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PODCAST: America's Test Kitchen's 2010 season preview [MP3]


America's Test Kitchen blooper reel

Chris Kimball knows all. Or, at least, he knows way too much about the strange and deviant culinary flailings going on in America's kitchens. In addition to spurning traditional ad-revenue model and staying afloat thanks to subscriber dollars, Kimball's magazines and PBS TV shows -- Cook's Illustrated, Cook's Country, and America's Test Kitchen -- rely on reader/viewer polling to determine what recipes Kimball's crew will be exhaustively researching and scientifically supercharging in their top-secret Brookline Village lab. (For any Food Network lovers who are unfamiliar with ATK, it's basically Good Eats without the cartoon sound effects and giant Styrofoam prop models of yeast vacuoles -- but sometimes they make Kimball wear wacky hats.) Considering that it takes ATK months to refine their recipes, they wanna make sure their audience will be enthusiastic about them. But sometimes the comment cards reveal a bit too much of the dark side of home cooking. For instance:

-Nobody seems to know whether chickens have one breast or two ... although there are plenty of people who would vehemently defend the two-breast position. To which we respond: Yikes.
-Most people's knives are about as sharp as Tara Reid.
-The most popular ATK recipe of all time: green bean casserole. Who says this is the United States of Arugula?
-And what does America do with the recipes Kimball & Co. so painstakingly prepare? In his words: "You never follow them. EVER." In one particularly egregious case of kitchen improvisation, an ATK fan decided to tenderize her pork cutlet by backing over it in her SUV. So much for standard operating procedure.

Currently, a new season of America's Test Kitchen, as well as the less science-y/more folksy Cook's Country, is upon us. Back in December, Kimball and his crack team -- ATK editorial director/supertaster Jack Bishop, test cook/recipe developer Bridget Lancaster, Equipment Corner guru Adam Ried, and ATK books division senior editor Julia Collin Davison -- took to the Brattle Theatre stage to plug their new material with a "sizzle reel" demo. They prefaced that with a 40-minute chat in which they reveal the inner workings of their own kitchens (which involve a lot of pork, fudge, and fire), hand out advice to newbie cooks, and relive their favorite horror stories, while Kimball expounds on the death of Gourmet magazine and the folly of giving away free stuff on the internet. (Like this podcast.) Oh, and jonesing for an ATK iPhone app? The answer, they tell us, is "February."

DOWNLOAD: America's Test Kitchen panel at the Brattle Theatre [MP3]

Recorded live at the Brattle Theatre, courtesy of the Harvard Book Store, on December 7, 2009. To subscribe to this podcast, paste this RSS feed into your podcatcher or feed-reader of choice, or bookmark http://thephoenix.com/podcast.
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