Cook's Illustrated Editor: I Wish All Those Amateurs Out There Would Just Shut Up

from the well,-that's-nice dept

Rob Hyndman points us to an editorial in the NY Times from the founder of the famous Cook's Illustrated magazine, Christopher Kimball, bemoaning Conde Nast's recent decision to shut down the magazine Gourmet. Rather than talking about all sorts of mistakes made by Conde Nast in managing its magazine portfolio, he works out some way to blame people who use Twitter and Google and (gasp!) put their own recipes online and (oh no!) have their own feeble-minded opinions:
The shuttering of Gourmet reminds us that in a click-or-die advertising marketplace, one ruled by a million instant pundits, where an anonymous Twitter comment might be seen to pack more resonance and useful content than an article that reflects a lifetime of experience, experts are not created from the top down but from the bottom up. They can no longer be coronated; their voices have to be deemed essential to the lives of their customers. That leaves, I think, little room for the thoughtful, considered editorial with which Gourmet delighted its readers for almost seven decades.

To survive, those of us who believe that inexperience rarely leads to wisdom need to swim against the tide, better define our brands, prove our worth, ask to be paid for what we do, and refuse to climb aboard this ship of fools, the one where everyone has an equal voice. Google "broccoli casserole" and make the first recipe you find. I guarantee it will be disappointing. The world needs fewer opinions and more thoughtful expertise -- the kind that comes from real experience, the hard-won blood-on-the-floor kind. I like my reporters, my pilots, my pundits, my doctors, my teachers and my cooking instructors to have graduated from the school of hard knocks.
The thing is, the evidence actually suggests he's wrong. People who first become interested in such "bottom up" knowledge, often go on to seek out the "thoughtful, considered editorial." The bottom-up system works because the ease of entry doesn't scare people off, but it also doesn't take long for those who find it compelling to seek out more expertise in the subject. Refusing to "climb aboard this shop of fools" is a good way to make sure that the snobs you're hoping will come find you never even bother.

Kimball is correct that he should be better defining his brand and proving his worth -- that's what we've been saying all along. But you can do that without insulting the riff raff, as well. You can do that while embracing the "bottom up" process. You can do that without being a total snob that has no time for the people who actually pay your salary.


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  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 9th, 2009 @ 6:38pm

    I don't know about the 1st result for Broccoli Casserole, but the 2nd is from Paula Deen. Can someone tell her so she can beat up this moron for insulting her casserole?

     

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    TheStupidOne, Oct 9th, 2009 @ 6:46pm

    Comment from the #1 google result for Broccoli Casserole (http://www.cooks.com/rec/view/0,178,135180-244199,00.html):

    I found this website from a New York Times article I read today and I am so happy I did! This was the best broccoli casserole ever and my family devoured it and they will not even eat broccoli most of the time. I just wanted to say thank you for a wonderful recipe and a great site!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 9th, 2009 @ 6:52pm

    Re:

    Oh, actually, I now have the urge to go post lots of positive comments about the "guaranteed disappointing" recipe.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 9th, 2009 @ 6:59pm

    Re:

    What a crappy recipe. It lacks ancho chile powder, Spanish paprika, ground coriander, dry mustard, dried oregano, ground cumin and chile de arbol.

    I can't imagine Broccoli Casserole without these ingredients. What a horrible, horrible tragedy of a recipe. When cooked, I imagine it's as crappy and bland as the person that conjured it up.

    Bleh.

     

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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Oct 9th, 2009 @ 7:03pm

    Y'know...

    I've been trading recipes (at a low rate, admittedly) for years. You know what's never come up?

    Gourmet magazine.

    Obviously, that's my fault.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 9th, 2009 @ 7:19pm

    Re:

    On a rainy day, when I couldn't work, because I am a framer/roofer construction worker, I went to the Cooks.com at the local library to find something good to make my wife. As soon as the Broccoli Casserole recipe loaded, the library shook, was filled with Classic Rock music, and smoke filled the room, and everyone looked at me and their eyes went all "glowing".

    The library alpha males all started circling me, because they could tell I was a "Big Daddy", while the ladies acted like they didn't care, but I knew they could sense my "Good Cook" aura. I waddled down to the printer with my hip-pack (I can't walk due to my mullet getting caught under my shoes. Anyway, I waited impatiently as the lights flashed telling me that the paper was printing. I mean, I dunno what made me want bust out the bottle of Early Times in my hip pack, but damn it was good! I could "smell" one particularly "scenty" lady across the room. I looked at her, smiled, and she got a glimpse of one of my silver capped canines. She came right over and waited next to me. She said "Hey, you wanna see my power crystal?"

    Well, to make a long story short, by the next morning, I had divorced my wife and was very satisfied, being full of the super Broccoli Casserole recipe I found on Cooks.com. Now, I live in a 900 square foot trailer, with my lady friend and couldn't be happier.

    Thanks, Cooks.com!

