For months I kept asking my hubby what he wanted to do for his 40th birthday. Go out to a fancy dinner, rent out a private room for a party, or take a trip? No, no, and no. Finally, the decision:

“I want to have everyone over for dinner and barbecue ribeye steaks and lobster tails.”

When I heard this I remember thinking, “wow, I would never choose to cook for myself and 40 friends on my own birthday. He must really love cooking.”

Hubby has always enjoyed being in the kitchen or standing over a smoking grill. We subscribed to several cooking magazines, but it wasn’t until we began getting Cook’s Illustrated that something changed. If you’ve never seen Cook’s Illustrated before, it is a thin publication that features no actual photographs of food, only artists’ drawings. Sounds rather dull until you read it. Every recipe is tested, and tested, and tested, until they have the perfect crepe, stir-fry, or pineapple upside-down cake. They also have a member’s website which has an extensive array of recipes, technique videos, and equipment reviews.

Hubby's lobster tails grilling. Photo by Ananda Dalidd

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This is going to sound completely obvious, but the reason we use Cook’s Illustrated recipes day in and day out is because they always turn out great. Not good, but great.
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