Kettle to the Metal
Electric kettles are handy for making tea or coffee and for any cooking task that requires a few cups of boiling water, from rehydrating dried mushrooms and tomatoes to softening lasagna noodles or reconstituting concentrated stocks. The Capresso Silver H2O Electric Kettle ($55.69) won our last testing in 2008; we wondered if it was still the best kettle on the market. We gathered five stainless-steel and four glass kettles (we’ve found that plastic kettles can create funky flavors), priced from $32.89 to $99.95, to test against our old favorite. We started by timing how long each took to boil water. We then evaluated the precision of their spouts and comfort of their handles and boiled the maximum allowed volume in each one to see if they splashed or spilled. We even held a blind tasting of the boiled water to see if any imparted off-flavors. Finally, we subjected each kettle to a durability test of 25 additional boiling cycles, putting the top-ranked models through a full 365 rounds to simulate daily use for a year.
Ultimate Banana Bread
By Andrea Geary
The tradition of banana bread–baking is more heavily steeped in parsimony than indulgence: When bananas get covered with brownish-black spots, the frugal alternative to pitching them in the trash has always been to mash them up, add them to a quick bread batter, and bake.
I’m all for thrift in the kitchen, but I’ve yet to come across a banana bread recipe that actually makes me glad I saved those overripe specimens. Without upsetting the humble charms of this bread, what would it take to create a moist, tender loaf that really tasted like bananas?