Vegetarian Guide to Cooks Illustrated
Cook’s Illustrated is great for veg and non-veg alike
I love Cook’s Illustrated! There’s so much fascinating and useful information in every issue.
Every serious cook, veg or non-veg, needs and deserves a subscription to Cook’s Illustrated.
I read every issue, cover-to-cover, so I don’t miss anything, skipping over the parts that don’t concern me – such as the pages devoted to meat.
It’s true that CI has a strong emphasis on meat-based diet. After all, that’s what most people eat, including CI’s owner and staff.
But guess what? This magazine is so incredible that I don’t care!
How CI benefits vegans & vegetarians:
1. CI tests all kinds of ingredients, recipes and cooking equipment, and publish the results in the magazine. They pay for everything they test, they aren’t beholden to any corporate interests, and their test results can be trusted. Vegetarians and vegans can benefit from that as much as anybody else.
2. CI is privately owned and doesn’t have any advertising. They make money on subscriptions, books, and online memberships – and who doesn’t enjoy that? How many other magazines can you say that about? I can’t think of any!
3. If CI tells you, this is the best ketchup of the ones we tested, and this is the best microwave oven, you can take that to the bank. Companies must HATE that – at least the ones not-recommended.
4. Like everything else food related in our culture, CI becomes more veg friendly all the time. They’re still stuck on the dairy and egg, but most of their recipes easily go vegan.
5. Reading CI is educational and entertaining for all home cooks. It lifts us out of our ruts, exposes us to a passion for food and good cooking, tells us what’s best and why, gives us fresh ideas, inspires us to play in the kitchen – for just over $2 a month. That’s really cheap and effective therapy!
How Cooks Illustrated Helps Savvy Vegetarian:
A few years ago, on the CI product test page, I was introduced to the love of my life, the Victorinox Fibrox chef’s knife, CI’s top recommended knife, an amazing bargain at $30!
In one issue, sometime in the last year, CI published test results for Cuban Black Beans and Rice – with meat, of course. The test info and directions were so thorough that it was easy to veganize the recipe. By the time I was done, it was a vegan Cuban Black Beans and Rice recipe, quite different from the original, but I owed the author for the idea, and for the principles discovered in testing.
In the most recent issue of Cooks Illustrated, there were useful tips for vegans and vegetarians on pressing spinach, halving cakes horizontally, slicing dessert bars, measuring and storing various items.
In the same issue, I learned how to rescue vegetable lasagna from sogginess by sautéing the veggies first to draw off moisture. That technique applies to Savvy Vegetarian recipes Presto Manifesto Vegan Lasagna and Tofu Vegetable Quiche. The article also compared whole wheat lasagna noodles, with organic Bionature the winning brand. I second that.
That article, plus the ones on muffin making, salt baked potatoes, light as air potato gnocchi, great butternut squash soup, the cutting board review, how to prep lemon grass, were all very useful, and the recipes easily veganized.
But what got me really excited was the article about preparing really good lentil salads, which states “the key to creamy but firm lentils lies in the relationship between legume and salt”. It’s a given that firm, intact lentils are necessary for successful lentil salads.
After reading the lentil article, I knew what I had to do to get perfect lentils not only for Savvy Vegetarian recipes like Rice Red Lentil Salad, and Quinoa Lentil Salad, but also for Lentil Burgers, and Red Veggie Burgers.
If my raving doesn’t convince you that you must subscribe to Cook’s Illustrated, I guess you’re not a cooking addict like I am. In other words, you’re a normal person with a life.
But just in case you are a total food freak and want to subscribe – I have to say, you can also get an online membership to Cooks Illustrated.com, with access to the entire database of recipes, product reviews, videos, ingredient taste tests, science tidbits, kitchen tips and step-by-step cooking techniques, all searchable and available any where any time. As a magazine subscriber, you’ll receive a discount when you join.
I’m going to go sign up for my 14 day free trial period right now!
Judith Kingsbury, Savvy Vegetarian