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Editorial

  • You're the Boss

    Confession time: We don’t really run this magazine. You do.

    Okay, maybe that’s a bit of hyperbole. But not very much. Because before we do anything, we ask you if we should do it. Then we solicit your input along the way. And then, when we’re finished, we ask you how we did.

    Here’s how it works. When we’re considering what recipes to develop, we survey a random panel of you readers, asking, for each dish, whether it’s something you really want. If 80 percent of you say yes, we start testing incessantly to come up with the best possible version. When we think we’ve got it, we ask those of you who have volunteered to do so to actually make the recipe in your own kitchens and give us feedback. If fewer than 80 percent of you say you’re so happy with our recipe that you’ll add it to your regular repertoire, we go back to the drawing board (or, more accurately, the kitchen counter) to address your concerns. Then we send it out to you again. No matter how much work we’ve done, if we can’t get at least 80 percent of you to love a recipe, we ditch it. (Ask our test cooks about the famous chocolate fudge recipe that, despite two months of testing, sits in the dustbin of our culinary history.) Finally, a postpublication survey lets us know how much you liked not only the recipes but also the stories and even the art in the issue.

    It’s all about giving you not what we think you should have, but what you really want.

    One interesting thing about this is that what you want changes over time. In this issue, for example, you’ll find plenty of what you might call “American classics,” from Refined Strawberry Shortcake to easy Skillet-Roasted Chicken in Lemon Sauce, smoky Grill-Roasted Beef Tenderloin, and a new (and better) version of Sticky Buns. These types of recipes will always be a major part of our magazine.

    But there are also recipes here that would never have appeared in our pages 10 years ago. There’s Patatas Bravas, a classic Spanish potato tapa; Korean Rice Bowl, which features the newly popular Asian condiment gochujang; and Parmesan Farrotto, based on a grain that has only recently come to the attention of American cooks. Oh, and when you read about the sticky buns, you’ll find that the secret to their amazing texture is a cutting-edge Japanese technique known as tangzhong.

    It seems that our world—or, really, your world—is getting larger. We hope you like what we’re adding to it. We’ll soon find out.

    The Editors of Cook’s Illustrated

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