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The People On America's Test Kitchen and Cook's Country

Does anyone else notice how Julia Collin Davison is almost orgasmic when she tastes it? Christopher Kimball might make an occasional mmm noise but not like her. Bridget is subdued compared to her.

Bridget makes me laugh when she adds spicy peppers to a dish and then makes a snide comment to Christopher Kimball. He does seem to be a wimp about any spiciness.

Is the whole awww shucks Vermont country farmer routine of Christopher Kimball just an act? I read where he is a multimillionaire so I figure he has people doing all the work on his farm. I doubt he does any hard work on the farm. I have noticed that half the time his bow tie is crooked. Wonder if the crew don't bother to tell him about it. My friend's 5 year old granddaughter nicknamed him the turtle because she said he looks like one.

There is also a young woman on the show whose last name I believe is Ruperti? Not sure if that is right. She did mainly desserts on the show but she seems to have disappeared.

My favorite is Jack Bishop. He seems to take great pleasure when Christopher Kimball chooses the loser in a taste testing. I would have loved to see the hot sauce tasting but I missed it.

I am new to Chow but have been reading it for a long while now. Sorry if I rambled.

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  1. If you search this board you will find MANY threads about the Kimball empire. Yvonne Ruperti is one of many secondary staff cooks who appear on the shows from time to time, and author articles in CI and CC.

    On some if not all public radio stations, Kimball and Lancaster cohost the weekly "America's Test Kitchen Radio". It includes listener call-ins, interviews with experts, and equipment reviews by Lisa McManus (who so far has dissed several gadgets that I own and consider very useful.) She seems overly fond of cabinet-cluttering uni-taskers, IMO.

    1 Reply
    1. re: greygarious

      ATKR is also a weekly podcast available through iTunes or americastestkitchen.com.

    2. "Is the whole awww shucks Vermont country farmer routine of Christopher Kimball just an act?"
      ~~~~~~~~

      Yes.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christop...

      12 Replies
      1. re: LindaWhit

        "He lives in the South End neighborhood of Boston and in southwestern Vermont, with his wife, Adrienne, and their four children."
        how is this an "act" again?

        1. re: linus

          As a native Vermonter (tho far removed from it for more years than I care to admit to), I find it more than a bit annoying this Flat Lander is trying to pass himself off as a Vermonter...and apparently succeeding. He is no more a native Vermonter than Hillary Clinton is a native New Yorker.

          He is typical of the rich city folk who have the means to purchase land in Vermont that real Vermonters couldn't afford to keep up any more. They then come "to the country" on weekends to play what they perceive to be "country folk." I don't begrudge his success, but to try to pass himself off as an "aw shucks" country boy is off-putting.

          1. re: al b. darned

            could you please give me an example of when he's said "aw shucks" or tried to pass himself off as a native vermonter?

            1. re: linus

              "Welcome to Two Pigs Farm
              ...
              I grew up in this mountain village back in the fifties and sixties. I worked on a dairy farm owned by the Bentleys and helped out at their Yellow Farmhouse on rainy days..."
              http://www.twopigsfarm.com/index.html

              As noted downthread: "Kimball’s family, which hailed from Westchester County...built a cabin in a small southwestern Vermont town in 1955, and Kimball started coming up here as a child. "

              In another article on him a few years ago, IIRC, it said the cabin belonged to a family friend, not his family. Not that it really matters who owned the cabin, but the reality is he spent his summers up there. While still a great experience for a kid from the NYC suburbs, spending your summers in Vermont as a child is not the same as, "I grew up in this mountain village..." The latter implies he lived there year around, went to school there, etc. While not a lie, he does not tell, as Paul Harvey would say, "The rest of the story."

              He has built his "brand" on a laid back country boy image, which he is not. He's not the first, nor will he be the last to do this. Martha also built her brand on a "laid back country girl" image,which, if the news media is to be believed, she is not, either.. Both, I dare say, have been moderately successful at it.

              As I have said before, I don't begrudge him his success, and even admire him for it. He started his first magazine with a relatively small "angel investment" and built his empire from there. He is, according to past and present employees and others who know him, a hard working perfectionist. I also can relate to his, "who cares if you like me or not" attitude. Also from the Boston Globe article:

              "But there is one place in the magazine, and only one, where Kimball has decided to ignore his readers’ wishes: his editorials about Vermont. They don’t tend to test well. Only about 35 percent of readers surveyed like them. The rest, Kimball admits, are indifferent or hate them. But Kimball has absolutely no intention of moving on to a new topic.

              “It’s my magazine, and I’ll do what I want.” " I particularly like that last line.

              As someone who *did* grow up in Vermont in the 50's and 60's and helped out occasionally on the dairy farm across the road from my parent's house, his "padded resume" annoys me.

