Are you a mess in the kitchen? Yeah, so is most of America. That’s what America’s Test Kitchen is really for. As ATK’s host, along with his many other professional hats, Christopher Kimball believes in a no-nonsense type of cooking, manifest in his minimalist black and white take on food in Cooks Illustrated, a magazine that looks completely different from everything else on the shelf.
On the hit PBS show, Kimball and his Test Kitchen chefs aim to understand “why bad things happen to good recipes.” Kimball also wants to refocus cooking back on its original function. “There isn’t anything glamorous about it,” he says, in this New York Times profile of him. “Cooking is about putting food on the table night after night.” This scrupulous attitude is why Julia Child called ATK “not a program for fluffies.” And it’s true, hard-boiling an egg forty-five different ways until perfection is no easy task. And even then, it may not be as bulletproof as we would all like.
For a more human look at the man behind the bow-tie, visit this Life Hack to learn how The Grateful Dead and James Bond function in Kimball’s daily life, as well as a special pancake recipe. Spoiler! He likes his fluffy. Curious for more Kimball? Here you can read about what kind of media he’s consuming. Sorry tweeters—Kimball says that he’s no “follower.”
For those of you getting close to your first semester of college…yes. Many of you will be making your way to dorm rooms near and far sooner than you think. Unfortunately, these dorm rooms won’t include an all-access portal straight to your parents’ kitchen. That means you have to learn to use your meal plan wisely and “cook” when the dining hall is closed. So leave the ramen behind and get creative with what you have.
Some of your dorms might indeed have a community kitchen, but they’re usually unkempt, messy, and crowded. If they’re not, that’s great! But if they are, I’d recommend cozying up to your microwave and making the most of what appliances are allowed in your dorm room. The Smithsonian has some great tips and also recommends using your iron in place of a real grilling surface as well as your coffee maker, if it’s allowed. As always, keep everything clean and use soap. No cutting corners where ants are involved.
Watch this guy whip up some tortellini in his hotel room using similar methods. You’ll feel like you can do anything. I mean, anything.
Don’t Be a Fluffy.
Have you, too, caught the Test Kitchen bug? If you’re serious about cooking, there are plenty of options around Austin for instruction. Some grocery stores like Whole Foods have either teen-specific classes or allow you to enter an adult class with a signed waiver. Also, Austin ISD now has a Culinary Arts program at Travis High School for the more studious. Of course, there are always the hard-core culinary schools like Auguste Escoffier and Le Cordon Bleu, which both have campuses in Austin.