PBS // 2011 // 780 Minutes // Rated
Reviewed by Judge Alice Nelson // July 23rd, 2011
If Bill Nye and Martha Stewart got together to create the ultimate cooking show, their work would've resulted in the birth of America's Test Kitchen.
I am but an average cook at best, yet my wonderful family willingly eats the meals I slap on the table each and everyday, with little to no complaint. Still, the chef inside that's dying to get out loves watching shows where experts cook meals making it look like any old schmoe can do it -even me. One of my favorites is America's Test Kitchen, which is more than just a run of the mill cooking program with some hot shot chef in a colorful smock, ATK is cooking for the common woman or man, with a pinch of science thrown in. They don't just show you what works in a recipe, they tell you why it works and the different incarnations they tried before achieving the perfect dish. Hosted by Cooks Illustrated editor Christopher Kimball, America's Test Kitchen: Season 11 is the type of show technical enough that your husband will love to watch and unassuming enough so that the incredible recipes aren't in the least bit intimidating.
America's Test Kitchen: Season 11 is a four disc 26 episode delight to your gustatory senses. Each episode has at least two delicious recipes with specific instructions on how to perfectly cook everything from good old fashioned pot roast to a mouth watering cream cheese coffee cake. Host Christopher Kimball is joined in the ATK kitchen by testing chefs Julia Collin-Davison, Bridget Lancaster and Becky Hays. In the equipment corner, Adam Ried shows us the best gear for our cooking bucks, while Jack Bishop of the Tasting Lab, reports to us the kinds of ingredients we should use in our recipes. No longer will you be left alone in your kitchen with inadequate recipes that never work, oh no, you will have in your arsenal recipes perfected by experts over 11 seasons, plus the one on one instruction from the professionals on this informative and entertaining DVD.
So, you like homemade brownies but yours always comes out dry and flaky, in addition they aren't chocolaty enough. You just crave a delicious chicken pot pie that doesn't contain stringy tasteless chicken and mushy vegetables. Well, America's Test Kitchen: Season 11 has the solutions for your culinary struggles. You see, your brownies contain too much saturated fat and in order to solve the dry flaky problem, replace the butter with vegetable oil then add coarsely chopped dark chocolate and, voila, you have yourself a damn fine brownie. The chicken pot pie issue is due to the gelatinous canned Cream of Chicken gack that turns your dish into the blue plate special from your kid's school cafeteria. Kimball and his talented staff of chefs show you how to make your very own easy to do creamy sauce and crumbly topping that turns a comfort dish into a gourmet treat.
We get the scientific reason behind why those recipes didn't work before and a practical way to correct the problem. The solution is explained in an easy to understand manner that's much like a classroom cooking lesson taught by your favorite teacher, who not only loves what he does but loves to pass his ample knowledge on to others. The banter between Kimball and his staff of experts is fun and contagious, I found myself laughing as if I were hanging out with a group of friends shooting the breeze and cooking delicious meals. They seem to thoroughly enjoy each other's company and this exudes from them because they appear to love what they're doing. The relaxed manner of the crew makes us feel at ease and gives us the confidence that yes, as mere amateurs, we too can recreate these fabulous recipes. It is definitely family viewing; I think, like my kids, yours will also love to watch how these recipes unfold. The science doesn't scare off the kiddos because they explain why things work in an entertaining fashion whether they're coming from experts in the scientific world, or the experts on the ATK staff.
The recipes are listed in category groupings as follows:
* Old-Fashioned Sunday Dinners
* Desserts with an English Accent
* Tostadas and Empanadas
* Chewy Brownies and Chocolate Cupcakes
* Italian Comfort Classics
* Fall Favorites
* Seafood in a Skillet
* Coffeebreak Sweets
* Dutch Oven Classics
* Asian Favorites at Home
* Southern Fare, Reinvented
* Stuffed Beef Tenderloin
* Sweet Endings
* Weeknight Workhorses
* Thanksgiving Turkey
* Easier Italian Favorites
* Steak Frites
* Shrimp in a Skillet
* Deep-Dish Pizza
* All-American Fruit Desserts
* Grilled Pork Chops & Ribs
* Simply Italian
* Great Grilled Roast Beef
* Summertime Supper Fare
* Grilled Steak & Gazpacho
* Lazy Day Breakfast
America's Test Kitchen: Season 11 is presented in a standard definition full frame transfer, while the Dolby 2.0 Stereo audio is delectable.
You can play a fun drinking game while watching, just make sure the munchkins are tucked away safely in bed. Each time you hear Kimball proclaim a completed dish as, "Phenomenal," take a drink of your favorite adult beverage, I bet you'll be three sheets to the wind in just a few episodes.
ATK is a veritable college education of cooking rolled into one handy-dandy 4-disc DVD set. The fun and laughter never end and your family will benefit from all of the new dishes you will surprise them with. Bon Appétit!
Not Guilty, but I warn you, don't watch this DVD on an empty stomach or you'll have to buy one of our previously reviewed exercise DVDs.
Review content copyright © 2011 Alice Nelson; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 780 Minutes
Release Year: 2011
MPAA Rating: Rated
* PDF Recipes