     

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    davebarnes (profile), Oct 9th, 2009 @ 7:21pm

    Let's face it, Chris is a snob

    As a subscriber to: Cook's Illustrated, Fine Cooking and Bon Appetit.
    As a reader of my local newspaper (Denver Post) and its recipes.

    I think Chris is a snob.
    That's OK.
    After all, I don't own a large piece of Vermont.

    But, he is so wrong to insinuate that you cannot find good/excellent recipes on the InnerTubes®.

    What he needs to do is create a great iPhone app and his magazine subscribers will increase.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 9th, 2009 @ 7:27pm

    "those of us who believe that inexperience rarely leads to wisdom"

    I think it's funny that no one pointed out the obvious fallacy of this assertion, and the fact that he's missing the point about amateurs communicating.

    Inexperience is the path to wisdom. In fact, I've learned more from my father describing a mistake and the way that he fixed it on the next attempt at a dish than I think I ever could from someone simply telling me how to do it right.

    And of course: If you can't compete with amateurs, then you're obviously not providing the value that you think you are. If your recipes were that much better, and your wisdom so essential, I wouldn't bother with Google. I do, because it works, and you have yet to give me a compelling reason to buy your rag.

     

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    ..., Oct 9th, 2009 @ 7:30pm

    OMG

    What a blow hard.

    Oh - and I hate Broccoli casserole

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 9th, 2009 @ 7:57pm

    Re:

    Then you've never read his ragazine. That's exactly what they do, test many versions of a recipe and talk about what worked and why and what didn't and why.

    I do get recipes from the internet but most of them could be made better. Some of them are just not good. I learned more from Cook's Illustrated than I did in a highly rated cooking school. There are scientific explanations and good recipes. I highly recommend it. I cannot highly recommend just any random website.

     

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    John, Oct 9th, 2009 @ 8:48pm

    Cook's Editor

    So, am I to understand correctly that he feels everyone who twitters or uses the web has no experience in anything?

    What an arogant piece of crap.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 9th, 2009 @ 9:09pm

    What evidence Mike? You must be tired, being friday at all... but stop stating evidence without putting any forth.

     

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    jb, Oct 9th, 2009 @ 9:12pm

    food

    I agree with Kimball. The "wisdom of the crowd" offers at best the middle of the bell curve. There IS a place for professional reportage, whether it be cuisine or sports or political commentary.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 9th, 2009 @ 9:25pm

    that casserole kicked ass! good riddance gourmet!

     

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    ervserver (profile), Oct 9th, 2009 @ 9:52pm

    I've tried many recipes from Christopher Kimball's show America's Test Kitchen and very few are good. In my experience I find many better recipes online where there are feedback ratings left by others who have tried them

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 9th, 2009 @ 10:35pm

    "...this ship of fools... where everyone has an equal voice."
    Seriously? I'm the first one to take issue with this phrase? It makes me nauseous when I hear pompous @**es running off at the mouth like this. Anyone who would have anything to do with this man or anyone or anything remotely associated with this man obviously doesn't value their First Amendment rights.

     

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    KGWagner (profile), Oct 9th, 2009 @ 11:46pm

    Bottom up

    Mike said: "The thing is, the evidence actually suggests he's wrong. People who first become interested in such "bottom up" knowledge, often go on to seek out the "thoughtful, considered editorial."

    It's true. I happen to subscribe to his magazine for that very reason. It's a superior publication that treats its subject matter in way you can't easily find anywhere else.

    I'm surprised he'd pick "Gourmet" magazine to defend or point to as an example of what we'll lose as a result of easy access, as it's the very type of supermarket rack fodder that many people try to avoid. I foolishly subscribed to it for one year, and let the subscription lapse. I'm not surprised it's going out of business - it's not worth the price of admission. I'm not sure I'd accept a subscription to it even for free, as it would add to my waste removal problem.

     

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    Fridge Forager, Oct 9th, 2009 @ 11:51pm

    Not for Shroom Haters

    Lucky Mushroom Stew (because cooking can get you some lucky, at least it did last time I made this for the mate)

    - Drop a big pot on the stove. Put in about 6 cups of water or some sort of stock (chicken or veg), get it heating to a rolling boil.

    - Couple bags of dried mushrooms (wild variety or chanterelles are faves here), not the crazy expensive kind. The ones with about a handful to a bag. Toss them into the pot to get rehydrating.

    - Heat a bit of oil in a pan, rough chop some onion, get them sauteeing, optional (but recommended): a few strips of bacon or pancetta sliced into bits, get them crispifying in the same pan. Also optional: a handful or so chopped fresh 'shrooms, like portabello, toss them in too. Get 'em all browned up nicely, slide it all into the pot, drippings, everything.

    - Add a good slosh of whatever red wine you like to drink, if you'd like. Add in fresh thyme or rosemary if you've got it. Or don't. Highly recommended: Worchestershire sauce, a couple tablespoons.

