Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder

22 Sep 2003, 12:15 p.m.

America's Embarrassment Kitchen

Hi, reader. I wrote this in 2003 and it's now more than five years old. So it may be very out of date; the world, and I, have changed a lot since I wrote it! I'm keeping this up for historical archive purposes, but the me of today may 100% disagree with what I said then. I rarely edit posts after publishing them, but if I do, I usually leave a note in italics to mark the edit and the reason. If this post is particularly offensive or breaches someone's privacy, please contact me.

I asked two questions whose answers made me slink in my chair during the Kimball event.

One recipe had egg in it, but there was no mention of heating the egg. I asked whether he was at all worried about eating raw egg. He laughed that he had almost gotten through a week in California without having to defend eating raw egg, and then talked about how low the risk actually is. Evidently, today's eater first asks the question, "Will this kill me?" which is not the first question that Kimball would have them ask.

As it turns out, the egg in this case was not completely raw. But still.

Also, I pointed out that the TV show has fadeouts and fadeins indicating long waits (e.g. an hour of brining in the fridge). What do the cast and crew do during those waits? "We fooled you!" Kimball gleefully sang. Indeed America's Test Kitchen actually does the same thing as the other cooking shows and has a ready item waiting, e.g., a bird that has already been roasting for two hours, so the cast doesn't have to wait around. I feel so taken.

Yesterday Leonard saw, for the first time, the ATK episode with hot smoked salmon and cucumber salad. This includes Christopher Kimball reading off a cucumber "Food Facts" which is a description of how one uses zombie cucumbers and the ground-up bones of dead children to turn someone into a zombie. "And, thus, America's Test Kitchen," Kimball concludes. "So that's what you did to me!" Julia Collins responds. And then they go on making the salad.

I think it's brilliant. Leonard was a little freaked out.