On Community and Wound Care
My mom's name is Martha, but she's always gone by Marty. Marty worked as a registered nurse on the cardiac-orthopedic floor of a local hospital for more than 40 years. When I was a kid, she'd come home from long shifts on her feet and cook dinner for my sister, my dad, and me. We'd sit down to eat her excellent from-scratch cooking—maybe cream of chicken and rice or her milky Maine-style fish chowder with crispy bacon. And she'd talk about what was on her mind: surgeries, needles, pandemics, bad falls, and the best practices for wound care.
Within minutes the clatter of spoons on ceramic would cease. Marty, sensing the deep silence, would look up to see three faces, now as pale as her chowder, staring blankly back.
To this day my sister and I rag on my mom about her macabre dinner talk. But in truth, it wasn't her fault. We just weren't the right audience.
We weren't her community.
Before I started cooking professionally—wherein I was thrust, full bore, into an intense, passionate food community—I often felt like Marty at the dinner table. I wanted to debate the relative merits of a classic German-style chef's knife and a Chinese vegetable cleaver. I thought about the differences between yellow and white onions; I had an opinion about when to use each. Over Monday morning coffee I was eager to talk menu planning for Saturday's barbecue. My friends and loved ones would listen patiently and nod, but they never really got it.
Do you ever feel that way? Do you wish for a community of like-minded cooks where you can pose questions, ask advice, share photos, or argue about citrus juicers? Well, I have some good news for you. We've assembled one of the most vibrant online cooking communities in the United States. It's a private group hosted on Facebook that you can access only if you are a subscriber to Cook's Illustrated or Cook's Country or if you're a member of one of our websites.
As of this writing, the group boasts a little more than 10,000 members. Among the ranks are various America's Test Kitchen staffers, including chief creative officer Jack Bishop, executive food editor Keith Dresser, and me. We often jump in to answer questions, add our opinions, or sometimes to just stir the pot. If that sounds appealing to you, I encourage you to visit CooksIllustrated.com/group to get your invitation. You might even see Marty in there from time to time. But don't worry—she's promised to keep it clean.
Editor in Chief