    - If you've got leftover potroast* or pork loin or chicken, throw it in there too, why not? Or don't.

    - Simmer covered at least a half hour, an hour is fine. Season as you see fit upon tasting.

    - Serve with torn chunks of a nice hearty bread or a few browned crisp pierogi.

    *If there's any of this soup left, it makes a great cooking liquid for potroast in a slow cooker. I've gotten 3 meals for 2 people out of this before: soup, then potroast, then chili with the potroast leftovers, some tomatoes, peppers, kidney beans.

    Recipe adapted from that of my late mother-in-law, who served this on Christmas usually. She worked big family farms in Ukraine. She knew how to feed people and had huge working hands that would crack, like a walnut, the head of some snotty, alienating jackass who tried to tell her otherwise.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 10th, 2009 @ 12:16am

    The problem is that the bottom up approach requires one to EARN a good reputation, the top down approach requires one to get a good reputation by simply lobbying the government for an unlevel playing field. These people are lazy, they don't want to earn a good reputation through honesty, they want to steal it through government intervention.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 10th, 2009 @ 12:24am

    "The world needs fewer opinions and more thoughtful expertise"

    So then why are you giving us your opinion on the subject matter you foolish hypocrite.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 10th, 2009 @ 12:25am

    Re:

    "The world needs fewer opinions and more thoughtful expertise"

    To spell it out to you, in case you haven't noticed, this is an opinion (it's YOUR opinion) you silly hypocrite.

    What you want is only for YOUR opinion to be heard and no one elses.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 10th, 2009 @ 12:30am

    Re: Not for Shroom Haters

    I'm sorry, I have a patent on everything you just said and if anyone does it I'm suing. Also, I'm going to sue you for copyright infringement.

     

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    andrew johnson (profile), Oct 10th, 2009 @ 12:35am

    Upgrades

    On a technical level I would have to agree that most sites do a poor job of correctly assessing expertise. However, this is a temporary issue. Current technology will be replaced by new systems that do a better job of providing valuable information to the user by addressing these problems. The same can hardly be said about traditional media which hasn't really changed during those "almost seven decades".

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 10th, 2009 @ 12:50am

    Re:

    "I'm the first one to take issue with this phrase?"

    I also have a problem with that phrase and find it very troubling that there are people out there to take away our freedom of speech and ensure that the government grants their opinion and communication with the masses an unlevel playing field. It's very bothersome/troubling to me as well and I do think that we need to ensure that the government doesn't do anything more to restrict our communication channels. But look at public airwaves, the FCC, and telcos/cablecos, and how that turned out. Public airwaves used to be more like the Internet is now until the government/FCC ruined it and now it's become the top down nonsense it is now. And cablecos are overpiced top down. And most newspapers are corporate controlled.

     

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    Doctor Strange, Oct 10th, 2009 @ 12:51am

    I understand Kimball's sentiments. That is not to say that I agree with them necessarily, but I think I understand where he's coming from.

    A couple years ago, somebody got the bright idea to have Joshua Bell, who is apparently an extraordinarily accomplished violinist, play as a busker in a New York subway. Among the community of professional musicians and critics, there is little disagreement that Bell is one of the finest violinists in the world.

    As you might expect, the New York subway rabble mostly ignored him. Despite the fact that he could fill Carnegie Hall with an announced performance, most people just walked on by without even stopping.

    The first fascinating question: is Bell's playing objectively better than a common subway busker's? How would we tell?

    Music is one of those fields that seems pretty subjective, so maybe we can't. But let's ask a simpler question: is it just complete bullshit? Is Bell's playing objectively distinguishable from a common busker's? It turns out that, to trained ears, the answer is very likely yes: if you put 100 buskers and Bell behind a screen and let them play for an expert audience, they would be able to pick out Bell. Bell's playing has some qualities: technical accuracy, tonality, whatever, that distinguish him from amateurs, against some objective standard.

    But if you put Bell and 100 buskers behind a screen, a lay-audience may not be able to pick out Bell. You have to study and train to pick out Bell from 100 buskers. Laypeople would not have a well-defined standard to evaluate the violinists, nor would they have the skill to fully evaluate a violinist against the standard.

    In a world where it costs a lot (relatively speaking) to publish an opinion, the people who are trained in a subject are generally the ones who have their opinions solicited. You can argue about whether the standards they use really separate "good" from "bad," but you probably can't argue that they are incapable of evaluating something against that standard.

    In a world where experts have publishing power, experts primarily defined the standards and evaluated things (violinists, recipes) against those standards. Although we could treat the standards as entirely subjective, it's possible that at least some parts of the standard were objective: based on objective measures of technical correctness, or based on informed knowledge of social preferences gathered through studies and experience.

    The Internet has shifted the balance of power. Now, amateurs can also speak loudly. Instead of a few standards, we now have millions. Instead of consistent evaluations against those standards, we now have inconsistent evaluations. And society at large does not have the expertise to understand or tell the difference.

