If you are a regular reader of Cook’s Illustrated, you are familiar with the front matter that precedes the recipes: a folksy editorial by Christopher Kimball, the misnamed “Notes from Readers” (it’s questions from readers), and the Quick Tips.
It’s the Tips that I find most interesting; a collection of handy hints from kitchen MacGyvers who have solved problems you didn’t know existed. Concerned about getting your iPad dirty while cooking from an on-screen recipe? Use a baby carrot as a stylus! Can’t find your rolling pin? Use a 2-lier bottle filled with water! The ideas range from the completely obvious to the outright ingenious, most employing muffin tins, ice cube trays, microwaves, ice cream scoops, and aluminum foil.
There’s at least one tip a month that I had independently discovered, which left me wondering if I could come up with an original suggestion. My eureka moment came when I was figuring out how to store a huge batch of garlic chips that had come out of my dehydrator. I had run out of the little desiccant bags that She Who Must Be Obeyed liberated from her company’s lab, and didn’t want to order them online. Remembering that uncooked rice absorbs moisture (that’s why you see it in salt shakers), I looked around for a porous package to hold a few spoonfuls, which is when I remembered the Japanese loose tea bags I use for making herb sachets.
I filled the bag with rice and tossed it in the container with my chips, which have been perfectly dry ever since.
I didn’t remember seeing a similar tip in Cook’s, so in August I submitted the idea along with the two photos in this post. In September I received a reply informing me that my tip would appear in the January/February 2012 issue. And it did:
Not quite a MacGyver feat, but I’ve already done that. Next up is a culinary application for duct tape.