Christopher Kimball, author of Cooks Illustrated and a myriad of other CI franchises like America's Test Kitchen, Cook's Country, and an online cooking school, wants home cooks to cook by the book. His book. Or magazine, rather. (It's also available as an app.) He says, “I hate the idea that cooking should be a celebration or a party...cooking is about putting food on the table night after night, and there isn’t anything glamorous about it.” Cooks Illustrated stemmed from his theory that home cooks are a) fearful of humiliation and b) determined not to follow recipes only to prove they don't need to. (Though they should.) His "bulletproof" bulleted recipes guide a cook—at any given level, to competent or even expert success.
The bargain further holds that the peppercorn-crusted filet of beef or butterscotch-cream pie will turn out not only in C.I.’s professional kitchen, with its All-Clad pans and DCS ranges, but also on a lowly electric four-top, using a dull knife and a $20 nonstick skillet.
I'm a stubborn cook and I hate following recipes. My tiny New York City kitchen is hardly the starting place of "peppercorn-crusted filet" but I'm willing to take the risk if he has one million happy subscribers.
One more thing: Kimball's belief on creativity and cooking:
“Cooking isn’t creative, and it isn’t easy. It’s serious, and it’s hard to do well, just as everything worth doing is damn hard.”
Is cooking exclusively scientific, or is there room for creativity and art? Are you a cook that follows recipes to the 't', or do you add a dash of this and substitute ingredients? And the biggest question of all, Do you cook?
P.S. — It's interesting to note that the majority of Cook's Illustrated readers are middle-aged men.