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Jul 9, 2012 11:08 AM

Cooks Illustrated hits a new low!

They now have an iPad digital dubscription to read their magazine, but unlike BA, MS, F&W and Everyday Food, they are charging an extra 19.99 even if you are a print subscriber or if you are an online subscriber to their site. I feel the no-ad excuse has gone a bit far here.

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  1. I agree. And they clearly promote brands and products on their show and their website, so are they gaining ad revenue anyway?

    1. I think this model for charging extra for the digital version will be changing soon. I think that it's just got to sort itself out, and most will follow with the free digital version.

      Arizona Highways is now available digitally. I would read that before I read the hard copy. But my husband loves the hard copy, so we get that, and consequently I never read it..

      1. Don't magazines have ads in their digital subscriptions? Seems that they do.

        1 Reply
        1. re: tommy

          I know BA and F&W do, as I subscribe to post.

        2. No surprise there - Christopher Kimball and his company make no secret of being out for every nickel they can squeeze. It's their business model. It's up to us to decide if it's worth it. For me it isn't.

          31 Replies
          1. re: John Francis

            Here's the deal: We are ALL out there getting all the dollars we can. He does it because that's his business and it's how he makes his money. The crux is whether or not we LIKE the guy and his product.

            1. re: sandylc

              It's interesting as I used to like this guy and then began reading about the questionable handling of subrscription cancellations and other extra charges and now his folksy, bowtie fake persona makes my skin crawl.

              He gets no money from me.


              1. re: JuniorBalloon

                I'm inclined to agree, plus the fact that he doesn't pass up any opportunity to say how much he HATES hot or spicy food makes me think much less of his pontifications.

                1. re: EWSflash

                  He doesn't say he "HATES" spicy food; he says he has an intolerance for it. Two very different things.

                  1. re: mangiare24

                    Because he doesn't like it and can't be bothered to expand his horizons. Hae you ever watched his fae when they're ralking about spicy food?

                    1. re: EWSflash

                      We all have foods that we dislike. What divides us is how we present it. People who are always pointing out their own dislikes and looking down upon people who DO like these "terrible" foods are just annoying.

                      1. re: sandylc

                        He doesn't do any of that. Plenty of people do, to your point. Many of whom can be found on sites like this.

                        1. re: sandylc

                          I like to go to grocery stores that cater to various ethnic tastes. I see things I wouldn't eat or don't like but I keep it to myself. If pressed, I'd say I didn't care for X, but I wouldn't make a disgusted face or noise, or otherwise show any sign of personal distaste because I think it's rude and don't wish to insult anybody's personal preferences. Not that I havent' done it, but I do try my best not to.

                          1. re: EWSflash

                            You're also not a TV personality and host of a show. LOL!

                            1. re: tommy

                              Nor will I ever be! Too old and boring!

                  2. re: JuniorBalloon

                    I keep hearing about poor subscription handling problems but I've subscribed and unsubscribed from their products a handfull of times over the years with absolutely no problems.

                    I don't care if he charges for everything he can. It's his business, as has been pointed out. And as has been said, if you don't like it, don't buy it. It's pretty simple.

                    To me, CK is just a CH whipping boy. Much like Guy Fieri. I get that people don't like some people's on screen persona. But what I don't get is why people keep tuning in and then complaining. There's plenty of shows on TV that have people I don't like. So guess what??


                    1. re: Davwud

                      "To me, CK is just a CH whipping boy. Much like Guy Fieri. I get that people don't like some people's on screen persona. But what I don't get is why people keep tuning in and then complaining. There's plenty of shows on TV that have people I don't like. So guess what??"

                      Nicely said.

                2. re: John Francis

                  My problem is that what he offers is confusing. At one time I had the CI print subscription as well as online subscriptions to both CI and ATK. But with my online subscriptions I kept running into pages that were inaccessible without some ADDITIONAL subscription or other. In the end, I gave up (I still get the printed magazine but none of the online).

                  1. re: drongo

                    I liked the online membership so I could save my favorites. And yes now they have a premium membership. If they had their way, you would be spending a fortune there.

