Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Food Media & News >
Dec 12, 2010 09:08 AM

Cooks Illustrated premium rip off

I think their "premium website" upgrade for recipes is the worst nickel and dime money extraction scheme I have seen in a while. I think it might also be illegal because when you pay your online subscription fee there is NO NOTICE that you will only be able to access part of the recipe file and that additional fees are necessary to access (for me) almost every recipe I search for on their website. Three searches three "you must upgrade to get that recipe". Grrrrr. I totally feel ripped off. Isn't some disclosure necessary before we part with our money?

I was charmed by Mr. Kimball's editorials in the magazine. No more. He is a real as Betty Crocker.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. As a long time subscriber to the mag, when i saw that he charged for the on-line access as well, i let my subscription expire. he is as bad as my cable provider, that takes pond scum to another level.

    1. Can you explain? What would you get with your regular level if not the recipes? I am tempted to let my mag sub runout & just have access to the website whenever I need to doublecheck something or have time to browse the latest.

      1. I'm very disappointed in all the things I read about the Cooks Illustrated business practices. It is by far my favorite food magazine, but I may have to let my subscription run out because of the constant money grabs. I was very surprised when I found out that I had to pay extra for most everything related to the website although I was a paper copy subscriber. I suppose it's fair enough for them only to offer extra if you pay extra, but it feels bad.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Shann

          I used to subscribe to CI and was certain that my obsession with finding the perfect life changing recipe would be satisfied with them. I finely bought "The Best Recipe" cookbook and snuck it onto my bookcase with my other 300+ cookbooks. Two months later out they came with "THe NEW Best Recipe". WHAT!!! Do they mean my book is NOT full of THE Best Recipes? It was the anticipation of owning the book, the satisfaction of finally holding it as my own, and the feeling that I'd been taken for a sucker almost immediately after when they said I should now buy their new best recipe book - that finally ended my infatuation with Kimball and crowd. My new best recipes come from Fine Cooking magazine and website. I love the mag. because it's about recipes - not advertisements. And they are GOOD recipes, with wonderful pictures and instructions. I have stopped CI, Bon Appetit, and Gourmet. May quit Saveur when it runs out in two years, but Fine Cooking is GREAT and they just seem so honest in comparison - without all the nickle and diming of CI.

          1. re: Lotti

            Just in defense of CI, they do operate without advertising so they are under more pressure to get revenue.

        2. Ya know.....I really, REALLY like the "Cooks" TV shows. I dunno--I find them informative as all heck and I enjoy the no bs about the way the food is cooked, the tone of the show. I even had (note I state HAD) a subscription to Cooks Illustrated. I allowed it to expire because I felt I was hounded to subscribe to their website and the online thingy.

          Funny..I, too was charmed by Mr. Kimball's editorials--they were unlike the total dysfunction of my own personal life. However, the more I read and hear about this guy...the charming personality--the bowtie--it is all seemingly a gimmick. It's a love/hate kind of thing. I despise his phoniness, but I love him for bringing such informative shows and cookbooks. America's Test Kitchen is one of my go-tos!

          1. hmmm, well you saved me signing up. I got the "free" cooks illustrated app for my Itouch. So far, almost everything requires me to sign up and pay money.
            I started losing my delight with Cooks over cobbler recipes. I had the BEST cobbler recipes with them ---tons of compliments and easy to use [a chart with amounts of fruit, suggested topping etc.] Alas, I mislaid it somewhere in the universe. Cooks doesn't have it in the archives--they have an "improved" version which is way more complicated. Why can't I get the same recipe that was in the magazine?

            If I were you, Lotti, I'd be sooooo ticked.

            1 Reply
            1. re: jenn

              Jenn, here's a link to a post with some of the CI cobbler master recipes. I have the issue you are referring to. E-mail me via the address on my profile if you need more info.