    The folks at Gourmet and violin aficionados are lamenting this, because their power has been diluted, and for their skills to remain marketable, they may have to achieve the impossible: convincing a huge majority of amateurs, who are largely incapable of evaluating their judgments, that their judgments are somehow superior (in objective quality, in consistency, whatever). Before, they just had to convince the publishers at Conde Nast, who were a small group who were apt to select experts for their expensive publication. Now they have to convince everybody. And "everybody," in the aggregate, won't select the best...they'll select the good-enough. They will select the broccoli casserole that barely doesn't suck, rather than the one that's truly great.

    The problems of Joshua Bell and the folks at Gourmet are the reasons that I am an engineer, and not a musician or a chef. In engineering, the standards are much less set by social preference, and much more by nature. The results are much easier to evaluate: either this black box produces the right outputs or it doesn't. The rocket either made it to space or it blew up. The bridge either held up during the earthquake or it collapsed. "Better" is much more often quantifiable and explicable. I don't have to spend too much time trying to argue that an expert engineer's bridge designs are better than those solicited from amateurs on Twitter, because gravity will explain better than I ever will.

    I find it interesting that "looks good to me" is a really, really obviously dangerous standard for bridge design, but "sounds good to me" and "tastes good to me" are socially acceptable in the violin and cooking domains. (Some would even argue that these "good-enough to a layperson" standards are the natural result of market economics and therefore are preferable almost by definition.)

    Call me a snob, but on the whole I don't want "the average person" designing my bridges, creating my recipes, directing me to violin music, performing surgery on me, or running the government. In fields where I have some expertise, I have seen great social damage done by decisions made that amateurs were sure were "good enough." Literally millions of dollars, hundreds of thousands of hours, all gone into a black hole like tears in rain.

    A phenomenon that makes it harder for experts to be experts concerns me a little, and maybe we should not be so unconcernedly excited about the newfound power and volume of the amateur.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 10th, 2009 @ 1:25am

    Re:

    "because gravity will explain better than I ever will. "

    Yes, but which bridge looks better? See, we need the "experts" to tell us that.

     

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    rollinginsanity, Oct 10th, 2009 @ 2:13am

    Ha, when he mentioned uneducated and uninterested riff raff he's talking about such a minority. I think the net is a great place for people to learn how to do stuff that they don't want or need to spend years learning how to do.

     

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    Lucretious, Oct 10th, 2009 @ 5:05am

    Re: Re:

    techdirt needs to start a "post-of-the-week". I nominate this.

     

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    Big Broccoli, Oct 10th, 2009 @ 5:49am

    Re: food

    Certainly there is a place for it! But apparently not in the business model of Gourmet magazine. Oh well, people who want that will get it somewhere else.

     

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    Big Broccoli, Oct 10th, 2009 @ 5:51am

    Re:

    Just because someone says you are stupid doesn't mean they are violating your first amendment rights or don't value the first amendment. You are an idiot and are perfectly free to respond.

     

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    NullOp, Oct 10th, 2009 @ 5:55am

    Control freaks

    Generally professions like to have total control on who is the top dog. They want to be sure they have the right mindset and espouse the party line. When someone from no where comes up and turns heads its viewed as blasphemy. In the end it boils down to "you can be important, only WE can be important."

     

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    Big Broccoli, Oct 10th, 2009 @ 6:02am

    Re:

    However, isn't "perfect is the enemy of good enough" a fairly reliable engineering principle?

    If the bridge holds up during an earthquake is it necessary to make it asteroid proof? I would contend you face the same problems as they do, yours are just funded prior to having a solution.

    Josh Bell's problem is that noone wants to buy what he is selling b/c it is too expensive. No gov't would pay for your asteroid proof bridge if it cost 3 times as much as the "good enough" earthquake proof one.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 10th, 2009 @ 6:53am

    Re: Let's face it, Chris is a snob

    I agree! Great comment

     

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    Palmyra (profile), Oct 10th, 2009 @ 6:58am

    1984 anyone?

    While reading Kimball's comment I could not help but think of the first Mac commercial. Is Christopher Kimball the guy on the big screen? Google/internet/Twitter etc is the hammer...

    Power to the people!

     

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    Sandy Antunes, Oct 10th, 2009 @ 7:15am

    editorial was right,f or wrong reasons

    I think the editorial was spot on with: "They can no longer be coronated; their voices have to be deemed essential to the lives of their customers."

    This has always been the ideal case for writing. In the past, magazine editors had to guess which writing was bringing in readers, based on a handful of reply letters and a single number called 'sales'. In the web era, we now get this information instantly.

    So we've shifted from the pair of gatekeepers (good) & nepotism (bad) to a mix of meritocracy (good) and populism (bad). It's not worse, it's just different, and I think it has pluses.

