“I’m not Alice Waters”

Cook’s Illustrated magazine’s Christopher Kimball tells The Washington Post that the gourmet movement is just a thing of the past.

The bespectacled and (always) bow-tied icon of unpretentious cooking says that if you can’t find traditional ingredients at your local supermarket to make, let’s say, an “authentic enchilada,” then you might as well make an Americanized version:

Because if that means you can’t make them at home, what’s the point? I mean, I’m not Alice Waters. I’m not telling people to grow arugula behind the schoolyard. I’m perfectly happy teaching people how to make a well-done hamburger or mashed potatoes. I think the gourmet cooking thing is over. That happened in the ‘70s.

And, speaking of recipes, Kimball says you’d better follow his directions:

Make the damn recipe my way. [He laughs.] I had someone write in a long time ago and say, ‘Lidia [Bastianich] cooks with her heart.’ And I wrote back and said, ‘Well, yeah, that’s the wrong organ. You should use your brain.’ Until you know that recipe inside out and you really get it and you can make it without looking at the recipe, don’t play with it. It’s sort of like saying: ‘I’m going to play a Bach sonata. But I’m going to change the key.’ No. You play it the way he wrote it.