Studio: America’s Test Kitchen
What It Is
A working test kitchen with over three dozen full-time cooks and product testers test recipes, food products and kitchen equipment/tools and give helpful tips on the pragmatic details of food preparation.
The show runs an hour and drops a new episode every week. It follows a standard format of two segments of answering call-in questions, a couple of product trial segments where product testers talk about a variety of kitchen tools/equipment/food products. Then there’s typically an interview segment with a personality that relates to issues relating to food, whether it’s an author or a famous chef or whatever. The show started as an outgrowth of a cooking magazine; it then became a syndicated television show on PBS. The show has extended in a series of books, a couple of other television and radio shows, this podcast and, believe it or not, a Nintendo video game. The podcast began in 2011; the iTunes page features the entire episode archive.
What About It
So, I love food; one of my projects is a list of restaurants across the United States and famous dishes they have that I want to try. But food preparation? Yeah, that would be a no. This show is sporadically interesting to me still as someone who loves food as an entity to consume, even though I’m not into preparation. It’s very much a NPR show, if you know what I mean. It’s not a show that you listen to even though you know nothing about the subject matter just because of how funny the hosts are or whatever. It’s a low-key, serious show. I guess for the people who are into this thing, this is kind of the big dog show. I can see why; they’re detailed and very serious and pragmatic about everything they talk about. And, like I said, even I found the episodes I listened to sporadically interesting. But it’s nothing that’s going to get into my rotation; it’s just not in my wheelhouse – if it was, I have no doubt that it’d be in my top ten or so.
You have ever angrily debated the pros and cons of different brands of flour.
Avoid Like the Plague If
You think pound cake grows from vines like watermelons.
Best Entry Point
On the podcasts where I’m just not really into the subject matter, I generally just recommend that people that think they might like it just download the newest episode. I typically don’t feel that I can really tell the difference between a really great show and a good one on those shows. But there is one here that I found more interesting than the others. I’m going to recommend Colonel Sanders: The Man Behind the Myth. As the title indicates, the interview segment of this episode is an interview with a guy who wrote a biography of Colonel Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken fame. It’s a surprisingly interesting subject; I’d never have thought to wonder about the life of Colonel Sanders, but he was a scrappy, cantankerous fellow who had an interesting life. Anyway, that segment made this the most interesting episode I heard during my brief period listening to this one. The product testers, by the by, test different brands of chicken broth in this episode; that’s also surprisingly entertaining and occasionally kind of disgusting, so maybe some points for that too.
Next time, it’s one of the funniest podcasts I’ve heard, with a short enough list of episodes that I recommend the entire run, even though it’s a podcast I’ve been having a tough time listening to again lately.