    Alex
    The Daytime Astronomer, http://scientificblogging.com/sky_day/

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 10th, 2009 @ 7:42am

    Re:

    I dunno. That first one looks pretty damn good to me. Fresh broccoli, roasted and sliced chicken, a bechamel sauce, and Gruyere swiss or sharp cheddar...

     

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    Fridge Forager, Oct 10th, 2009 @ 8:04am

    Re: Re: Not for Shroom Haters

    Ha, I have a pre-existing patent on the aroma!

    And walnut-cracking hands!

     

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    herodotus (profile), Oct 10th, 2009 @ 8:09am

    This is bloody ridiculous. All food snobs are.

    No matter how impeccable your demi-glace is, no matter how lacy and delicate your latke's happen to be, no matter if you only use Plugra butter for your Pate Brisee, or organically grown heirloom tomatoes to make your arrabiata; no matter what you make or how you make it, it's all going to come out of your ass the next day.

    You would think that this consideration would keep foodies from taking themselves so fucking seriously, but clearly this is not the case.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 10th, 2009 @ 8:35am

    Re:

    "...no matter what you make or how you make it, it's all going to come out of your ass the next day."

    Not if a Ralph Lauren model is eating it.

     

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    Fridge Forager, Oct 10th, 2009 @ 8:44am

    Re:

    Good points raised, I agree, I don't want superstructures or medical procedures based on 'good enough' or dictated by those with little clue. Function shall override form in those examples, one hopes, though form will always play a part (doc could sew you up with fishing line, but I doubt he'd have many repeat patients). Humans will, I believe, always go for beauty as well, but that is a subjective standard, and beauty must serve the function.

    The subjective, as with cooking or music, will produce experts and afficionados based on interest. Nothing wrong with that, but I don't see a relationship to endeavors needing objective data, like the effects of gravity or stress. I find the bridge ugly, but it won't disintegrate under extreme condition...asteroids not withstanding, but I'm okay with that, as I will likely be vapor in that event.

    I guess what I'm taking too long to say is that I don't worry so much about objective arenas, where liabilties are at the forefront, but in the more subjective realms, there will always be a 'snobbery' factor enabled by some with expertise, and that will actually sell to some who want to be in that club. But exclusion and dismissal is what came across to me most in Kimball's rant, and putting people who enjoy at least learning about the subject on the defensive isn't helping him plead his case. Or even properly explain it.

     

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    Chef in the box, Oct 10th, 2009 @ 9:01am

    Kimball is right for the wrong reasons

    Look, Kimball built his media kingdom on the things that matter today. He doesn't accept advertising; his revenue is all about subscriptions, book sales, and a community that values his websites enough to pay for them. He has carefully cultivated a brand-- several, actually-- that teach us how to successfully manage in the kitchen. Gourmet's revenue was based on a failing model-- ad sales-- and a subscription model that devalued their editorial (less than $1 an issue! screams their mailers). Yes, Gourmet had fabulous editorial, and I will miss it it, but Kimball's business model is what will continue to work for someone who wants to actually make money in publishing.

     

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    DrE, Oct 10th, 2009 @ 9:33am

    The main problem with Kimball's argument is that he fails to consider how to define an expert. The proper definition of an expert is not someone who has been trained (in school or in hard knocks). It is whether the decisions and an actions of the expert produce better outcomes than the non-expert. In the case of cooking, this would mean meals that all others (not just self-appointed experts) find preferable to those made by non-experts. There has been considerable research on asthetic judgements in the music area (see work by Dr. Konecni), the upshot of which is that music experts are no better than non-experts in making decisions about what is and is not "good" music. I suspect the same might true of asthetic judgements about food.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 10th, 2009 @ 10:04am

    Re:

    Call me a snob, but on the whole I don't want "the average person" designing my bridges, creating my recipes, directing me to violin music, performing surgery on me, or running the government.

    Fine, you're a snob.

    I substantially agree with the sentiment, but the core problem is you're comparing disciplines where the reward/cost of success/failure are minor to those where they're major. A bridge fails or a building collapses, people die. Listen to a bad violinist or eat a crappy pie (unless it's really crappy pie), so what? And the time required to acquire the expertise to "properly" evaluate the the subjective qualities of say, art or music, have a negative ROI for the average person. If you think Big Macs are good eatin', you have far more (and cheaper) food options than if you have a 'refined' palate. So the quantifiable upsides to discovering the joys of gourmet dining are minimal, outside of the approval/validation of foodies.

     

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  44.  
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    AnonCow, Oct 10th, 2009 @ 10:20am

    Kimball is a tool. His company charges a subscription for the print magazine but also charges an additional subscription for the magazine's website. When I found out that I couldn't search for the magazine's recipes on the website for free, even with a magazine subscription, I canceled my magazine subscription.

    Kimball - Stick to stupid simple recipes for talentless home cooks on public television. The commercial world will be better off without your asinine opinions.