              1. re: al b. darned

                "Martha also built her brand on a "laid back country girl" image,which, if the news media is to be believed, she is not, either.. "

                Sorry, but DEFINITELY NOT true. As much as I find Martha Stewart's current empire a major disappointment when compared to the wonderful way she started out, she has NEVER pretended to be from a "country" background. If anything, she's flaunted her Nutley, NJ, roots, relatives, & recipes.

            2. re: al b. darned

              You sure seem to know a lot about CK. have you ever met him. Do you know? How can you make all these assumptions?

              1. re: al b. darned

                I was just listening to the radio podcast the other day and he talked about how he was born in Vermont and then left as a young man, then returned as an adult. He said that because of that he is still known as a "flatlander" despite having been back home for over 15 years. Hm....

              2. re: linus

                His South End townhouse was up for sale a while ago. I think the asking price was $4M. It was where they shot the PBS special "Fanny's Last Supper" a year or two back.

              3. "I read where [Christopher Kimball] is a multimillionaire so I figure he has people doing all the work on his farm. I doubt he does any hard work on the farm."

                You can tell all that from a half hour TV show? Wow.

                1. Does he actually claim to be farming? There are plenty of city people who have bought country estates, old farm houses and such, not to make a living, but as a place away from the city. Cooks Country is a relatively recent variation on the ATK show, with a little more emphasis on revisiting American classics. The setting could be Kimball's Vermont property, it could just as well be rented just for filming.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: paulj

                    "Does he actually claim to be farming?"

                    Yes. He's mentioned raising and slaughtering pigs on the show. Other things too but nothing I can specifically remember right now.

                    1. re: paulj

                      my impression is that ck comes from boston money and that his family has had a place in vermont for a couple of generations. it was very much a part of his growing up and remains a touchstone for him. but, yes, he's a multi-millionaire (or at least should be), and is very much a gentleman farmer.

                      1. re: FED

                        "Kimball’s family, which hailed from Westchester County, the burbs of New York City, built a cabin in a small southwestern Vermont town in 1955, and Kimball started coming up here as a child. " http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/mag...

                        Not from old money, and pretty much self-made.

                        Yes, he actually has a sizable farm and he actually works it. He would have to have a sizable staff running it, tho. It sounds like quite an operation. http://www.twopigsfarm.com/index.html

                        1. re: al b. darned

                          Self-made but somehow made it to Philips Exeter for high school? MIght've had some help along the way.

                          1. re: mattyb

                            everybody has had help along the way.

                            1. re: linus

                              Was it new money that got him into Philips Exeter? LOL

                    2. Yvonne Ruperti got married and moved to Singapore. She's blogging at http://shophousecook.com/

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: sr44

                        Just found her on Serious Eats. (Possibly fellow-ATK alum Kenji got her the job?) http://sweets.seriouseats.com/2012/09...

                        1. re: pdxgastro

                          As a freelance writer she could be anywhere. At the bottom of the seriouseats page:
                          " She presently lives in Singapore as a freelance writer for Time Out Singapore."

                        2. re: sr44

                          Thanks for posting this link! Fun.

                        3. Does any of this really matter? The whole point of America's Test Kitchen is that the recipes are developed and tested in a test kitchen, whoever happens to be be on camera when they are shown to the public. Christopher Kimball is the reason why the shows exist, and that's all I need to know about him.

                          1. I will watch him when he washes his hair.

                            Or maybe not. He's insufferable.

                            12 Replies
                              1. re: ItalianNana

                                I love Emeril now. I didn't care for his whole "Bam" routine back when he was really popular, but he's soft-spoken, thoughtful, and knowledgeable on Top Chef. I wish he'd do a show with that persona, since he's definitely got the skills.

                                  1. re: LotusRapper

                                    I like Fieri. I have only seen his Diners, Drive-ins and Dives show, and he seems like a lot of fun. I also think that he's honest in his assessments of the food. He doesn't pretend to be blown away by everything he eats. When he simply appreciates a well done dish, he says it. So when he does rave about something, you know he means it.

                                    1. re: EarlyBird

                                      I don't disagree with that at all. I just think his off-stage persona risks getting him in deep doo-doo one day.

                                  2. re: ItalianNana

                                    When you look at Emeril's pre "Emeril Live" shows, before he became such a ham for the audience, he's a really likeable guy who knows food. I don't like the "Bam!" and "let's keep it G rated, folks," kinda schtick. That got very old very fast. But...I don' think he's on any more, is he?

                                    1. re: EarlyBird

                                      Cooking Channel has had a couple of post 'Emeril Live' shows.

                                      The Originals - a restaurant tour show (e.g. DDD).

