We finally get to the bottom of why Christopher Kimball always wears a bowtie!
The folks behind Cook’s Country are busy beavers indeed. Not only do they produce the aforementioned show, they also create “Cook’s Illustrated” magazine, run an interactive website and produce an entire other show, America’s Test Kitchen which features the same talent from Cook’s Country, begging the question: what’s the difference between the two cooking shows?
The main difference between America’s Test Kitchen and Cook’s Country comes from the slant each show takes. While America’s Test Kitchen deals with food, equipment and the like from a technical perspective Cook’s Country tends to treat the same subjects with a more historical angle. The latter also brings in a live studio audience for the Taste Test segments, lending a different feel.
But I know what you want to know — What recipes do they make this season? Well instead of going episode by episode I’ve grouped the various segments together so you can skim what you’re interested in and see if something tempts your taste buds or piques your shopper’s instincts enough to make a purchase.
* Recipes — Quicker Cinnamon buns; “Impossible” Ham-and-cheese pie; Holiday strip roast; Olive oil potato gratin; Chocolate angel pie; Black and white cookies; Pork pernil; California fish tacos; Skillet-roasted chicken and stuffing; Pork chops with vinegar peppers; Grilled cowboy-cut rib eyes; Grilled Caesar salad; Milk-can supper; Dakota bread; Memphis-style wet ribs; Strawberry pretzel salad; Italian cream cake; Summer berry pudding; New Orleans barbecue shrimp; Creamy cheese grits; Grilled chicken leg quarters with lime dressing; Texas potato salad; Oklahoma fried onion burgers; Natchitoches meat pies; Colorado green chili; Slow-cooker baked ziti.
* Taste Tests — Frozen orange juice; Country ham; Liquid egg whites; Red medium jarred salsa; Blue cheese dressing; Pepper jack cheese; Frozen French fries; Egg noodles.
* Equipment Testing — Cookie sheets; Food saver gadgets; Salad spinners; Roasting pans; Round cake pans; Aprons; Small slow cookers.
* Cooking Class — All about olive oil; Secrets to buying fish; Pressure cooker chicken stock; Grill cleaning; Low-fat macaroni and cheese; How to hard cook eggs.
We’ll keep the technical specifications section short and sweet as well. The 1.78:1 aspect ratio is a bit too wide for this video transfer, as there is definitely some light pixilation. The food looks good in the beauty shots but it’s clear not a lot (if any) color timing was performed. The audio is a Dolby 2.0 track which proves it’s shot on location as you can hear traffic noises in more than one shot. Cook’s Country has more music cues than its sister show but, while I’d like to see an upgrade, you can clearly hear the directions, facts, and recommendations given, so it’s completely serviceable.
The lone special feature is once again PDF files of all the recipes. On a related note the manufacturer has eliminated the ability to play all the episodes without going back to the main menu between each. Apparently I am the only one who mainlines these types of shows.
Cook’s Country takes a more historical perspective of dishes than its sister show, America’s Test Kitchen. Take a look at the recipes, taste tests and equipment reviews to see if anything tickles your fancy enough to prompt a purchase. It’s one of the better cooking shows out there and I can easily recommend it.