     

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  45.  
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    JimW, Oct 10th, 2009 @ 11:53am

    Regarding Mr. Kimball & his magazine

    Cooks Illustrated has great value many readers at various levels despite Mr. Kimball's focused efforts at egomania, arrogance, and turning the publication into his own personal gold mine. Astute PBS viewers should recognize that America's Test Kitchen is little more than an infomercial for Mr. Kimball's books, magazines, and website. I agree with other comments regarding ignoring Mr. Kimball's books and magazines, and instead just subscribe to the website for his information. It's cheaper, has more info, saves space, and is more eco-friendly. Just watch out from their marketing practices, such as forced automatic renewal with no option to opt out.

     

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  46.  
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    bigpicture, Oct 10th, 2009 @ 2:33pm

    Arrogance?

    “I will punish the world for its evil, And the wicked for their iniquity; I will halt the arrogance of the proud, And will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible." (Isaiah 13:11)

    Is this not a prophecy about these days in which we live, it is not like that it hasn't been foretold. Is this not that same pride and arrogance in the extreme? This is just the weeding out of what is contrary to the good of humanity. So why is this news?

     

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  47.  
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    ALANTONE (profile), Oct 10th, 2009 @ 2:35pm

    Deckhand in the ship of fools

    I'm sorry to say I joined that ship of fools a long .. long time ago and loving it! I'm worst, I do not Google I Youtube when I want to learn something.

    So Gourmet, setup a Youtube channel and join the rest of us fools on the ship. We are always looking for another deckhand. ;)

     

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  48.  
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    Gene Cavanaugh, Oct 10th, 2009 @ 2:54pm

    Professionals and the school of hard knocks

    Right on, Mike! My experience has been that most people with, say, "30 years experience in the school of hard knocks" are generally people who have one year's experience repeated 30 times.
    The best recipes I know of are from blogs and other "amateur" publications - I think they are generally improvements on stuff that someone found in, say, "Gourmet" or ????, but they tend to be improvements (usually ways to make "great" meals healthier or more practical - and incidentally, ways to make them taste better!).
    I agree there will always be a place for "professionals", though I have a very low opinion of anyone who purports to be an expert due to the "school of hard knocks" - education, in its finest form, is thousands of years of hard knocks carefully distilled for value - and ONLY the school of hard knocks - implies you have settled for 30 years instead of THOUSANDS of years!

     

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  49.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 10th, 2009 @ 5:32pm

    Re: Arrogance?

    I love old testament. Good stuff. Have you read anything from Ecc? David and King Solomon have a lot of stuff that is wildly pertinent to this very world we live in...

     

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  50.  
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    Dan, Oct 10th, 2009 @ 7:08pm

    "Cooks" is just whining because he seems to think his business model should be grandfathered and only his opinion has value. Fortunately there are as many different flavor opinions as there are cooks or we would be all eating the same slop all the time.

     

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  51.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 10th, 2009 @ 9:45pm

    CI needs to fix their poor subscription process

    CI needs to fix its crappy subscription process - for their website and printed mag. I stopped getting it for this reason.

     

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  52.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 10th, 2009 @ 9:50pm

    Hahahahahaha!

    Bravo, my good man. Bravo.

     

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  53.  
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    Spanky, Oct 10th, 2009 @ 10:26pm

    re

    Cooking instructors...from the school of hard knocks?

    It is such a shame, though, that the middle class gets to have an opinion now.

     

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  54.  
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    Brendy, Oct 11th, 2009 @ 12:00am

    Thankfully...

    The internet is even more helpful than taking even one expert's opinion. Now before I buy or try something out, I am able to see what hundreds of other people said about the product with differing opinions and biases so that I can draw my own conclusion about whether or not the product will fit my particular needs. This guy is a knucklehead, and he is just butthurt that his magazine business is tanking. Boo-hoo, so is everyone else's businesses.

     

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  55.  
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    Glenn (profile), Oct 11th, 2009 @ 5:58am

    He has a valid point

    Crowds and expertise are not interchangeable. Sure, foodies can be snobs, but this is a really important distinction. Too bad it's mostly lost on all the google-heads in here.

    I'm a subscriber to Cooks Illustrated, FWIW, by no means a foodie, but appreciate something well done, with insight and expertise. They've got that in spades.

    I googled the broccoli salad recipe. The #1 recipe has Ritz Crackers on top, which pretty much proves his point.

     

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  56.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Oct 11th, 2009 @ 7:42am

    Am I the only one who routinely ignores the top three or so results from a google search?

     

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  57.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Oct 11th, 2009 @ 7:49am

    Re: He has a valid point

    "I googled the broccoli salad recipe. The #1 recipe has Ritz Crackers on top, which pretty much proves his point."

    I disagree. Have you tried the recipe? I haven't, but it might be fantastic. And even if you don't find it so, it just means that cooking with Ritz isn't to your taste. There's nothing wrong with that, and there's also nothing wrong with thinking it's delicious.

