Sometimes, instead of condensing a book, we wrote an editorial review that quoted heavily from the book. In this case, another magazine had already published such a review, and we condensed that.

“The Curious Cook” had unusually good visual treatment for this period. Reader’s Digest had  long neglected art in favor of words. By 1984, when I joined the staff, the magazine’s editing and fact-checking were unparalleled, but its visuals were often embarrassingly amateurish (see the illustration for “Night of the Bluebird,” for example). Thanks to illustrator Jacki Gelb, this piece set a better example.