Jesse Wegman has posted an article on Slate.com about the inaccuracy of cooking times advertised in cookbooks. The author explores a variety of theories, including three possibilities suggested by various well-known food writers:
1. Ruth Reichl of Gourmet points out "that each recipe in Gourmet was tested by cooks who made it many times over, and also by a "cross-tester," who made it only once." However, the printed time came from the repeat cooks, who would, presumably, have gotten much faster at making that particular dish.So take comfort, dear readers, when the four hours you've budgeted for making Thanksgiving dinner turn into seventeen. You're not alone!
2. Mark Bittman suggests that maybe he's just that good. (You'll probably never compare.)
3. And Chris Kimball, editor of Cook's Illustrated, says that printed cooking times are "Utter bullshit", and assures readers that "Thirty-minute recipes are never 30 minutes... It's marketing." (Note that Cook's Illustrated has published a 30-minute meal cookbook... which I've used, and is actually pretty accurate.)