I received it a couple of days ago and it's huge. Honestly, at first glance it doesn't look all that promising in terms of being a great cookbook but I'll let you know when my review is finished.
I ranked it here (4 stars out of 5) under my real name, Patrick W. Crabtree:
http://www.amazon.com/Cooks-Illustrated ... r-mr-title
Overall, I think most folks will find it, in terms of a cookbook that can be perused, (which we all like to do), uninspiring. It's more of a utilitarian work. Amazon Vine sends me lots of cookbooks for free to review (plus quite a few authors send them to me direct) so I get to see all the extremes. This one falls somewhere near the middle and, honestly, I was anticipating something much better.
On novels and non-fiction (not including how-to books such as cookbooks) I read them from cover-to-cover. I read 3-5 books per week so it keeps me very busy. If I were not retired, I couldn't do this.
On cookbooks and similar works, I usually do not read them from cover-to-cover, (an exception would be something like The Alice B. Toklas Cook Book which reads like a great novel since she included many life culinary experiences), especially if its straight recipes and includes no supplementary reading. I do look at and at least scan every page.
However, in all cases I make meticulous notes on what I read and observe because if you don't do that, your review gets generic and bland and lacks factual information that prospective buyers need to know. Cookbooks tend to follow a formula of which I am now well-acquainted.
As for the recipes, I always do at least this much: I try their recipes specifically for fried chicken, meatloaf, apple pie, and one other recipe which attracts my interest. If they can't get those first three perfect, then they surely have problems. Also, this way, It gives me a good measuring stick to gauge one cookbook against another.
Some reviewers get overwhelmed with arty cookbooks which have big beautiful color photos but when you try the recipes, they are poorly conveyed. So you have to try at least some of the recipes or you're doing the authors and publishers an injustice.
I hope that answers your questions.
I did purchase their yearly book (Best of ****?) a couple of years ago. Big book as already stated. As much as I like the idea of how to cook properly. I found that it lacked in the recipe department. I have not used the cookbook often.
I am also a member of "Cook's" site not sure why?