I got the chance to see Christopher Kimball speak at a small event at our public television station, KCTS, this week. He was touring to promote a new book, The America’s Test Kitchen Family Baking Book, and the new show Cook’s Country TV. One of the things that made this a little more special than a book tour event is that they passed out three samples of dark chocolate and gave us the forms that America’s Test Kitchen taste testers get. Apparently I like Scharfenberger better than Ghirardelli. I kept some notes:
– He said the vodka pie dough recipe was the best recipe the magazine had ever produced.
– They really are focused on what readers are cooking at home. He read a letter from somebody describing how she tried to tenderize a tough pork loin using boots, then by running over it with her car. He said their most accessed and reviewed recipe is green bean casserole.
– He told us about the time he managed to burn rice krispies while making them on The Today Show. After that was a segment on how to make apple dumplings and he moved over to the other part of the counter only to discover that there was no food set out, so he just had to describe how to make them. The Today Show told him it was one of the best food segments they had ever done. Sadly, I couldn’t find it on YouTube.
– That is his own farmhouse on the logo and in the pictures for Cook’s Country TV. He rennovated it and after buying it discovered all the wood on the lower floor as rotten so it had to be raised and a new foundation poured before it could be used.
– During a tasting of bottled lemon juice he went on and on about how terrible one of the choices was, it was too sweet and he said it tasted like lemon aid. Turns out? That one was a freshly squeezed lemon.
– They film America’s Test Kitchen over three weeks They produce six segments a day, including taste testings so they managed to get about 2 and a half shows on film in a day. They start planning in November for an April shoot.
– They like to play practical jokes. One involved an animatronic rat under a producers desk, for another they replaced somebody’s finished osso bucco with a prop shrunken head for her to discover on camera. One played on him involved hiding chili pepper under some butter and replacing his nearby glass of water with vodka for a one two punch.
– The best way to cook an inexpensive steak is to cook in in a 250 degree oven until the interior is 180 degrees, then finish it in a skillet.
– Once while visiting a friend at The Food Network he was told he wasn’t Food Network material, which he took as a compliment.
– As he was signing books he added a stamp for Two Pigs Farm where Cook’s Country TV is filmed, you can rent the guest houses.
– He has a iPhone 3G.
– And yes, he was wearing a bowtie.