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A profile of Cook's Illustrated's Christopher Kimball. I have always thought that this man is probably insane.

Slate is tracking the "government isn't Medicare" meme.

• The New York Times has a new restaurant critic.

• On a related note, this is what Frank Bruni looks like.

Why Timothy Geithner should get angry.

By Ezra Klein  |  August 5, 2009; 6:37 PM ET
Categories:  Tab Dump  
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Comments

Insane? Most definitely.
A great editor? Also most definitely.

Cook's Illustrated's ascendancy really came about when they brought him back for his second stint. Maybe his time away from the magazine gave him some perspective to go with his crazy?

Posted by: Fnor | August 5, 2009 8:38 PM | Report abuse


Bruni: "A healthy desire has become unhealthy." Doesn't that sum up so much?

Posted by: bdballard | August 5, 2009 9:24 PM | Report abuse

and speaking of what X looks like, is that really Tim Fernholz pictured at the bottom of that Geithner article? Looks just like Yglesias!

Posted by: bdballard | August 5, 2009 9:27 PM | Report abuse

and would T shirts reading "Medicare is government health care." or some such be just right for the Organizing for America folks working to counter the teabagger mobs? I'll stop now.

Posted by: bdballard | August 5, 2009 9:29 PM | Report abuse

Kimball may be insane, but it's the good kind.

THE newspaper and magazine PROBLEM is that they got hooked on ad revenues as primary support, and got gathered into conglomerates whose sole purpose was to listen to Wall Street ANALysts who believed in the ever greater cash cow.

I worked for Hewlett-Packard in the early days of the minicomputer predecessor to the PC (early 1970's, versus mid-80's for the PC). Bill & Dave (H and P) firmly believed in quality and freakish financial conservatism. They PAID CASH for new manufacturing buildings! No long term debt. They also believed that if you earned more than 10% net profit you were just asking for competitors to join the bubble at the profit table. So we priced for 9.5% net profit, and guess what? HP became the powerhouse that beat IBM (before the HP ideology fell to the greed of Wall Street-oriented CEOs).

So, back to basics. Let readers pay for content and have great content. And be modest on profit goals and profits will come like the sun rises.

Instead we get crappy journalism/mag content and ridiculous profit objectives that lead to crushing debt and the downward spiral in readers, quality and profits.

So, Kimball is maybe showing the way. I'd like to see more of that biz practice, starting with our financial institutions and media.

Posted by: JimPortlandOR | August 5, 2009 9:39 PM | Report abuse

Kimball may be nuts, but I'm grateful. Ex: It used to drive ME nuts that I'd cut into a gorgeous apple pie and all this juice would flood out and it would collapse. Then I found the CI recipe which called for cooking down the apples first, and voila!--no juice flood. I cook for 6 people every night. If I am going to do the work of cooking, I want it to turn out.

On a visit to Boston last year I toured the test kitchen. Very interesting operation.

Posted by: tpuppie | August 5, 2009 11:19 PM | Report abuse

I like cook's illustrated, but they drive me completely nuts over their obsession with the idea that there is one right way to cook a dish. Most of the time when I read the magazine I read the process, look at their recipe, and then make up my own variation. It's very useful for that purpose.

But the idea that you cook to an ideal rather than to the tastes of who your cooking for is absurd.

Posted by: Parmenides | August 6, 2009 3:32 AM | Report abuse

Here's hoping you resist the temptation to apply for Sam Sefton's (now former) job as an editor of the Dining section! While you sure would be up to the task, we need you to cover health care. Pls, don't, Ezra!

Posted by: Gray62 | August 6, 2009 7:42 AM | Report abuse

Oh, and this sure is a flattering picture of Frank Bruno. I was under the impression that he looks more like the gourmand in Monthy Python's "Meaning of Life". "A wafer thin mint", anyone?
:D

Posted by: Gray62 | August 6, 2009 7:47 AM | Report abuse

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