recipes.
baked. The two were antithetical. Using vodka
solved the problem.
CC: Other examples?
CK: We came across a Portuguese recipe for brining.
Brining has been around a long time, of course. We
adapted it to the Thanksgiving turkey, and that
pretty much started a major trend to brine poultry.
It wasn’t a new idea, but we popularized it and
refined it a bit. We ended up brining chicken and
shrimp and pork and everything else.
Slow roasting was something we pioneered,
too. Lots of cuts of meats, especially the cheaper
ones, are better slow roasted, so that they’re more
Another favorite is the blueberry pie where we
used grated Granny Smith apple to help thicken the
pie and end up with a fabulous taste and texture.
Another was for thick-cut steaks, which we cooked in
a low oven for about 20 minutes, then finished in a
pan—that was a great technique. We also did the
almost hands-free risotto and found a way to shallow-poach salmon to get a much brighter flavor.
CC: How is your audience different today?
CK: There are more men. About 40 percent of our
viewers and readers are men, up from maybe 15
percent 20 years ago. That’s been the biggest change.
We’re also seeing a much wider range of ages.
When we do book signings and I travel, I see 5- and
10-year-olds. You didn’t see that 20 years ago. I
think that’s because of television: Kids love watching
TV cooking shows. And I think that’s helpful,
because for the first time we see that next generation—whose parents probably didn’t cook a lot—
starting to cook, and some of them seriously.
Another difference is how people cook. Twenty
years ago, it was “beef and two sides”—the very traditional style. People are now acquainted with a
much broader range of foods, thanks to restaurants,
cooking shows and what’s available.
Last, I think classic American cooking is still
very popular, but you see more and more other
styles of cooking coming in. It’s less homogenous in
terms of how people think about dinner.
CC: The magazine’s business model—subscriptions,
not advertising—is phenomenally successful. How