    There's no right or wrong with this sort of thing, and there's no objectively better or worse. There's just what you enjoy and what you don't.

    Thinking that including Ritz (or any other ingredient) makes a recipe objectively inferior is snobbery. It's declaring one's own preferences to be superior to others. And that's BS.

     

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  58.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 11th, 2009 @ 8:22am

    I have to say that cooks illustrated/country has amazing recipes and advice on everything.
    That aside, he shouldn't have put his foot in his mouth.
    My grandmother knows how to cook but she has a hard time explaining her methods. It is all too bad that Gourmet magazine has sunk, and I fear that Cooks Illustrated may be next.

     

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  59.  
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    davebarnes (profile), Oct 11th, 2009 @ 9:38am

    Re: Joshua Bell

     

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  60.  
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    Peter Risman (profile), Oct 11th, 2009 @ 10:32am

    Spot on Michael!

    Your dissection of the Gourmet editor bemoaning the irrelevance of his snobbery hit the bull's eye. I am pretty well steeped in digital marketing and social media, and I would be hard pressed to offer suggestion for improvements.

    Bravo!

    Peter Risman

    Twitter: PeterRisman
    LinkedIn: PeterRisman

     

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  61.  
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    rw (profile), Oct 11th, 2009 @ 12:00pm

    Bottom-up

    Every other endeavor I know of has to start at the bottom and work their way up. NOBODY is born an expert!

     

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  62.  
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    Mandy, Oct 11th, 2009 @ 1:32pm

    I googled broccoli casserole, the first recipe is crap, miracle whip, american cheese, cream of mushroom soup, can we get any more processed food into a recipe.

    But I get what Christopher is saying and I don't think he's a food snob. He does appreciate good food and that is becoming a rarity.

    I lament the passing of Gourmet magazine, mainly because I think it just shows how taste in food has changed, watch food network anymore and it's rarely cooking, it's food entertainment, doesn't matter what it tastes like, it matters how quick one can get it on the table no matter how processed the food is.

    I read a cooking blog recently and I use the term cooking very loosely that was esctatic over a 2 ingredient cake recipe, the ingredients, 1 box cake mix and 1 can diet coke. This would be funny if so many people didn't think this was the best idea ever.

     

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  63.  
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    PopeRatzo, Oct 11th, 2009 @ 1:36pm

    Re:

    Kimball sure proved his worth, all right. Unfortunately, his true worth does not reflect his very high opinion of himself.

    It's not the fault of the Internet that these Conde Nast publications didn't make it. Strangely, The New Yorker, Atlantic Monthly, Harper's, even Wired are still on the newsstand and still making money.]

    Can you imagine the gall of this elitist prig? He actually complains about the fact that experts are no longer made "from the top down". He just can't live with the fact that he's not on top of Mt Olympus any more.

    I'm sure he still hasn't gotten over the fact that blacks can now ride in the front of the bus, and you just can't get good help any more.

     

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  64.  
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    Ben, Oct 11th, 2009 @ 2:06pm

    Brooklyn Lasagna!

    Take 1 box of macaroni & cheese (the cheaper the better).
    One pound of elCheapo hamburger meat.
    One big yellow onion.
    One 16oz Can of tomato sauce (8oz if you like it drier).
    Garlic powder & black pepper.

    Fry up the meat with the chopped onion, garlic powder & pepper. Add the tomato sauce and simmer in the same pan.
    Boil the Mac, drain, add the meaty sauce and cheese powder to the macaroni mix and eat (serves 1 hog or 2 hungry people).

     

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  65.  
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    ..., Oct 11th, 2009 @ 3:54pm

    Re:

    I quit reading here: "New York subway rabble"

     

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  66.  
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    Chef Ramsay, Oct 11th, 2009 @ 3:57pm

    Let me tell you something in your ear. YOU CAN'T COOK!

     

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  67.  
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    Newbie, Oct 11th, 2009 @ 8:47pm

    I like Cooks Illustrated and especially like the tv program "America's Test Kitchen". That being said, I won't ever sign up with them for the magazine or web-site. Dad ordered their mag and was sent un-ordered cookbooks. Pestered with all types of marketing crap. Lousy experience.

    I'll take the free and the occasional magazine at the store. But that is it.

     

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  68.  
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    Newbie, Oct 11th, 2009 @ 8:54pm

    Re: Re:

    I live in Minneapolis Minnesota. No--- what is judged "good enough" may actually end up falling down into the Mississippi.

     

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  69.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Oct 12th, 2009 @ 1:32am

    Re:

    A couple years ago, somebody got the bright idea to have Joshua Bell, who is apparently an extraordinarily accomplished violinist, play as a busker in a New York subway. Among the community of professional musicians and critics, there is little disagreement that Bell is one of the finest violinists in the world.

    DC Metro, not the NYC Subway. NYers would have been a better test. :P

    But, seriously, that's a bogus experiment, because context is everything in that situation. I remember reading that story when it came out, and it was fascinating (and the video was great to watch as well), but it's ridiculous (bordering on idiotic) to assume from that that people don't recognize greatness.

