The NYT profiled joyless food mandarin Christopher Kimball. Not exactly a puff piece, but tough to figure why to bother with Kmball in 2012.* Even tougher to figure is this quotation:
The food writer Francis Lam told me: “There’s always been something punk rock about Cook’s Illustrated. It spoke to me as a young culinary-school student, because it was all about the food. No cool-looking people, no rustic farm tables — who else is doing that?”
Legs McNeill: "It would have been back in, oh, '77, when Chris and his girlfriend were squatting in that loft, and Cooks Illustrated was a typed newsletter that Nancy would clandestinely mimeograph. One August weekend, Chris and Nancy made 32 different versions of beef stroganoff, and wanted us to try them all. When we pointed out that a) it was August, and b) nobody really likes stroganoff that much in the first place, Kimball stabbed Richard Hell in the neck with a broken Heineken bottle.
John Leland: "In January of '78, Malcolm McLaren managed to get Chris a pilot on PBS. It was a fiasco. First he spends a solid half hour talking about ricotta cheese in order to prove that the Stop & Shop brand was better for lasagna than the more expensive import. Then he freaks out and tests santoku knives by carving Nancy's name into his forearm seven different times. There was blood everywhere."
Hilly Kristal: "Toward the end, it got pretty bad with Chris and Nancy. She'd wander around the East Village, covered with reduced fat sour cream. Kimball kept trying to use the walk-in at the club to store brining turkeys, but he'd forget all about them, then freak out and claim we had stolen them."
I will stop now, and am generally a fan of Lam, but her his comment only makes sense where "Punk Rock" means "joyless precision achieved through endless repetition." Maybe Kimball is, in fact, the New Order of the cooking magazine game? (Thanks, as always to Ms. Penny Pascal, of whom more soon, for Peerless Photoshopping.) We'll leave you with a different punk rock food take:
*Also, am I the only one w/ a parent or older relative who has seen them end up in a situation of borderline mail fraud? If you get the mag, you get offers for books, and if you get one book, it's hard to get the books to stop coming, seems like.