                                      Fresh Food Fast - a classic 'dump-n-stir' show, reruns are showing now (Monday mornings)

                                      1. re: EarlyBird

                                        FN made him into a characture, much like they did with Paula. If you see the early episodes of Paula, the southern drawl wasn't nearly as pronounced.

                                        Watching Emeril became painful. The audience clapping for garlic made me stop watching. For the love of god, it's just garlic! But then agian, it was FN's way of dumbing down the show...like they do with everything that's on its network.

                                        1. re: FoodChic

                                          I thought he was fabulous on the past season of Top Chef in New Orleans.

                                          1. re: Firegoat

                                            Agreed. He was the Emeril of old on Top Chef. The Bam! Emeril I can do without. But that seems to have fallen by the wayside, thankfully.

                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                              I always wondered how happy he was(n't) with that cartoon character he was playing. It made him rich and famous, but at what price?

                                            2. re: Firegoat

                                              I believe he's tamed down the shtick since he's no longer under the control of FN. He's become enjoyable again.

                                    2. >>>
                                      Is the whole awww shucks Vermont country farmer routine of Christopher Kimball just an act? I read where he is a multimillionaire so I figure he has people doing all the work on his farm. I doubt he does any hard work on the farm.
                                      <<<
                                      I don't watch the show so i can't comment on what goes on there, but he has created that "country farmer" persona which also extends to his print media, especially CI and his emails. I believe the latter are called something like "Letter from Vermont" but I unsubscribed from it so long ago, I am not sure of the name. Just too "folksy" for me.

                                      While he does have quite a spread in Vermont, his saying he is "from Vermont" is putting the cart before the horse. He spent considerable time there as a child, and his success as a publisher enabled him to purchase the farm and fulfill what I presume to be his childhood dream of owning a farm in Vermont.

                                      Having said that, despite the image, in real life he has the reputation as a perfectionist, as demonstrated by his recipes. He has purchased and restored several houses in Rupert, and if his pursuit of perfection extends to these renovations, which i suspect it has, these must be spectacular jobs. No mistakes hidden in the walls (like in my sister's house) or papered over (like i have found in mine). Two of the houses are available for rental.

                                      Does he get up every day for the 4:30 am milking? I doubt it, but I believe he does the stuff he says he does, Maybe not every day, but often enough to know what he is talking about. For the size of the place he would have to have some hired staff, tho.

                                      1. Bridget and her repetitive "that's right" drive me insane. Kimball, I just FF past him. I like Julia. I used to like Adam the equipment guy.....

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: rasputina

                                          Bridget's 'uptalking' drives me nuts.

                                          1. re: John E.

                                            A U of M student told me that upspeak is taught in her speech class as a public speaking tool. I think the world is coming to an end.

                                        2. Bridget is my favorite, I like her sass.

                                          2 Replies
                                            1. re: mtlcowgirl

                                              Me too, but *I* restrained myself.

                                          1. On his farm's site, under farming, it says:
                                            "I hesitate to use the term "farming" since any real farmer would laugh at our small, amateur operation. This is a "gentleman's" farm, to put in nicely, but we enjoy the work and the food. Tom, who lives just down the road, handles things for us when we are not there. [snip] It's fun. It's good for the kids. We also like eating what we grow. At least we know what went into it (and what didn't)."

                                            So he does know that he's not a "real" farmer. Hey, if I ever had the means to do something like that, I'd love to.

                                            For now, I have to settle for my raised box gardens and 3 hens, here in the suburbs.

                                            1. I like Jack Bishop-he seems so happy! 2nd would be Kimball :)

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: madeliner

                                                I notice the intro no longer states "Jack asks Chris..." because if you say it fast, it's not very complimentary!

                                              2. The Cooks offices are near my house. The people I've met, which includes a number of the on-air crew, are on the whole normal, nice people who love food and cooking.

                                                Chris does not pass himself off as a true Vermonter. He says in his column that he's not one. The column is substantially about the difference between Vermont ways and the ways of the rest of the world. As for where he lives, it's not a secret: he did a show in which they recreated a Victorian meal in his house.

                                                1. I honestly can't see why he bothers so many people, I think he is quite affable on the shows and almost all the recipes I have made from the cook's empire have turned out wonderfully.

                                                  I don't subscribe or pay for any Cook's material, but I have in the past, just can't afford it right now but there is plenty of information to be found online

                                                  Jack Bishop is my favorite as well-he needs more time!

                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: madeliner

                                                    You know, you do have a point. CI and ATK and CC do a lot of really good research and provide very reliable recipes. I have been known to react negatively to the folksy bent of their shows; I guess I could be a snob - or maybe it just seems fake sometimes.

                                                    I do object to some of their generalities; all cookies should be soft, use a can of tomato sauce in this Mexican recipe.....things like that.

