Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Food Media & News >
Dec 22, 2011 05:32 AM

My Aplogies, but I Need to Vent About America's Test Kitchen

You know--I'm kinda ticked off right now. I went to check my email and America's Test Kitchen sent me this email entitled "How to Make the Perfect Pepper Crusted"........

Well, I'm thinking--"This is good--maybe it is about making a perfect pepper crusted beef tenderloin, as I'm making for Christmas".. So, I open the email and it is nothing more than a teaser telling me I can get the recipe if I subscribe.

I should have known. I had a subscription to Cooks Illustrated, but I got so fed up with their constant hounding to purchase more and more stuff that I just ended it. It kills me. I love my ATK cookbook because it really is a great source of information. I do like the ATK shows as well, I find them concise and no-nonsense. However, Kimball has a set of 'em, is this guy for real??? He tries to come across as an "Aw shucks, Gee Whiz" kind of guy and he's the food equivalent of an ambulance chaser attorney. Arrrrrrgh...

Thank you for letting me vent. I appreciate it.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I'm with you!

    We get the magazine and pay more for the website, yet damn near every time I go on there and find a recipe I want to make, it's in "exclusive" section (or whatever it's called) and I'd have to pay even more to get it! WTF?!!?

    If it were up to me, we would cancel the subscription to the magazine and website just on princple, but my wife still likes them (and pays!) ;-)

    5 Replies
    1. re: Bart Hound

      Exactly--its the principle. It kills me. Even Martha Stewart makes her recipes available on line. ATK is just so stingy...Prevention magazine is like that too. Just gets to me.

      1. re: jarona

        Of course, Cooks' Illustrated has no advertising, but I too still find the exclusivity of the web site extremely irritating.

        1. re: jarona

          It would seem to me that if you subscribe to Cook's Illustrated, you should get the website for free. If not, then pay for the website. I think it is a ripoff. I do get the magazine, but I don't pay for the website. There are so many other recipe sources out there.

          1. re: travel61888

            It doesn't really offend me, but I've subscribed to Consumer Reports website for years and they do the same thing.

            I do feel it would be better if you got a discount if you are a current magazine subscriber.

            Still I pay every year for full website access to CI and CR,

        2. re: Bart Hound

          I finally did just that. I peruse the magazines at the library and if something interests me I borrow it. I do watch the shows on my DVR when I'm folding laundry - and if a recipe really catches my eye, I've had 100% success googling it and finding a blogger who has made it and published it to the letter, despite claiming that it is adapted.

        3. Same e-mail this morning, same reaction. A few days ago my husband said something about a recipe he wanted to make from "You know, that guy you hate, the one from Vermont." Had to laugh. Yes, I like the show and the recipes work and I use many of them regularly, but his business practices make him such an obnoxious PIA.

          2 Replies
          1. re: rockycat

            Yes he is, and it kills me that he always has that column that just sounds so sincere and honest -- go figure.

            1. re: jarona

              If you watch him long enough - and think about the terrible marketing practices, you might start to see him differently. For me, sincere and honest became dishonest and sleazy. That said and like a lot of people here - I love the show and the cookbooks are bibles. These are truly recipes that work.

          2. You can unsubscribe from "Special Offers and Promotions e-mails"--I just did. That's pretty much all I get for signing up, so after reading your post and thinking it over (got the same pepper crusted e-mail today!), I cut 'em off!

            4 Replies
            1. re: kattyeyes

              I did the same after receiving the same email and having the same reaction. For any of you that do pay and found out anything remarkable about that peppered beef, let us know ,-D

              1. re: kattyeyes

                I've unsubscribed countless times to no avail. Just like any other spammer they use that information to confirm that it's a real address - so they can send you more junk mail. This is over the course of seven (eight? ten?) years.

                My spam folder is filled with, ATK and Cialis crap.

                1. re: MplsM ary

                  Hmm. I believe you, but so far so good for me. I received an ATK e-mail today, "Notes from the Test Kitchen--Recipes and Kitchen Tips That Work." This is actually what I thought I was signing up for--featured recipes/tips similar to those I receive from subscribing to Food & Wine and Saveur. Today's topics: Garlic Mashed Potatoes | Roasted Carrots | Roast Beef
                  White Chocolate Tasting | Perfect Kitchen Timer | Tie a Roast

                2. re: kattyeyes

                  I bought this magazine last year for 1 year, and it automatically renewed, and sent me a bill for something I didn't want again (the magazine isn't THAT good), then I wrote them and cancelled, and they kept sending the mag, and another bill, and another mag and a threatening bill. Now I have again cancelled subscription, this time online, and hope I never hear or see this magazine again. The word for their behavior is sleazy.

                3. Many faithful ATK/CI followers have said things to the effect of, "I love the concept and the recipes but the entire marketing department needs to be fired and/or shot." I've begun to agree with that sentiment the more I get to know the ATK machine. It's sad, because I don't think the super-obnoxious marketing tactics are going to help keep it going. People are going to get sick of it. ATK has been one of my main cooking and baking "tutors" the past few years and I recommend their stuff to everyone I meet who is interested in learning to cook. I hope they change.

                  1. I really like Cooks Illustrated, but had to cut my subscription off a few years ago (I can't remember why now). For the past two years, I look fondly at my mags from the old days, which I saved. But I resist signing up for a new subscription b/c I don't want to get caught in that crazy web again. It's a shame.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Cachetes

                      You can pick up the magazines more easily now. Costco and other magazine purveyors carry it. I prefer doing it that way.

                      1. re: EWSflash

                        And if you find them at Costco they are 30% cheaper than newstand, IIRC

                        1. re: coney with everything

                          Also, you can see what's in the latest issue and whether you can hold off until the end of the year to buy the 'Annual' instead of separate copies. I usually say to myself - I can wait.