It’s hard for me to watch cooking shows on television. I know, I know, you’re thinking, “Nan, you work in television, you shoot cooking videos, you’re in front of a camera all the time…that doesn’t make sense!” Let me explain. I used to work for a country music producer named Blake Mevis, who is pretty well known for his work with George Strait, among others. He’s a great man and a talented producer. I learned a lot about country songs from him and what makes one a hit, but I’ll save my musical thoughts for another post. Blake came up with some humdinger statements– some I can’t repeat! He was pretty well known for his jokes, too. We might not talk for months and out of the blue, he’ll call just to deliver the punch line of a joke and I’ll do the same to him. An avid golfer, he would say “I can’t watch golf on television because it just makes me want to get it up and play it.” Well, that’s how I feel about cooking shows. The whole point is to sit, relax and enjoy and all I want to do is get up and cook and eat!!
But, I’ve manage to overcome that urge through the years and these days I like to settle in on Saturdays in particular to watch one of my favorite cooking shows- Cook’s Country from America’s Test Kitchen on PBS. First off, the location alone is reason to watch. It’s taped in the beautiful state of Vermont in an old, renovated farmhouse built in 1806 where the scenery is just as pretty as the dishes they cook. Host Christopher Kimbull and the other cooking experts feature regional favorites as well as family recipes. It’s really easy to watch–peaceful, great food done for a modern kitchen with simple instructions.
The good news is they’ve created an excellent book that gets me through the other days of the week called ‘America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook’ and it’s a trusted resource for me. My dear friend Clara gave it to me for Christmas a few years ago and I love it. The recipes are abundant, over 1200 in all, but it’s much more than a library of recipes-it’s a teaching tool.
Starting out with a pretty comprehensive section called Cooking 101, it covers utensils, appliances, pots and pans, pantry essentials, a cutting guide for uniform ingredients and more. And that ‘101’ theme continues throughout the book, covering the basics of just about everything from pasta and breadcrumbs to meats and fish to cookie decorating. They share some of their test findings on kitchen gadgets and appliances as well as their taste findings on ingredients and food combinations. With all of the tips and how-tos, this book has become my go to resource for the kitchen. So whether you’ve been cooking for years and appreciate an extensive collection of recipes or a novice still learning the basics, this book covers just about any question you may have on just about anything you want to make! Here’s where you can get one: http://americastestkitchen.buysub.com/homepage/atk-family-cookbook-3rd-edition-bks.html