                                                    But hey, if I agreed with everything they did, where would the fun be? :-)

                                                    1. re: madeliner

                                                      I couldn't agree more. I am constantly surprised at the barrage of negative opinions about the show and about CK in general. I guess I also don't get the whole "...he isn't a REAL Vermonter..." thought. If he chooses to live in Vermont and wants to think of himself as someone who is from Vermont, what's the problem with that?

                                                      My biggest gripe with ATK is the non-stop, relentless attempt to sell, sell, sell. I used to subscribe to a couple of his magazines, then I decided that I'd rather pay for a subscription to the ATK website, where I can view clips of all the recipes they've done on their shows. I don't begrudge either CK or ATK their efforts to make a buck at what they do, but I do wish they'd lighten up the efforts some.

                                                      But overall I think they provide a real service and fill a niche. I'm glad there is an ATK.

                                                      1. re: madeliner

                                                        ATK and CC are virtually the only two shows that come across as genuine and serious. They are well researched.

                                                      2. at least these people actually cook and have real recipes. I like the shows and as far as I am concern, I would rather watch Chris and Julia enoying their meal than watch VULGAR big mouth Paula and her dumping fat recipes.

                                                        1. There's been some needless speculation about Christopher Kimball in this thread - needless because the facts are here:

                                                          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christop...

                                                          10 Replies
                                                          1. re: John Francis

                                                            The words "facts" and "wikipedia" in the same sentence? ;)

                                                            1. re: ttoommyy

                                                              But...but...But it's on the Interwebz. It's *gotz* to be true!

                                                              1. re: ttoommyy

                                                                The words "facts" and "wikipedia" in the same sentence? ;)

                                                                *******************************************************************************

                                                                And just to be clear, I am not saying posters' misinformed speculations about CK are right either. I'm only stating that Wikipedia is an infamous wealth of MISinformation.

                                                                1. re: ttoommyy

                                                                  last survey i read, wikipedia was only a few percentage points below your average encyclopedia in regards to accuracy.
                                                                  i'm happy to be corrected about that.

                                                                  1. re: linus

                                                                    I saw a presentation at a major university about the surprising accuracy of Wikipedia. Their take on it was that there are many thousands of "editors" who are constantly challenging and updating the information.

                                                                  2. re: ttoommyy

                                                                    Whether there is misinformation on Wikipedia depends a lot on the topic. On most noncontroversial topics, it is quite good. Even controversial ones it can be good, though people holding certain positions on those topics will disagree. Sometimes I check the editing history to see the bones of contention. My experience is that Wikipedia is more reliable than discussion threads on Chowhound. Chow threads may have some of the same information, but it is harder to separate the fluff from the good stuff.

                                                                    But to stay on the topic of this thread, why should we doubt the information in the Wiki article about Kimball?

                                                                    1. re: paulj

                                                                      because otherwise it would make people's heads explode.

                                                                      1. re: paulj

                                                                        "But to stay on the topic of this thread, why should we doubt the information in the Wiki article about Kimball?"

                                                                        I'd say it's because he's controversial -- some people like him; others hate. It's possible that the Wikipedia entry on any given day has been edited by a fan or hater to reflect that view.

                                                                  3. re: John Francis

                                                                    I forgot about the first magazine, Cook's. That was super.

                                                                    1. re: John Francis

                                                                      Wikipedia??? Heehee

                                                                      Well, the "article" doesn't mention if he knows how to hunt, clean and cook a rabbit or chop wood. Hint: it's not because he can't.

                                                                    2. I have to get in on this conversation. OK. I do watch AKT and Cooks Country. I like the no-nonsense way that the recipes are presented. Briget is my favorite--I call her the Miss Cooking Smartypants because she comes across like the girl who sat in front of you in grade school and "hid" her paper so you couldn't glance at her CORRECT answers--but I like her. Kimball rubs me the wrong way. Why? I think he is smug and condescending. JMO--but he just comes across that way. I'm not fond of his schtick. I like Bishop b/c he looks like he's having a fun time. I USED to get Cooks Illustrated but was tired of all the marketing and nickel and diming You cannot even get one of the recipes online because they demand you pay for it. The guy is only interested in making money--but his tv staff is decent.

                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                      1. re: jarona

                                                                        If you owned a business wouldn't your main focus be to make money?

                                                                        1. re: ttoommyy

                                                                          I agree with ttoommyy, the focus of a business is to make money. I agree that at times their shilling can be annoying but since the shows are on PBS and the magazines have no advertising, they have to find other revenue streams. Personally I'd rather have a magazine like theirs that isn't page after page of ads, but that's my preference.

                                                                        2. re: jarona

                                                                          If you make/produce/create a product and people put their time/effort and expertise into making it happen I think they all deserve to get compensated. Why should Christopher Kimball work for free?
                                                                          It's not logical.

