It’s not every day that we get a chance to sit down with the founder, editor, and publisher of Cook’s Illustrated and Cook’s Country magazines, and host of America’s Test Kitchen TV and Cook’s Country from America’s Test Kitchen — Christopher Kimball. On Wednesday afternoon, we were lucky enough to have him jump onto Twitter to give our fans a chance to ask him their questions directly. His fingers were flying for an entire hour as there were no shortage of questions from our fans. And every answer he tweeted was in true Christopher Kimball fashion — to the point and completely honest, even when one brave soul asked about his signature bow-tie.
Inside “the” kitchen…
@mrf100: What is the biggest cooking disaster that the ATK staff have dealt with?
@cpkimball: A Pyrex casserole that exploded when put on wet counter. A terrorist moment indeed! Although, we do use Pyrex all the time. Just do not put on a wet counter if screaming hot.
@KenV2: What was the WORST thing Jack has ever had you eat during a taste test? Have you ever gotten revenge?
@cpkimball: Butter on bread with hidden layer of chile paste and a water glass nearby full of gin, not water. And yes. He works for me. Revenge is an everyday thing!
Advice from the man himself…
@nestelle: When a recipe calls for “fine sea salt” can I just use regular salt instead? Are they just being fancy pants using it?
@cpkimball: Nope. Sea salt, even fine, will weigh less per teaspoon so use LESS table salt, maybe 30% less. Yes, fancy pants!
@TomSchryver: What are a few things (ingredients, tools, techniques,) that home cooks could do – that they’re not now – to improve?
@cpkimball: 1) Use more heat under skillet. 2)Buy good knife sharpener. 3) Use Thermapen instant read.
@paper_cranes: Last time I tried to bake bread it refused to rise. What could have contributed to this?
@cpkimball: 1) Water too hot for yeast. 2) Did not knead dough long enough. 3) Yeast old. 4) Kitchen cold.
@ChasHawk8: Following up on bread, my dough rises twice and fully, yet my finished bread is still dense. Should I switch to all bread flour?
@cpkimball: The more gluten, the better — which means bread flour is best and stay away from whole wheat or other flours with bran.
And there you have it…
@krugthethinker: What is the best way to ripen quinces? On the counter, in the fridge, in a paper bag?
@cpkimball: QUINCES? This ain’t the Food Network crowd! Try in a paper bag on counter like pears.
@CarenNH: How do I substitute turkey bacon for erg bacon, especially for rendering? Also in recipes like chowder. Add extra olive oil?
@cpkimball: Turkey bacon! Ought to be illegal! Yes, has less fat but that is the point about real bacon.
@HenryBottjer: I like your recipes, and I like the drawings in Cook’s Illustrated. What do you think of the many food shows now on TV?
@cpkimball: Most food shows are entertainment, which is fine. Since I am the world’s worst entertainer, we just cook!
Last, but not least: The real reason for the bow-tie?
We really want to thank Christopher Kimball for taking the time to answer all of our Twitter questions. And we’d also like to give a big “Thank You” to everyone who participated in our live chat, we all had a blast. And congratulations to our four lucky tweeters — @vijaynathan, @QueenzOfMedia, @KenV2, @hfelipe — they won copies of our new Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook!
Make sure to follow us @TestKitchen and stay tuned for the next Twitter Live Chat!