“This book is a container of sorts, it holds all the steps, all the preparation that can take one from good cook to great cook, from putting food on the table to really enjoying the ride.” (Christopher Kimaball, The Complete America’s Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook)
A little over a year ago I embarked on a quest to find a good cookbook. I was only just beginning to cook, so I needed that dream cookbook to tell me every single detail of every step and, furthermore, explain the reasoning behind a choice. I tried to dabble in the art of searching google and came up with a few halfway decent recommendations, but nothing that truly fit my need. It wasn’t until this fall that a friend of mine introduced me to America’s Test Kitchen and my obsession began.
I dallied a bit with Jamie Oliver’s cookbooks on the advice of one of those random blog recommendations and still enjoy many of his recipes, but America’s Test Kitchen is an entirely different beast. Most cookbooks (i.e. Jamie) give a particular chief’s style of cooking – recipes they invented or new twists on classic recipes – but the Test Kitchen tries out infinite varieties of familiar dishes in order to discover the best, easiest, and cheapest way to make it. Thus, you already know and love all of their recipes; you just didn’t know that you could make them, or that they could taste so good.
America’s Test Kitchen and their affiliated magazine, Cooks Illustrated, publish many books, but if you fall in love with their T.V show, there is only one option for you – their dazzling, seven hundred page behemoth of all the test show’s recipes. It includes all of the product reviews and useful tips scattered here and there, as well as a detailed description as to why every single recipe works. My quest for the perfect cookbook ended this Christmas, and I have been joyfully roasting chickens, simmering bolognaises and baking birthday cakes ever since.