The Adventures of Pie Queen gives us a little conversation about dirt and cakes, topped off with a recipe for "Sweet Little Cupcakes, Baked by the Devil
(aka Devil's Food Cupcakes)" from the Cook's Illustrated folks ... along with summing up the CI testers just the way I think of them.
Do you know the magazine Cook's Illustrated? The obsessive recipe testers at CI are the copy editors of the food world, fending off the sloppy, dump-and-taste barbarians with single-minded scientific devotion. An article about something completely ordinary, like mac and cheese or roast chicken, always starts with a line like "To find out the truly best way to roast a chicken, we spent three months roasting over 500 chickens in our test kitchen." And then they'll tell you, in insanely nit-picky detail, how they explored each tiny variable, probably in between scrubbing every strip of grout on their bathroom tile with a toothbrush and re-alphabetizing the spice rack.