The new Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook just might be the last cookbook I’ll ever need but since I’m a cookbook junkie, it won’t be last I’ll buy. After interviewing Jack Bishop (we went to Oddfellows), editorial director of Cook’s Illustrated and co-host of America’s Test Kitchen for the Dallas Morning News in January, I’ve been faithfully consulting the Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook on a weekly basis – salmon, chicken, cod, beef, veal, veggies… in short everything.
The Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook is a 20 year compendium of their 2000 best tried and true recipes from their Cook’s Illustrated magazine. And try and test they do… 63 times on average per recipe. I love how they anticipate what a home cook might do especially since sometimes we don’t have all ingredients on hand and suggest substitutions (and what ingredients to avoid). There’s tips like how to trim asparagus and illustrations of how to form a baguette.
For me it was the simple things that I loved like how to get the crispiest roasted potatoes on the outside and creamy and fluffy on the inside. Cook’s Illustrated has narrowed it down to a science from the right spud, the right shape to slice them and the right cooking method and at which temperature. I usually par boil my potatoes but now with the added step of tossing the par boiled potatoes in olive oil and salt till the slices form a starchy paste, my roasted potatoes are exactly as described.
Now America’s Test Kitchen brings us America’s Test Kitchen Cooking School, designed to teach anyone, anywhere to become a better cook at our own pace. There’s 100 courses and lots of interactive learning tools that bring the content to life. We are even connected directly to experts in the test kitchen. My instructor is Bridget Lancaster, lead instructor of the Cooking School as well as executive food editor for Cook’s Country and cast of America’s Test Kitchen.
“Online education was a natural transition for us. We spent two years developing a school that provides anyone and everyone with an unparalleled, personalized education that goes far beyond a few videos and recipes,” says founder and editor Christopher Kimball. “As a member of America’s Test Kitchen Cooking School, you’ll master the fundamental principles that ensure success when cooking.”
The school’s primary goal is to teach students how to think as they cook. “We’re teaching students to ask themselves the right questions when they cook,” says editorial director Jack Bishop. “Students learn how to break down a recipe into its components and how to get to the point where they can improvise in the kitchen.”
I plan on brushing up on the fundamentals of cooking and learning new techniques like baking (I don’t bake) and get better at sauces. Pikelet & Lollo are doing the pizza making tutorial with Beefcake. I’ll report back in a couple of months but see below for your sign up options.
Till our next happy meal!
Students have unlimited access to a growing catalog of more than 100 courses. There are two options: the instructor-led option costs $39.95 per month; the self-guided option costs $19.95 per month. Click here at America’s Test Kitchen Cooking School for more info. Or click on the Cook’s Illustrated website.