Saturday, March 12, 2005

Me, a sucker for cooking commercialism?

While I'm blathering about magazines, I should give an honoujrable mention to Kraft's What's cooking. It's free, and yes, it's a promotional tool, but the recipes do work, even if they almost invariably ask for the incorporation of salad dressing. Today's dinner was a Spring stir-fry from the latest issue, which used peanut butter and Catalina dressing, and darned if it isn't one of the better stir-fries I've churned out this year!

The Spring issue touts the BEST ever roast chicken, just like Cook's Illustrated and Fine Cooking have done recently. We'll see. Despite the Italian salad dressing in the Kraft recipe, it looks pretty darn simple and good.

Promotional cooking rags get me every time, from historical Five Roses Flour cookbooks to the volumes containing every label-back that ever graced a can of Campbell's soup. I adore the nostalgia of the commercial appeal to the housewife, sponsorship, and the idea of brand loyalty. Not that it's any kind of ideal - it's nostalgia, pure and simple. Gone are the days, however, of the awkward inclusion of brands, some of which were hilarious, like the dozens of uses for Spam. "Test kitchens" have eradicated that charming, clumsy, blatancy, and now Kraft is producing a free, glossy, happy-making and useful mag from heaven, that is just shameless enough to charm me.

No, I don't work for them.


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