    If you put 100 good violinists with Bell and asked people to pick out who was great, most would still pick Bell. That wasn't the experiment in the Metro though. I've taken lots of subways/metros in my life, and when I do at rush hour, the last thing on my mind is stopping to listen to some guy playing a violin.

     

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  70.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Oct 12th, 2009 @ 1:33am

    Re:

    What evidence Mike? You must be tired, being friday at all... but stop stating evidence without putting any forth.

    There are times when I assume you're smart enough to use Google.

     

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  71.  
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    Marcel de Jong (profile), Oct 12th, 2009 @ 4:22am

    Re:

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Always has, and always will be.

     

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  72.  
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    Sean T Henry (profile), Oct 12th, 2009 @ 6:30am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I second that.

     

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  73.  
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    foodie, Oct 12th, 2009 @ 9:34am

    Re: Gourmet vs Cook's Illustrated

    Gourmet wasn't about cooking, it was a "lifestyle" magazine. I let my subscription die long ago. I do like C.I. though... it is mostly about cooking, and what proportions and techniques work best for a given dish. I hope it stays around for a while.

     

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  74.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 12th, 2009 @ 9:43am

    Re: If it tastes good, eat it.

    The ultimate artiber for flavor is the eater. If someone wants to find an elaborate cake recipe that meets their tastes, they can seek it out. If someone wants a box a mix and a can of pop, they should be able to have that too.

    The guy has it completely wrong. What is need is both more options back by a willingness to be honest about the results. There should always be room in life for the sophisticated elaborate treat, the trashy guilty pleasure, and everything in-between.

    After reading my share of issues of Cook's Illustrated, I learned that life's too short to let some snob spend 3 pages telling me why their pie recipe is "perfect" in the most prententious language possible.

     

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  75.  
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    CastorTroy-Libertarian, Oct 12th, 2009 @ 9:45am

    Re:

    I am an Engineer as well (i am also a business person), and i see crowd sourcing as great.

    But lets use your example. A bridge. If i posted a contest to this evil thing called the internet, and said hey submit your designs for a brige it will cross river y (I say y not). The winner picked out will recieve $5,000.00, I can say a few things, 1) i will have more submissions quicker than any RFQ i could put out. 2) any design taken into consideration to build would have to be looked at and evaulated by my engineeriers. 3) it will cost me less for the intial design and the 4) these unwashed masses that do their designs will look at it in different ways than any of us "engineers" have ever looked at making that particular bidge before. Just like anything you will have a bell curve of crap to great and everything in between, but it can and will work when the day is out.

    Why because i used the amatuers and the experts to make something different and better.

    I believe there is room for both, and i believe the amatuer will come up with more imagination than any expert ever would simply from not knowing it cant be done. From that enthusiasums comes the greats ideas, not the expert that thinks it cant be done.

     

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  76.  
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    hexjones (profile), Oct 12th, 2009 @ 11:07am

    Re: Professionals and the school of hard knocks

    yes!

     

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  77.  
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    hexjones (profile), Oct 12th, 2009 @ 11:16am

    Re: Re: If it tastes good, eat it.

    "After reading my share of issues of Cook's Illustrated, I learned that life's too short to let some snob spend 3 pages telling me why their pie recipe is "perfect" in the most prententious language possible."

    I'm actually interested in reading about how someone else isolated the variables and tried different things until they found the best that they could do. This way, I can save time and money. There is nothing that says you can't sub some ingredients here if you want more or less butter or cheese or whatever.

     

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  78.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 13th, 2009 @ 6:14am

    Re: Re: Re: If it tastes good, eat it.

    "There is nothing that says you can't sub some ingredients here if you want more or less butter or cheese or whatever."

    I can agree with that. IMO, when it comes to cooking, there is a relationship between science that underlies a recipe and how it actually turns out, and the art of making it tasty.

    At the same time, I find their writing style painful. Each trial recipe written in terms going beyond "here's why I like it" into the kind of near raving and mugging that bothers me when I see it in cooking shows.

    I'll freely cop that it's a personal thing.

     

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  79.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 13th, 2009 @ 5:13pm

    All this wisdom coming from a man that has one of the crappiest web sites on the internet???

    What a blowhard!!!

     

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  80.  
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    Big Broccoli, Oct 14th, 2009 @ 12:44pm

    Re: Re:

    Well put. Don't most of these "foodies" end up scouring the hills of italy for little old ladies who know how to make the most obscure dishes perfectly anyway and then rip them off without a whiff of copyright or royalties?

     

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  81.  
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    Big Broccoli, Mar 12th, 2011 @ 8:06am

    Re: Re:

    Except for the fact that ALL your medical procedures / bridges/ space shuttles/ cars / nearly everything that is engineered / made ARE based on "good enough." At some point cost outweighs risk!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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