February 2013 Issue
Editor's Note: Trial and Error
Welcome to the Ohio Magazine
They’re not fancy or high-tech — in fact, they are pretty rudimentary. Many of the recipes we publish are tested and prepared for photo shoots by staff members, including me, in our home kitchens. This month, I made Marilyn’s Mac and Cheese in my 25-year-old galley-style kitchen on a 10-year-old, four-burner stove. The Pyrex baking dish and basket holder that you’ll see on page 69 are at least 30 years old.
Meanwhile, Contributing Editor Jessica Esemplare, who wrote “Comfort Classics” for this issue, prepared Rocco Whalen’s Lobster Macaroni and Cheese in her Cincinnati kitchen, which comes with some unique challenges.
“It’s a small, square room with a four-burner gas stove,” she says. “But there’s no vent or hood over the stove, which usually causes the fire alarm to go off, especially if I’m using the oven at a higher temperature for more than 10 minutes or so. When this happens, I have to stand on a chair and jab at the alarm with a broom handle until it stops. Frequently, the sound makes the dog bark and the baby cry, which creates quite a symphony in the kitchen.
“Sometimes I can prevent this,” Jessica continues, “by opening a window and the back door, which means that I stand by the stove for warmth while I’m cooking. The upside is that things don’t burn or overcook this way. There’s very little counter space and no dishwasher, so I’ve gotten creative with my prep work for recipes — only taking out the ingredients I need at the moment and chopping vegetables or measuring spices throughout the day until it’s time to cook. And I’ve finally taken the advice of numerous chefs who say they clean as they go. This saves time and space. Despite these setbacks, I love to cook and the oven and the range top work well, so I try not to let the space restraints or smoke detectors deter me.
“I have, however, been using my Crock-Pot a lot lately,” she admits.
You can see that Ohio Magazine
tests its recipes under real-world conditions. Jessica and I can report that both of the mac and cheese recipes in this issue turned out beautifully. The directions were clear and the results delicious.
While the lobster mac and cheese — made for the photo shoot by a chef from Whalen’s Fahrenheit restaurant — was consumed on-site, art director Lesley Blake brought Marilyn Harris’ recipe back to the office for the staff to sample.
After all, a test kitchen needs tasters, and we happily obliged.