Based on the popular PBS TV series, Cook's Illustrated
's America's Test Kitchen Cookbook
presents more than 200 recipes in short, essay-like investigations that reflect exhaustive ingredient, equipment, and method testing. Over the years, Cook's Illustrated
magazine has set itself to the task of finding the best versions of favorite dishes. The result has been often-definitive reports on how to achieve fare like thin-crust pizza, oven-fried chicken, and blueberry muffins. Readers who look to the magazine for the last word on dish preparation, and others seeking reliable, enlightening cooking counsel, will welcome this book.
Each recipe includes a What We Wanted statement (in the case of french fries, for example, "Golden brown fries with a nice crunch on the outside and an earthy potato taste"); explores various dish approaches (the perfect fat for fries is investigated and determined, among other cooking issues); What We Learned ("Use russet potatoes, soak them in ice water, and fry in peanut oil twice); the recipe itself; and other features such as Testing Lab (a detailed view of the dish's perfecting process). A full range of dishes are explored, from puréed soups, sandwiches, and barbecue fare to holiday dinners, seafood classics, and sweets such as apple pie, bar cookies, and chocolate desserts. Fully photo illustrated, and with useful step-by-step technique drawings, the book is a valuable kitchen resource that will help readers cook better. --Arthur Boehm
From Publishers Weekly
This impressive compendium of basic recipes follows the format of Cook's Illustrated magazine and the television series America's Test Kitchen. Accordingly, it presents painstakingly tested standard recipes for American classics like Grilled Hamburgers and Brownies. Chapters are thematic: a Thanksgiving chapter includes Crisp-Skin High-Roast Turkey and Turkey Gravy; another on Steak Frites provides recipes for Pan-Seared Steaks, various sauces and, certainly, French Fries. Recipes have been tested with all possible variables e.g., the editors cooked both commercial and specialty bacons in a microwave, a skillet and an oven before settling on oven-roasting. Also included are the results of numerous blind taste tests of everything from canned tomatoes to lemon oils and extracts, and equipment evaluations. After being subject to this kind of scrutiny, these recipes are guaranteed to work perfectly, and all the "Science Desk" reports are a boon to kitchen nerds who may wonder about such things as "Why Potatoes Turn Brown." Sometimes, however, this attention to the minutest detail and the constant quest for "the best" can seem misplaced. For example, it's nice to know that challah makes top-quality French Toast, but this dish is often a last-minute whim made with whatever's in the house, making the four pages of instructions, analysis of griddles, two recipes (one for challah and the other for day-old European-style bread, with a few caveats) feel overblown. Nonetheless, culinary geeks everywhere will love this book. Photos and illus. (Jan.) Forecast: The magazine's popularity promises steady sales.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.