I decided to follow the Kottke’s lead and take in some publications outside my normal reading pattern. You always see this as a recommendation for generating more and better ideas. I have found that it works pretty well in the world of blogs, so why not try it in the world of print?
My first choice was Cook’s Illustrated. I enjoy cooking and have heard good things about the bimonthly magazine. The writers take classic and contemporary recipes and develop ideal technique for making the best dish. They also test various food products and kitchen apparatus to prove their worth.
I was drawn to a recipe for oven fries. They tested types of potatoes, oven temperatures, oil types, and amount of oil to apply. They found soaking the potatoes in hot water eliminated a mealy interior and only added ten minutes to the prep time. To eliminate the fries sticking to the pan, they put salt and pepper on the pan, which “[acted] like little ball bearings.” As an engineer, I just love all the varying of input variables to create the best output. Isn’t cooking just chemistry anyway? We made the recipe last weekend and they were outstanding.
Besides the oven fries, what struck me was the fact there was no advertising. In the 31 pages of print, there were twelve articles and 5 pages of hints from readers and staff. It seems a bit odd to not have to turn all those pages to get the same content. I loved it. With a cover price of $5.95 and a six issue subscription costs $19.95, I didn’t think I overpaid for the ad-free experience.
I am wondering if we are going to see a rise in more ad-free media. There seems to be some momentum in that direction. I am thinking of Tivo for television. I am thinking of the development of programming on HBO. I think consumers will pay for the freedom of advertising.
What do you think?