From the desk of Christopher Kimball
Dear Home Cook,
I love doing television shows—namely America’s Test Kitchen and Cook’s Country TV—but I have always had a love affair with radio. It’s intimate, it’s smart, and it offers plenty of time to dive deep, to investigate the world of food and cooking in ways that are not possible on television.
That is why, starting in January, America’s Test Kitchen Radio hits the airwaves across the country on public radio. (You can also listen to the show by going to our website— www.AmericasTestKitchenRadio.
Before I go on, let me share with you a Calvin Coolidge story. In 1904, Coolidge had his first car ride with a neighbor, Fred Jager. After the ride, Coolidge told Jager, “It’s wonderful to ride in a horseless carriage, but it won’t amount to much.”
That’s pretty much what I was told when, in 1979, I started working on the first issue of The Cook’s Magazine. I heard the same thing in 2000 when I launched America’s Test Kitchen on television. And again when we introduced Cook’s Country TV four years ago. And of course everyone has told me that creating a weekly one-hour radio show is an impossible task.
I have learned, however, not to underestimate our readers, viewers, and listeners. You are interested in why things work and why they don’t. You have questions about the science of cooking. You love honest reviews of kitchen equipment and no-nonsense taste tests of supermarket foods.
In short, I have always counted on home cooks to make up their own minds. But first let me tell you a bit about the show.
This is a weekly one-hour broadcast. My cohost is our own TV chef Bridget Lancaster. We broadcast directly from our test kitchen, where we do tastings, testings, recipe development, science experiments, gadget reviews, and blind wine-tasting segments. We also go into the studios of WGBH here in Boston to take your phone calls and answer your cooking questions.
I also take time each week to dive deep into topics that need investigation (why is the olive oil business similar to the drug trade?); that introduce another, more personal side of food personalities (Julia Child, the piano player, and the snowstorm); that surprise (48 percent of fish are sold under a purposely false name); or that inform (why can’t the world’s top wine experts tell the difference between red and white in blind tastings?).
This is not a how-to show, although you will learn plenty about cooking, ingredients, cookware, gadgets, food science, and wine. It is not a personality show, although Bridget often takes the opportunity to poke fun at me. It is not a call-in show, although we do take calls from listeners across the country. What is America’s Test Kitchen Radio?
Let me tell you one of my favorite Vermont stories. A city kid up for the summer was spied poking a large toad with a stick. A local boy came up and told him to quit poking the toad. The city kid responded, “Well, it’s my toad, ain’t it?” The Vermonter stared him down and replied, “Well, in Vermont, he’s his own toad.”
That’s a good description of America’s Test Kitchen Radio. It’s really not just like anything else—it’s its “own toad”!
If you enjoy what we do in Cook’s Illustrated and Cook’s Country, if you enjoy our television shows, or if you wonder what it’s like to work in our test kitchen every day, then tune in to America’s Test Kitchen Radio. More than two years in the making, we are finally ready for prime time, and we hope that you will join us. If you can’t find us on your local station, just go to our website, www.AmercasTestKitchenRadio.
It’s the moment for us to take the time to do what we do best: ask questions to get at the truth—the truth about cooking, about food, about wine, and about the kitchen. It’s also time to start taking your calls to hear your questions and your voices.
So please join Bridget and me each week on America’s Test Kitchen Radio. Listen to us on the radio, in the car, on our podcast, or on a Saturday afternoon when you’re in the kitchen cooking. The show is packed with information, with unexpected moments, and with trips to places that we can’t take you to on television.
Much like Coolidge, some may say, “Well, it won’t amount to much!” But as any good Vermonter knows, you just get up in the morning and do what you love. We love to test, to investigate, to inform, and to share. Please give us a listen. I think that we are at the very beginning of our greatest adventure, one that will bring all of us cooks together each week to talk, to ask questions, to answer them, and, of course, to just have a good time.
Starting a radio show is, I guess, a bit like fishing. Coolidge was fishing in Wisconsin while vacationing. He was asked how many fish he thought were in the river. Coolidge said, “About forty-five thousand. I haven’t caught them all yet, but I’ve intimidated them.”
So, yes, we have started on our journey. We have a lot of fish to catch. And I can say confidently that we haven’t caught them all yet, but we have “intimidated” them. With your help, we think it is going to be a very successful fishing season for all.
All the best and thanks for listening,
Founder and Editor
America’s Test Kitchen