Magazine article Sunset

Kitchen Confidential

Magazine article Sunset

Kitchen Confidential

Article excerpt

HAVING A TEST KITCHEN right down the hall can be hazardous. I realized this recently when I put on a skirt I hadn't worn in several months. It had fit perfectly in April, but in October the zipper went halfway up-and then inexplicably stopped. My husband is patronizing the city's most incompetent dry cleaner! I thought. (Sorry, honey.) Then I remembered the two weeks of cookie testing we'd just completed, every day of which I'd participated in. And then there was the chili-recipe smackdown. And the crabcake taste-off. And the battle of the salted caramel coffee ice cream sundaes...

Oh, well; it was all for a good cause. We were on the hunt for our best-ever Test Kitchen recipes, and my duty was clear.

Plus, we think the results are fantastic. Our editors and readers unearthed "keeper" recipes from the last three decades and submitted their favorites; then the food staff winnowed the list to about 70 for testing. Consulting editor Judith Stone's nomination passed muster, to her delight: "Everyone in my family makes Artichoke Nibbles," she explains, "and it even made its way into a recipe book my sister-in-law made for my niece and her husband when they got married. It's been in my family since it was published, and now it's an heirloom!" (See page 80 for the recipe. …

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