--Christopher Kimball’s editorial in the May & June 2011 Cook’s Illustrated. Opening sentences.
Each issue of Cook’s Illustrated begins with a folksy editorial by Christopher Kimball, the ultra-nerd who runs “America’s Test Kitchen” with an iron fist. (One padded, however, by a Parvin Flameguard oven mitt—a best-buy at $2.66!) His editorials are genial and rambling, like any good chit-chat over the five-and-dime crackerbarrel, heh heh heh.
Contrary to what you might expect, they are not about food. The real subject of each is an idealized portrait of life in rural Vermont: firing up the woodstove at dawn; stalking deer with old friends; and, of course, treatises on the loyalty of beagles... Yep, things runs a bit slower out in Vermont—it’s a place with plenty of time to fish, to hunt, and to actually try each intricate recipe in a Cook’s Illustrated magazine. Now, I like these editorials, honestly, but the opening sentences of the current one did not so much catch my eye as make my bullshit detector explode.
First of all, Orval? Would that be Uriah’s brother? Second, EASTER HASN’T HAPPENED YET. It’s on April 24th this year, and my issue arrived two weeks ago. Third: I don’t live in Vermont, but are there really “large snowbanks” at the end of April? Possibly, but I doubt it. Late March I can see, so why didn’t he just say “still piled around on St. Gundelindis of Niedermünster’s Day,” which everyone knows is March 28 and was likely when he wrote it. Fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh: pickup truck stuck in ice; rabbit hunting; something called a “ca-bin;” and again, some motherfucker named Orval?!?!? NO. No Christopher, this one is a mite too folksy to get out of my test kitchen.
Yet it’s a fairly standard editorial. And since they’re all like this—so rarely about food at all in a magazine devoted, in an almost religious sense, to food--one has gotta wonder what the point is. I mean, doesn’t one? Shit yeah, one does gotta. Here’s my genial, rambling guess…