                                                                        3. Jack Bishop is my favorite. He's got a great laugh/chuckle, but his has one of the best smiles.

                                                                          1. Just saw Cook's (home made tater tots) and I swear Julia
                                                                            Collin Davison had plastic surgery (face). Something is really different. IMHO

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. I like them all very much, including Kimball. All of them exude East Coast, collegiate charm.

                                                                              I like Julia the most, followed closely by Bridget. That guy who does the equipment testing is a bit strange. Does he have a glass eye or something? Jack Bishop is an uber-geek, and I mean that in a good way.

                                                                              28 Replies
                                                                                1. re: EarlyBird

                                                                                  I like Bridget, Becky, Jack, Adam (never noticed the "glass eye"), Lisa, Guy.

                                                                                  I dislike Julia (I think it may be the dangly earrings that distract and irritate) and Bryan (too smug by far).

                                                                                  I detest Chris, especially when he and one of the chefs start the end-of-segment orgasmic "oh oh oh, best ever" orgasmic moans. Aaaarrrrgghhhh.

                                                                                  I'm sure I've forgotten a few. And I haven't mentioned some of those from past years who have since left, such as Kenji, Yvonne.

                                                                                  1. re: drongo

                                                                                    Oddly, any irritation I get from Christopher Kimball I find charming. The whole group reminds me a bit of an SNL send up of the over-educated, East Coast, WASPy kind of person.

                                                                                    I imagine them unselfconsciously living all sorts of stereotypes like driving a 20 year old Volvo wagon with a Dukakis bumper sticker on it, buying everything from LL Bean (especially turtle necks and deck shoes), listening to nothing but NPR, referring to an arstist's "oeuvre" while they sit on their Adirondack chairs and sip martinis, that kind of stuff.

                                                                                      1. re: sandylc

                                                                                        Considering the venue of the show, what would NOT make them "fakers"? What would you change?

                                                                                        1. re: njmarshall55

                                                                                          Difficult question to answer. I think the "faker" description to me applies specifically to Christopher Kimball. I very much like everyone else on the shows. I like to watch the shows to look for new things to learn, the same reason I watch other cooking shows.

                                                                                          Chris' combination of an "aw, shucks" act and a condescending/know it all demeanor just strike me as....icky. I don't like to be looked down upon and preached to by someone who hasn't even met me. His pronouncements of his opinions presented as facts further irritate me.

                                                                                          I guess I just don't care for his personality - if that's my problem, so be it.

                                                                                          Now, I know a least a few of you are going to jump in here and start picking at what I've said, asking for examples, etc.

                                                                                          I'm not going to play.

                                                                                          1. re: sandylc

                                                                                            Chris has a strong east coast mentality, i.e. when they test cooking ware they never go to the big box stores and purchase. When they tested non-stick frying pans their winner was the cheapest at $30. I can go into Costco and get a set of three pans for $19. Go figure

                                                                                            1. re: bruce9432

                                                                                              Not to be TOO picky, but maybe I would say, "East Coast demeanor." Still not sure about his mentality, tho.

                                                                                              1. re: bruce9432

                                                                                                Isn't the $60 Tramontina Dutch Oven they recommend something you get at Walmart?

                                                                                                1. re: bruce9432

                                                                                                  Yeah you know what I bought a T-Fal three pan set at Costco and they're garbage. The big pan warped, the small pan's coating is already coming off after a year.

                                                                                                  I bought their recommended pan in two sizes. Works much better. Because it's SS clad I find it retains heat much better. Even my wife strongly prefers using them and she usually doesn't care, but she noticed that everything turns out better in those pans.

                                                                                                  And $30 for a pan is expensive? Whatever you do, don't ever go into a Williams Sonoma (BTW, a west coast store).

                                                                                                  1. re: Shazam

                                                                                                    We have had good luck with the Ikea brand nok-stick fry pans.

                                                                                                    1. re: Shazam

                                                                                                      I'm in Michigan, we have W-S so not just west coast.

                                                                                                      1. re: Shazam

                                                                                                        WS may have started on the west coast, but they are all over. We have more than enough of them here on the east coast.

                                                                                                        1. re: ttoommyy

                                                                                                          Point being is that they started off on the west coast (they originated in San Francisco). I fail to see what bruce9432's point was regarding "it's an east coast high cost mentality" in regards to a pan that costs $30.

                                                                                                          1. re: Shazam

                                                                                                            The tone of your post made it sound like WS was only on the west coast. I was just clarifying the point. Sorry.

                                                                                                          2. re: ttoommyy

                                                                                                            No kidding, they've been in Oklahoma and Kansas forever.

