Monday, June 05, 2006

Today, on America's Test Kitchen

Great bloggers really do think alike.

Here I sit, contemplating a recipe for skillet lasagna I'm preparing for dinner this evening, and over at The Watchtower of Destruction, The Ferrett (and if you aren't him reading daily, you're doing yourself a disservice) recently posted about the very magazine from which this recipe comes — Cook's Illustrated.

I loves me some Cook's Illustrated.

Even more, I love the TV cooking show the magazine produces, America's Test Kitchen. It's a staple of my Saturday morning routine (except during pledge months, when PBS stations abandon all reason — and scheduling logic — to grovel for donations). ATK (as we aficionados affectionately call it) is one of the most entertainingly informative half-hours on television. It's similar to Good Eats, only without the sometimes overbearing goofiness of Alton Brown, and with a higher babe quotient.

ATK is hosted by the publisher of Cook's Illustrated, a tall, lanky, bowtie-wearing Vermonter named Christopher Kimball, who looks as though he wandered in from a casting call for Revenge of the Nerds V: Electric Boogaloo. Most of the actual cooking duties fall to comely chefs Bridget Lancaster (the petite, sharp-featured one) and Julia Collin (the cute, chunky one). In between the two recipes presented on each program, Chris banters with his not-so-comely male associates Jack Bishop, who conducts comparative taste tests of food products, and Adam Ried, who reviews a fascinating assortment of kitchen gadgets.

Best of all, the recipes shown on ATK actually work — at least, the ones we've sampled in our personal "test kitchen" have. As is usually the case with cooking-show fare, most of the recipes require a trip to the local supermarket, because they always call for an exotic ingredient or three that no typical American family would normally have lying about in the pantry. (Unless you're a professional chef, or host your own cooking show. Or both.) But in general, ATK's dishes are relatively simple to make (if often far more time-consuming than one might guess from watching a 30-minute program) and taste terrific.

You can download ATK's easy-to-follow recipes from their Web site, once you register. (It's free, and you know Uncle Swan's motto: "If it's free, it's for me.") Plus, when you register, Chris and the gang will send you a complimentary issue of Cook's Illustrated, which is hands-down the most user-friendly cooking periodical going.

The skillet lasagna was a huge hit with the girls the last time I fixed it. I'd invite you all over for a taste, but I only have so many skillets.

Labels: ,

1 insisted on sticking two cents in:

Anonymous Anonymous offered these pearls of wisdom...


2:58 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home