Monday, October 04, 2004

The beginning of the month means lots of new magazine issues for me to devour. Currently, I'm working through the latest issues of Harpers, WIRED, Walrus, and ummm... Cook's Country.

I immediately noticed Cook's Country on the newstand of my local Chapters: the format was slightly oversized and the design was clean and elegant. Then I noticed the faux seal on the cover: "From the Editors of Cook's Illustrated Magazine". At one time I was quite fond of Cook's Illustrated. Curious, I picked it up.

I'm not a little bit country (I'm not a little bit Rock and Roll either, but that's not neither here nor there) and so I realize that I am not the target demographic of this magazine. And yet, I am slightly disturbed at the perceived differences between country folks and the degenerates - like myself - of the city that the two magazines seem to perpetrate.

First off, evidently country people are dumb. They need to be reassured that the magazine is "not about fancy cooking or expensive restaurants or foods with names you can't pronounce. This is honest country fare." Right. And us city folks are eating dishonest Pad Thai? That's also implied as evidently no one in The Country has embraced anything tastier than Tabasco sause. Ok - I understand that availablity might be an issue as your stereotypical corner store may not have Asian ingredients on hand, but come on now. It can't be that hard to find curry powder these days. If WalMart can blanket the US with warehouse stored filled with cheap Chinese imports, its just gotta be able to bring the people soy sause too!

While Cook's Illustrated tackles and tests expensive cooking appliances, Cook's Country tackles food-related infomercials. Readers of Cook's Country are invited to share funny food stories, poignant food memories, potato casserole recipes and in doing so, "become part of the Cook's Country Family". Meanwhile, readers of Cook's Illustrated are constantly lectured to brine their meat before cooking and to always use unsalted butter.

I'm getting more and more annoyed by the slight snarkiness of Cook's Illustrated and its bow-tied nerd of an editor. Knowing that the same folks are responsible for the oh so open and charming Cook's Country makes me distrust the magazine all the more.

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