                                                                                                      2. re: sandylc

                                                                                                        Not I. To each their own. I was just curious why you used the term "faker." Good answer, tho.

                                                                                                    2. re: EarlyBird

                                                                                                      As I noted in an earlier reply, the offices are down the street. I talk to some. They're actually pretty nice normal people who love food and love to talk about food. Not fakers. Not at all.

                                                                                                      Chris is odd. Everyone acknowledges he is odd. When I've met him, he has been odd.

                                                                                                      They shoot the ATK show in their kitchen / offices, which are in an old former warehouse/storage type building near the Village T stop. If you can go in during a regular day instead of on a tour, you see cooks using the equipment they recommend in the same space where they shoot the show. The main differences between that and a "real" commercial kitchen are much better lighting, much better climate control (not hot) and finishes that look nice on TV. It is otherwise where the people all work. So for example, just off camera is a hall where the walk-ins are. There are some conference rooms, offices and a library area. Not a huge space. Nothing fake about it, not like any of the kitchen sets you see on Food Network or PBS or anywhere; this is an actual kitchen where actual stuff is prepared and tested, not a set.

                                                                                                      And the people on TV work there. I believe Jack started back with Mark Bittman and others in the first days of Cooks and is editorial director.

                                                                                                      1. re: lergnom

                                                                                                        chris is definitely an odd guy. he cultivates that. and he's also one of the smartest guys in publishing -- a monthly food publication with no color photos and no advertising, very limited newsstand sales, almost completely supported by subscription ... and they make millions a year.

                                                                                                                1. re: coney with everything

                                                                                                                  Life certainly has been good to Mr. Kimball so far....

                                                                                                        1. re: drongo

                                                                                                          If dangly earrings are an issue for you, I think that's funny.

                                                                                                        2. re: EarlyBird

                                                                                                          I also like them, some are a little strange, but, aren't we all

                                                                                                        3. YIKES!

                                                                                                          There are so many truly untaleneted, mean-spirited, full-on-fakes, liars and cheats in sports and the entertainment business who are also fabulously wealthy. In most cases, unlike Chris Kimball, they really didn't build that and are contributing nothing to our way of life. My criteria is this. Does so&so have something I can learn from and would I be comfortable having my grandchildren share the experience.

                                                                                                          The Aw shucks inauthenticity of the academy award winning song from Toy Story, "We Belong Together" wins over the "It's hard out here for a Pimp" every time.

                                                                                                          With regard to cooks and foodies, it's simpler. Can they make good food AND teach me how to do it? I know Chris and his wordy cookbooks with few pictures are heavy on science. The nerds among us appreciate that.

                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                          1. In a world where Sandra Lee is allowed to be successful and Sara Moulton is kicked off FoodNetwork, I'll take CK and the quirkiness of the America's Test Kitchen team. At least they're about real food and quality. They teach the viewers about food and cooking as opposed to opening a can.

                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                            1. I like ATK, but I fast-forward past the obnoxious commercials (those giant FP stoves don't get much love from Consumer Reports). I am amused by Chris Kimball, who married a woman 25 years younger last summer
                                                                                                              (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/30/fas...). Not very Vermontish, but then ...

                                                                                                              8 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: lissa511

                                                                                                                What a fairy tale love story that is.....

                                                                                                                1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                  My sarcasm meter must be broken...I can't get a reading here.

                                                                                                                  1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                    The ....... Was my attempt at subtle sarcasm. I wonder how long wife number two realized her marriage was in jeopardy? I also wonder how long it will be before wife number three will realize her marriage is in jeopardy?

                                                                                                                    1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                      Good... I hoped you meant it that way!

                                                                                                                      1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                        It's a romance for the movies. Tom Hanks as Mr. Kimball and Meg Ryan as Ms. Baldino. I don't know who would take on the roll of the second Mrs. Kimball.(Did you see how I kept it food related?)

                                                                                                                        1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                          i know when i watch a cooking show, my enjoyment is absolutely centered on the romantic and personal lives of the hosts and cooks.
                                                                                                                          i don't know why anyone would watch a cooking show to learn anything or be entertained by anything pertaining to food.

                                                                                                                          1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                            Does he have a missing arm? Is he the guy who killed his wife but it turned out he didn't. Is he a Doctor or does he just play one on TV? Colour me confused.

                                                                                                                2. I can enjoy CI's scientific approach to cooking and admire what Christopher Kimble has accomplished without liking the guy.

                                                                                                                  7 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: mwhitmore

                                                                                                                    Yep - this. mwhitmore nails it. I have all issues of CI because their stuff is solid, backed by expereince and NO ADVERTISING except for them selves, of course :- >

                                                                                                                    Don't need to 'like' Kimball (or anyone else there) to value what they do. They actually cook - _not in restaurants_, in homes. I can use their articles. My preferences run to resources like these. I photocopy and share so many with new and inexperienced cooks - especially if I am teaching them to cook.

