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Illustrated with no illustrations?

December 16, 2011

[Please allow me push the boundaries of this blog a bit further.  I consider cookbooks to be a type of literature….]

I like to cook as much as the next fellow (in the genderless sense of “fellow.”)  And I’ve long been a fan of Cook’s Illustrated very empirical approach to cooking (although I regard with some suspicion their approval of pre-made foods, frozen foods, etc.)  So I bought the ballyhoo-ed new Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook.

Cook’s Illustrated magazine is, in fact, illustrated.  However, from my brief perusal of Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook, it appears not to be illustrated (or very sparsely illustrated.)  Now here is my question:  Do you find an unillustrated cookbook entitled Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook to be confusing?  False advertising?  Or would you expect no illustrations because the name Cook’s Illustrated has become a common noun (in the same way that one might not expect a book entitled The Very Best of LIFE to be a living creature.)

Update (12/17):  As I mention in the comments below — I had only briefly looked at the cookbook after I received it.   I was in a rush to post and move on — and that was a big mistake.  I should have spent more time reading the cookbook before posting.

In particular, my description of it above is not correct — the cookbook is, in fact, illustrated, although somewhat sparsely (not nearly as completely as in the magazine, for example.)  I would say that roughly one out of forty recipes has a line illustration.  I apologize for mischaracterizing the book.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. December 16, 2011 10:54 pm

    As a rabid fan of the magazine and the two associated television shows, I would expect the new cookbook to be illustrated as the magazine is: that is, line drawings, not plentiful but one or two per recipe. Is that not how the Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook is illustrated?

  2. December 17, 2011 6:36 am

    I would expect ANY cookbook to be illustrated, whatever the title! But I would look at it before buying.

  3. December 17, 2011 8:17 pm

    Craig and Peter —

    I only glanced at cookbook for a few moments (“brief perusal”) before I recklessly posted. And now I need to adjust my comments.

    Since then, I’ve looked through it in greater detail, and it does have a few illustrations, but nearly as many as are found in Cook’s Illustrated magazine. I believe most of the recipes are abridged from their original appearance in the magazine.

    The format that cookbook uses is the following


    Why this recipe works: A description of features of the recipe, and this seems to be largely abridged from descriptions in Cook’s Illustrated



    There are also about 150 “Test Kitchen Tips” scattered in separate boxes throughout the book. These also appear to be rather more severe abridgements from Cook’s Illustrated articles.

    By the way, I know of the television show America’s Test Kitchen (as well as the radio show by the same name), although I have not seen it. But I am not sure what the second television show is.

  4. December 17, 2011 10:40 pm

    They are both shows from the Cook’s Illustrated people, and have the same “cast”: my former neighbor, Chris Kimball, as the host; the same two or three cooks; the same two guys doing taste tests and equipment reviews. Cook’s Country features more homey favorites, superior versions of comfort foods and dishes most people eat more often, whereas America’s Test Kitchen is a tad more upscale and feature some dishes one might find on restaurant menus. Both shows air on PBS and have extensive websites.

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