                    1. re: angelsmom

                      I used to have an online membership. Then I hit my limit with them and their nickel and diming and quit all of it. I don't even watch their tv show anymore. I'm done with them.

                      1. re: rasputina

                        I am less enamored of ATK TV show as time goes by. While I have gotten a few excellent recipes from them that are a part of my permanent collection, more and more lately I haven't been interested in what they're doing. They also have had many preconceived notions about how dishes should absolutely be; usually I disagree to some extent with these ideas. They have gone on and on and on over the years about how cookies, of course, should always be soft. Then they arrogantly march along with this superior presumption regarding something that is very subjective. It doesn't help, of course, that I like my cookies crisp!!!!!

                        1. re: sandylc

                          This is my beef with them--I think they invent some problems just to have an excuse to jump through various hoops. I remember a brownie recipe where the walnuts were sprinkled on top because they were too soft if baked in the batter. Um, well, I always liked the softer walnut texture inside a brownie and I want my nuts inside. They'll also dismiss some old-fashioned fixes as too much work, but then come up with their own labor-intensive extra steps.

                          That said, I do find most of their recipes reliable, but Maida Heatter's been my go-to expert for cookies for ages.

                          1. re: sandylc

                            We share your disenchantment - I have taken to calling it "White Rural America's Test Kitchen", because their outlook and tastes are so narrow.

                            1. re: zabriskiepoint

                              That's so funny--I think of them as New England, old people test kitchen. As someone who is not even young anymore (early 40s) and has lived all my life in a West Coast city, their recipe choices (recently--Swiss steak! Or those old school Italian-American dishes people in the NE, and nowhere else, made in the 60s) are so often baffling to me.

                              1. re: christy319

                                What do you think they should test?

                                1. re: christy319


                                  What is wrong with Swiss Steak?

                                  1. re: christy319

                                    Darlin', in ten years, you're going to think of your early 40s as your youth, LOL!

                                  2. re: zabriskiepoint


                                    I live and cook in white rural America and I disagree. I can only begin to list the short cuts that ATC takes that lead to abomination versions of good food. What they did to Bread Pudding is just a starter.

                                    1. re: shallots

                                      I don't recall their bread pudding episode, but I know from discussions here that there many ideas of what constitutes an ideal bread pudding. I wouldn't be surprised if ATK visited that dish multiple times.

                                      1. re: shallots

                                        What's your issue with their bread pudding, and more importantly, how do you make yours?

                                        (I realize this may sound like I'm challenging your opinion - I'm not. Just hoping to hear your thoughts on bread pudding)

                                        1. re: cowboyardee

                                          is one that proports to be from CI. I recall them recommending chalah bread, and oven drying it, rather than letting it stale naturally. I don't see anything wrong with it, even though my preferred pudding is drier, with a Mexican twist.

                                      2. re: zabriskiepoint

                                        boy, you really nailed that! It annoys me the way they do everything to death.

                                      3. re: sandylc

                                        Is ATK even on anymore? All I get is cook's country.

                                        1. re: sandylc

                                          I just got from the library their 10 year collection of recipes. As many of the cookie recipes were titled 'thin and crispy ...' as 'thick and chewy ....'.

                                          I sense that many of the complaints about their recipes and methods result from focusing on a few recipes where people have firm ideas to the contrary. But I don't think selective disagreements should obscure the overall usefulness of their methods.

                                          I rarely follow any of their recipes in detail, but I have gotten a number of useful ideas from them. One thing that I especially like is that they explain why they choose a particular method or ingredient. The explanations are fullest in the magazine articles.

                                        2. re: rasputina

                                          I got an online subscription, only to realize that it had expired, and i"d never used it. We live, we learn.

                                  3. Saveur also does not give you a free digital edition if you are print subscriber. I'm not at all surprised the money grubbing CI/ATK doesn't.

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: rasputina

                                      Sounds like the New York Times and their crazy subscription options.

                                      1. re: LindyCindy

                                        Not sure what you mean by that since all print subscribers to the NYT (even if it's not for the entire week) get free, unlimited access to digital editions on all platforms.

                                        1. re: JoanN

                                          Yep, I think it is quite a deal. I get Sunday print edition only, mainly to get FT online access.