December 9th, 2014

Mister Cranky-pants


I have a subscription to Cook's Illustrated, which I mostly enjoy (although sometimes I feel like they're kinda running out of interesting recipes to write about).

But one of the things that annoys me is when they provide substitutions for some ingredient they think you won't have on hand. Because they never provide the directions for what to do if you DO have it on hand.

"Here's a fried rice recipe with six steps for making substitute day-old rice." Okay, maybe there are some readers who decide they Must Have Fried Rice NOW who will appreciate that, but if I'm making fried rice? It's because I want to use up the day-old rice!

"Yakisoba sauce is hard to find outside an Asian grocery, so here's how to doctor up Worcestershire sauce to substitute." That's good to know, but some of us actually live near an Asian grocery. Three of them, in fact. And shop there pretty regularly. I know most people don't have it, but for those of us who DO happen to have some in the cupboard, could you just list how much to use? Like in a footnote, even?

And my biggest complaint are all the recipes that add an anchovy filet or a dab of anchovy paste, "not enough that you can taste it, just enough for an umami boost". Well, I don't keep anchovies on hand, because they're gross and they don't keep well, but you know what I DO have sitting in my pantry? A great big bag of Aji-No-Moto powder, aka M-S-fucking-G, the best and purest umami booster in existence. Somebody give me THAT substitution, would you?