America’s Test Kitchen, Brattle Theater, Cambridge

The ATK team was at Brattle Theater promoting the launch of their cookbook, The Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook: 2,000 Recipes from 20 Years of America’s Most Trusted Cooking Magazine. I received a copy of the cookbook with the Boston Brunchers at Island Creek Oyster Bar. Frankly, I have yet to attempt any of the 2,000 recipes in the best because of the sheer number of dishes in the compendium.

As we were waiting in anticipation for Chris Kimball and the America’s Test Kitchen team to join the Brattle Theater stage, the audience viewed a quick montage of from the show.

Undoubtedly, Mr. Kimball finds himself in many precarious situations and costumes. During the Q&A session, it was clear to Chris that viewers of the ATK show like to see him as many uncomfortable situations as possible.

Chris, in his bow tie, introducing the rest of the ATK team including Executive Food Editor Bridget Lancaster, Julia Collin Davison, Executive Food Editor, Books and Editorial Director Jack Bishop.

During the brief Q&A, Chris mentioned the hierarchy of palates at ATK and who the best dishes get taken home by and tasted by which goes from testers, the marketing department and then accounting department.

For ATK favorite stocking stuffers, everyone should have an instant read thermometer, a microplane, an inexpensive Accusharp knife sharpener, Oxo veggie peelerVictorinox Forcshner knives and a garlic press. Another high end knife suggestion was the Chef’s Choice electric knife sharpener. Additionally, team suggested Bob Kramer Knives, as a reliable website for knife “stuff”.

Other tidbits include, the ATK team prefers Pillsbury Gold Medal flour over King Arthur. Also, the vodka piecrust, which I have yet to try, is good for two crust pies, but is not best for pre baked crusts because the dough shrinks.

When asked what are some underrated local restaurants, some names mentioned was Strip T’s in Watertown, which has b-fast, lunch and dinner. The owner’s son worked at David Chang’s Momofuku Ssam Bar in NYC now cooks the night time menu.

Chris stated that Boston doesn’t have good simple places, where as Chicago and San Fran has these places he likes. Chris said he had the best Mexican he’s ever eaten In Oak Park, Chicago, where six people ate for $50. I couldn’t catch the name, but I think I heard The Cactus.

Other suggestions by the team includes Buk Kyung for Korean in Somerville. For super hot chicken, visit Nashville for super hot chicken at Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack and Bolton’s Spicy Chicken & Fish.

For a North Shore favorite, Cafe Vesuvius was suggested for the pizza.

I found it interesting that the magazine reflects America’s food choices because they survey subscribers for recipes and the majority of recipe requests are pork, potato and chicken. The editors adjust for vegetables. Cook’s Illustrated knows a lot about American people and the largest trend is that recipes are becoming more healthy or vegetarian including requests for salads and fish. For the past twenty years, green bean casserole has been on the top ten recipes list. Finally, check out The Feed, the ATK’s new blog.

At the book signing, ATK passed out oatmeal cookies with dried cranberries.

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