So, I hear that Chris Kimball, who presides over the Cook’s Illustrated/America’s Test Kitchen/Cook’s Country media empire, doesn’t like his recipes to be tampered with. (Now, that’s a newsflash! It’s like Nazi Germany in that test kitchen.)
The blogosphere is in a tizzy over the spanking Kimball’s PR rep gave Melissa at Alosha's Kitchen for posting an adaptation of a Cook’s Country potato salad recipe on her blog. Which she had courteously credited. You can get the short version of the story here, or the longer version here.
I don’t want to take sides, but this is what I’ve gleaned from my blessedly brief foray into copyright law as it seems to be interpreted by our favorite bow-tied cook/publisher:
CI/ATK/CC Fair Use Policy
You can cook our recipes, but only if you’re going to do it right. You can discuss the recipes, but not on the Internet. Unless you have permission, which we probably won’t give you. No modifications or improvisations of any kind are allowed. We didn’t do all that work for nothing. (Get your hand away from the spice cabinet—that’s not what the recipe says!) Also, we did not approve the use of flash photography. You may, however, draw a picture of your meal, as long as you’re one of our certified artists. But not if you stink at drawing. As for the finished dish, let us taste it first and then maybe you can eat it. Maybe.
That seems like an awful lot of trouble for some potatoes in a little mayonnaise, but I guess running a perfection-based business is no small feat. Which brings me to my reason for posting. It must really suck when somebody beats you to perfection. Especially someone of my questionable talent. But I seem to have stumbled onto a potato salad that people just will not stop eating. God, why won’t they stop? Save some for me.
Really, it couldn’t be any simpler. My dumb cat can make it. It was tested maybe three times, without measuring spoons, by a panel of one (1.5, if you count Mr. Nathan). Still, I’d be willing to submit it to the Cook’s Illustrated taste testers for critique. They’re uncanny. If you spit into one of their pies, they can totally tell which one.
Potato Salad for the People
Oh, come on, lighten up. It’s potato salad, for crying out loud.
12 medium red-skinned potatoes from your farmer, scrubbed (maybe 2 lbs.?)
1 small red onion, large dice
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh dill
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard (or more; sometimes I use prepared horseradish)
1 cup or so of mayo (sometimes I sub in lowfat yogurt for part of this)
1 tsp. salt (heaping is best)
Lotsa black pepper (yes, lotsa is a standard unit of measurement in my kitchen)
Boil potatoes in their jackets in a pot of salted water, 20-25 minutes until easily pierced with knife but before they explode. Drain and let cool. Do not peel.
Take about half of the potatoes and mash them in a large bowl or pot. Yes, mash them good, as if you’re Chris Kimball and the potatoes represent the very soul of cooking. With the remaining potatoes, mash them ever so gently so that you end up with large chunks of potato that break along their own natural fault lines. Add the onion, dill, mustard, and half of the mayo, and start mixing. Add more mayo until you get the consistency that you, the people, are looking for. I like it thick, so you can scoop it with an ice cream scoop and put it on a cone if you feel like it. Just kidding, Chris Kimball (blowing kisses). I’m never going to work in this town again, am I? Add salt and pepper to taste. Chill for several hours. Share it with your friends.
(Don’t try to steal this, Chris Kimball. It’s copyrighted.)
(I’m serious, I have my eye on you.)