Each issue of Cook’s Illustrated begins with a folksy letter with news from down on the old Vermont farm by founder and editor-in-chief Chris Kimball. These charming, old-timey updates remind us all of a slower, simpler way of life, where neighbors stop to swap plowing tips out by the trading post and run when they see Old Henry coming. Who’s Old Henry? Why, what a question, stranger. Old Henry knows who you are. That much is certain. Old Henry knows who you are just fine.
The Toast has received an advance copy of Mr. Kimball’s most recent letter, which we are proud to publish in full here.
There’s some work hands weren’t meant for. What kind of work that is, I don’t believe you home cooks ought to know. Keep them busy kneading dough, and pitting stone fruits, and soothing a chicken before wringing its neck; keep your hands doing their own work so they can’t find any other, that’s the key, friends.
If you hear a sound at your door that isn’t a knock and isn’t a hello, you ought to turn right around and leave what you’re doing – leave the sauce on the stove, leave the fire on the hob, leave the iron in the grate – and put yourself in the sewing-closet, door locked tight like a heartbeat, until the sound passes. But if you were to go to your door, which no true Vermonter would do, you would see a shape that wasn’t a dog and wasn’t quite something that wasn’t a dog, neither. And you’d have to follow it....Read More