The new dish I made last week was grilled pork tacos, which I got from a new magazine in the Cooks Illustrated arsenal, America’s Test Kitchen. It was simple and really really good. You make a spicy dressing/marinade. Some of it goes on halved pork tenderloins for grilling, some of it goes on fancied-up coleslaw w/pineapple that you put in the tacos. This’ll probably be in regular rotation, if I ever make an actual rotation.

I have a few things to say about the magazine format, which is a departure from the usual for Cooks. I’m afraid it will be too long to be interesting to most of you, so I put it behind the jump.

The typical Cooks’ Illustrated article follows a familiar trajectory:

“Dish X, though occasionally wonderful, is usually a tragedy and the home cook is beset on all sides by minefields and shark infested waters when s/he tries to prepare it. We tried all kinds of variations and through extensive testing have learned crucial steps that ensure transcendent success. Here is the recipe.”

Perhaps America’s Test Kitchen trusts the reader’s familiarity with the Cooks’ brand. Or, it’s trying to expand its reach to a new audience. The magazine is nothing more than a collection of recipe cards with almost no commentary. I know, it’s crazy! Each page is divided in quarters; the edges are perforated for tearing out. The front has a lovely photo of the dish, and the ingredients and instructions are written out on the back side.

I don’t know if all issues are this way, but this issue was called “Fast and Fresh” and its tagline was “64 suppers, 30 minutes or less”. Whoa, is someone feeling pressure from the Rachel Ray empire? The pork tacos I made called for 8 oz of coleslaw mix, which seems like a very Rachel Ray “take some help from the store” school of thought. I personally don’t have a specific problem with bagged coleslaw mix, but it seems very weird for a Cooks recipe not to instruct me to shred my own damn cabbage.

Still, these pork tacos were easy and awesome, which is a welcome combination, so I’ll be giving other recipes from this issue a try.

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