Why We Cook
At the most basic level, we cook to provide nourishment. But that’s only the very beginning. We also cook to express our love, our desire to care for others. Some of us cook as an outlet for creative instincts, to fashion out of a set of ingredients something new that is much more than the sum of its parts. Or we may cook to explore different cultures, to better understand the way others experience the world. Many of us cook for solace and a sense of familiar comfort, instinctively turning to the kitchen in difficult times. And, of course, we cook because it gives a satisfying sense of accomplishment; you can actually achieve something worthwhile in a short period of time.
But even that list is just a start. Each of you could probably add several more personal reasons that you head to the kitchen. And truthfully, we cook for different reasons on different days and in different parts of our lives.
Here at Cook’s Illustrated we understand this, and we try to provide cooking experiences to satisfy every mood. Take this issue, for example. If you are in the mood to explore other cuisines, take a look at our version of Thai grilled chicken, in which Cornish hens stand in for the very small chickens grilled on the streets of Bangkok. Or try Chinese Smashed Cucumbers, an astonishingly easy and refreshing summer side dish that originated in Sichuan. (And if you’re wondering whether “smashed” really works better than “sliced,” the answer is a very clear yes.) For a brush with coastal Italian flavors, check out Linguine with Seafood, our rendition of the classic linguine allo scoglio.
If it’s a particularly keen sense of accomplishment you’re after, try our Modern Fresh Fruit Tart. It not only looks spectacular as a whole but also slices into gorgeous portions without mashing or crumbling, unlike most other versions we tried.
You’ll also find the comfort of familiarity in many of the dishes in this issue, from Southern Corn Fritters to Smoked Steak, Turkey Meatloaf, and an old-timey Summer Tomato Gratin.
So go on—take a look. Whatever your reason for wanting to cook today, it’s very likely that we’ve got you covered.