Hey, that's my meatball!

Have you seen the December issue of Cook’s Illustrated? Pick one up next time you’re out and about and you’ll see many of the projects I worked on over the summer while interning there. Sadly, they didn’t include the intern names in the masthead, like they do for the television show. Nevertheless, it was exciting to see the results of some of tests with which I assisted.

I carpooled with one of the assistant editors every day, and one of the projects we noodled over in the car was the subject of the back cover design for this issue. Hard candies was one of the top picks, so one afternoon ride home, we skipped our usual NPR radio program and rattled off as many retro candy names as we could remember. We were belly laughing, trying to remember what kind of candies our grandmothers were pushing on us at the age of 6. Flip the issue over when you pick it up. You’ll see the results of our car ride, and her hard work; it’s good enough to eat.

The Organic Zero sweetener test was one of the first things I worked on at the test kitchen. I made about 12 strawberry pies, 2 batches of creme brulee and vanilla pudding. Another intern tested more pies, cakes and sugar cookies. The funny thing about this test was that in acidic foods, the sweetener was undetectable, and in fact, preferred over regular sugar. However, in more subtle desserts, such as the pudding, cakes and cookies, there was a distinguishable after taste, described in detail in the magazine. I never did get to talk to the food scientist as to why. The acid did something to the sweetener, and I’m still curious as to how it was chemically altered…what compound did the acid break down, how, and why?

I also helped with the meatballs in this issue, mising ingredients and rolling meatballs for photography and video. I have no idea if any of the ones I rolled are in the photograph, but it’s still neat to see a tangible result to the three months of hard work.

The next issue will have even more of the recipes and projects I worked on — I can’t tell you what they are until the issue is in stores, but I can tell you it will showcase my favorite project.