Sunday, March 25, 2007

My results kitchen

Love, love, love having DVR. I don't watch a heck of a lot of television, but the stuff I do watch, I am devoted to, and thanks to the DVR, I always have a bunch of my shows at the ready.

Only this dork has a usual roster of cooking shows on the ol' DVR. My favorite is America's Test Kitchen on PBS ( It's a real test kitchen, located just outside of Boston, in an area called Brookline. I think my dream would be to work there and live in Brookline. I thought the area was lovely when Jenne lived right near there and we would stroll through it. There is a companion magazine to the test kitchen, called Cook's Illustrated, which I subscribe to and also love very much. I also get another mag they offer, called Cook's Country. Both magazines accept no advertising, so it's all about cooking from cover to cover, written by people who are damn serious about it, but the articles are also written with a little bit of playfulness.

I was watching today's episode of America's Test Kitchen, which was about making excellent fish n' chips, and I thought about just what kind of cook I am. Many people have suggested or told me to go to culinary school, but I'm not sure I'd want to cook for a living. It's far too much fun to have the freedom to make what you want, when you want to. No pressure. And the restaurant business is all about pressure. And awful lot of work, with little payoff, from what I can see. For those that love it, great. You have to love it, because you work harder than you ever have in your life.

I'm also not the kind of person to invent her own dishes. I realized that I get enough of a kick from merely following recipes and discovering the results for herself. And in the case of America's Test Kitchen and their magazines Cook's Illustrated and Cook's Country, they've done all the testing until a recipe is perfect, and then they publish them. If I follow these recipes to the letter, I'm guaranteed quality. This perfectionist appreciates that very much. :o)

I've finally realized that even a cook that relies on someone else's recipes all the time is still a great cook if they get great results. It's a good thing to be able to follow instructions correctly. (Can I get a job with that skill? LOL) There are many people that don't, and then wonder why they don't get good results. I do add touches of my own, once I have made a recipe correctly, because only when it's done correctly can I actually make a real judgment on improving it, or tweaking it to suit my tastes.

America's Test Kitchen gives its readers the opportunity to help them test recipes, and I've signed up for it. I like the idea that I'm now part of the process. I will make the recipe they sent me for Rosemary-Scented Salt-Roasted Potatoes with Roast Garlic Butter before the week is over to participate. :o)

I keep hoping that if I watch enough cooking shows, I'll learn enough to replace a very expensive culinary education...

Haha... yeah, right. ;o)

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