                                                                                                                    CI has strengths and weaknesses, like all. I know what these are and work around them. CI has a definite, New England, Yankee, east coast bias. Very little deep understanding of
                                                                                                                    southern/new orleans/s'western food but they (writers) try
                                                                                                                    hard and are up front about their lack of soul-deep experience. That's fine with me. The information is solid and useable. They tell you what they know from experience.
                                                                                                                    Can no longer bear the 'glam' food mags and TV at all: now I only subscribe to CI and Saveur (different approach) Fine Cooking ocassionally. I read/look at Lucky Peach, Food and Wine, Bon Appitite and the others for a joke.

                                                                                                                    CI on cornbread? no. j ust no. seriously. No.

                                                                                                                    1. re: kariin

                                                                                                                      Posters have often complained that CI does not handle their favorite cuisine correctly, but they rarely give specifics.

                                                                                                                      What's wrong with their cornbread? For example, take their 1998 southern style
                                                                                                                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6651...

                                                                                                                      http://www.krista-ali.com/2010/01/cor...

                                                                                                                      I expect you will scream blood murder about the sugar - but it is only 2 tsp! Your grandmother probably didn't used boiling water on part of the cornmeal, but I suspect they have a good reason for that added step ('Cornmeal mush gives the bread a strong corn flavor and a moist, fine texture.'). But apart from tradition is there a reason not to try that?

                                                                                                                      If readers are going to object to every little deviation from their families' traditional recipes, there is little point CI testing alternatives and trying to come up with updated or better versions.

                                                                                                                      -------------------
                                                                                                                      http://www.americastestkitchenfeed.co...

                                                                                                                      is more recent one. Here they toast the cornmeal in the oven, and let it soak in buttermilk. They also use oil and butter (one to resist burning, the other for flavor), and add most of that to the batter.

                                                                                                                      They do something similar with the fat in Yorkshire pudding/Dutch baby. I look to CI for tested innovations, not whole recipes.

                                                                                                                      1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                        Paulj, I am not Italian but don't need to be to know that their slow cooker adaptation of meatballs and sauce unnecessarily tinkers with a time-honored dish, in this instance without improving it. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9221...

                                                                                                                        1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                                          http://www.cookscountry.com/recipes/4...
                                                                                                                          Reading the 'why this recipe works' paragraph, I don't think you are giving their version a fair shake. They aren't trying to improve on the time-honored dish. They are trying to make a slow-cooker version that works.

                                                                                                                          They must have a dozen meatball recipes, some of which may meet your standards.

                                                                                                                          1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                            paulj, I think one thing that bothers people is the attitude presented with the research.

                                                                                                                            I like so many things about ATK and CI and have learned a lot from them.

                                                                                                                            Once in a while I REALLY disagree with something they do.

                                                                                                                            I always hate CK's presentation style. Everyone else does it wrong, our way is the only good way, good thing you poor saps have us to teach you how to do everything properly. Especially annoying when THEY appear to have the wrong idea about a particular food, or when the desired end product is a subjective matter, such as cookie texture.

                                                                                                                            1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                              Coming to PBS next season, 'ATK rejects', recipes that just aren't as good as the original. "We thought we could improve on the classics, but couldn't figure out anything new and improved. So to fill the air time, we are going present the best flops and second rate recipes."

                                                                                                                              1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                i'm with you. i personally much prefer the episodes when they say, for example, "here comes a very mediocre version of roast chicken,"
                                                                                                                                or
                                                                                                                                "now we'll be making a solid B minus version of BBQ'd ribs that repeats many mistakes that ensure dry, tasteless meat."

                                                                                                                    2. Tucson, AZ, lately haven't been getting America's Test Kitchen, just Cook's Country, I like them both and would PBS return ATK to air.

                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                      1. re: dolly52

                                                                                                                        Both are available, but local stations get to pick and choose. If they only show cooking shows Saturday afternoons (a widespread tradition) you will only get a small sampling. CreateTV (a subchannel for many PBS stations) shows 3 or more hours of cooking a day. Even so, it rotates shows in its current schedule.

                                                                                                                      2. Today was the new season premier of ATK, and Chris said something about "if Julia was still with us.."

                                                                                                                        Anyone know what this means?

                                                                                                                        11 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                          Just a guess, but maybe Julia Child?
                                                                                                                          Hope so, as I have always liked Julia Collin Davison on ATK!

                                                                                                                          1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                            Julia Child, the show opened with video of Julia Child, and some discussion of Julia Child by Chris K,

                                                                                                                            1. re: Alan408

                                                                                                                              It was JC's multi-step version of Boeuf Bourguignon, which Becky Hays was able to simplify by using a big roasting pan.

