Zero Degrees of Separation
“The modern world, however, filters the pleasure of living through infinite layers.”
“Unhappiness steps through the front door when we find our lives removed from the world, from the shock and pleasure of our five senses. That’s why we cook, to remind ourselves that we are alive, that we are connected to the food chain (the less fortunate become part of it) and to the ebb and flow of nature.
Breathing filtered, conditioned air, eating processed foods, and experiencing adventure while sitting in an armchair is certainly not what Homo sapiens was designed for. I have no idea what life is really about or whether it holds meaning, but happiness is not to be found in a box of cereal, even if it does contain a prize. Living with zero degrees of separation entails risk—yes, that glass of raw milk might contain pathogens—but nothing worth doing is entirely risk-free.
So we can either turn to our kitchens as a lifestyle, or we can do it to remind ourselves that we are alive…”
by Christopher Kimball from the editorial in Cooks Illustrated, July & August 2011 issue
Jonathan Soroff: Does TV like The Martha Stewart Show misrepresent cooking? They’ve got 400 assistants. Chris Kimball: Yes, in a way, but I suppose it’s similar to Vogue, because the clothes look great on a 19-year-old model who ways 105 pounds. You put that same dress on your own fat ass, and it doesn’t look as good. So on the show, we always start with badly done food-and I wish we did it even more-to really make the point that no one is perfect. I’d like to take away that fear of failure by saying, “Everybody makes mistakes.”
Salted caramel frosting
Do you know Chris Kimball? The entrepreneur, front man, personality and presence behind the Cook’s Illustrated / Cook’s Country / America’s Test Kitchen empire? About a year ago a friend recommended The New Best Recipe, which is Kimball’s classic cookbook. It applies the Kimball approach — exhaustive testing of every recipe to achieve The Best Recipe — to classic American recipes. Now I’m an acolyte (three cookbooks and a magazine subscription) and consult Chris frequently for the best way to make… well, anything, really.
A recent email from The Man Himself (actually, a newsletter sent to thousands of people, but whatever) mentioned a caramel cake, saying that it was not too fussy. Since Chris made it, I knew it would be delicious, and as you know, I’m a lazy dessert maker, so this sounded right up my alley.
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I'm Chris Kimball, Founder of America's Test Kitchen, and This Is How I Work
_America’s Test Kitchen_ has been giving viewers recipes, science lessons, and gadget how-tos for more than a decade now. Its founder and host Chris Kimball is known for taking less-than-great dishes and recreating them to perfection, often explaining the science and tech behind his fixes (and always while wearing a bow tie). Beyond the stove, Chris stays busy as a magazine editor, author, and radio host. We caught up with the dapper Mr. Kimball to chat about to-do lists, audiobooks, fluffy pancakes, and more. More »