                                                                                                                            2. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                              Just to second this; Chris was definitely referring to Julia Child. I just saw this episode, and they were talking about her dish and he was saying that if Julia Child were still with us, she would enjoy their quicker version of Boeuf Bourguignon. That's all it was.

                                                                                                                              1. re: sunnyskies12

                                                                                                                                That should teach me to pay better attention....

                                                                                                                              2. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                "Today was the new season premier of ATK, and Chris said something about "if Julia was still with us.."

                                                                                                                                Anyone know what this means?"

                                                                                                                                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julia_Child

                                                                                                                                1. re: ttoommyy

                                                                                                                                  Yeah, I got that fixed upthread - I thought he was talking about Julia Collin Davison - duh

                                                                                                                                  1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                    Ah, I see the confusion.
                                                                                                                                    I though maybe you did not know who Julia Child was, hence the link.

                                                                                                                                2. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                  I heard this too. I didn't get in on the first of the show, so I didn't get the reference to Julia Child. I was more confused when Cook's Country came on next, and there she was. I immediately went to the computer to check it out and found this site. Thank goodness she is still with us.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: cjsenour

                                                                                                                                    This is exactly what I did! I came in midway through the recipe and, as they were tasting the dish, heard CK say something about Julia. Silly me, I thought he meant ATK's Julia! Relieved to learn he was referring to my late favorite TV chef, Julia Child.

                                                                                                                                3. Yes, Chris is supposedly not very into spices, and no, it's not an act...he really does love the farming bit, and it was well described in the comments.

                                                                                                                                  I have gone through periods where I didn't want to watch the show because I was annoyed with his constant money making tactics and he seems like a narcissist to me.

                                                                                                                                  Buuuuuuuuuuut..... I LOVE his company!!! He may be making hand over fist, but he provides a great service and that's why. You can buy whatever content you can afford, get what you can't buy from the library or online, watch the TV shows for free, americastestkitchenfeed.com has a ton of free content... so it really is a personal decision how much to spend based on what your needs/wants are.

                                                                                                                                  I've been cooking my way through my cookbooks and magazines, and about half of my recipes are from them. And you know, I appreciate them so much more when I use other recipes that are failures. I had a few blog recipes that were poorly written and/or untested, and boy did that make me appreciate Chris' team! I realized that through the hundreds of recipes I've made, not ONE was poorly written, not ONE was a failure in content, and if I didn't like it, at least I knew it was my personal tastebuds and not their team's fault. I truly can trust them, and I take it so for granted now.

                                                                                                                                  Of course there are other great cookbooks out there that are also tested, but there are hundreds more that are not. These guys will NOT steer you wrong. If you know you want only an "authentic" recipe, well then if the ingredient list doesn't match up to your expectations, don't make their recipe. Granted, some of their Latin and Asian recipes aren't amazing, but some of them are really good. And their services are so comprehensive, including all the cooking tips, taste tests, and equipment reviews. They are providing such an amazing service, and I've gotten really spoiled. A recipe may look great on a blog, but turn out dismally. With Chris, it's going to turn out well and exactly the way you expect. Every time.

                                                                                                                                  1. Yvonne Ruperti is way too good looking for any TV show.

                                                                                                                                    Julia Collin-Davison is "orgasmic" just by being herself.

                                                                                                                                    Bridget Lancaster is there so Christopher Kimball can hit on her on camera.

                                                                                                                                    Lisa McManus does NOT belong on TV.

                                                                                                                                    Becky Hays is nice and whatever.

                                                                                                                                    Adam Ried was begging for a free chance to intern for free and that, somehow, got him his own segment.

                                                                                                                                    Jack Bishop and Christopher Kimball act like two gay guys on TV. NOT that there's anything Wrong with that!

                                                                                                                                    Guy Crosby is fine, but Christopher Kimballs schtick with him is just stupid TV.

                                                                                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                                                                                    1. re: Gastronomos

                                                                                                                                      "Jack Bishop and Christopher Kimball act like two gay guys on TV. NOT that there's anything Wrong with that!"

                                                                                                                                      What does that even mean??? And why do people always feel they can justify these kinds of stupid statements with "not that there's anything wrong with that!"?

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Gastronomos

                                                                                                                                        Yeah, McManus's criteria are so off-target that the takeaway from most of her segments is to *avoid* the gewgaws she endorses and go for the ones she rejects.
                                                                                                                                        She's Sarah Gilbert's long-lost twin, with a more nasal, whiny voice.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                                                          She left. but she is oh so right...

                                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                          1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                                                            Totally Sarah Gilbert. Not that there's anything wrong with THAT :)