Judge David Johnson emigrated from Cook's Country to Meat Stick Nation.
Where family-friendly recipes are re-imagined for the modern home cook.
As I was spinning through this disc, my mother asked: "What are you watching?" "Cook's Country, that PBS show. Have you ever seen it?" I asked. "Yeah. The host is kind of a nerd."
That he is. The food on display is absolutely mouthwatering, but based upon my observations—and apparently my mother's as well—host Christopher Kimball is a huge dork. And yet he's likable and engaging. The real star of the show is the recipe book and it's not like the guy is playing on my men's league basketball team, so I'm more than happy to excuse his robust nerdiness.
Kimball loves food and looking at the array of delightful comestibles on display, and it's easy to see why: cider braised chicken, slow cooker BBQ brisket, beer battered onion rings, grilled potato hobo packs (the greatest name for a food of all time), chiffon cake, tomato mac and cheese, herbed roast beef, huli huli chicken, and lots more.
These dishes are meaty, straightforward, simple creations and best of all they look awesomely good, cooked by the chefs from America's Test Kitchen. It's a nice change of pace from other cooking shows where the emphasis is on the exotic and snooty. I can't think of a single thing Kimball brought out I wouldn't eat so much of that I could potentially vomit.
In between the cooking demonstrations (held in front of a strangely too-exuberant live audience), we get taste tests, equipment displays, and some bonus "Where does this food come from?" segments. The taste tests are designed to be the comic relief, but they're pretty corny.
The DVD: 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, 2.0 stereo, and some PDF printable recipes (27 in all). You can also select scenes by recipe, food tastings, or equipment tests.
Overall, a solid offering for home cooks and fans of the genre. Zip past the hokey one-liners and get right into the meat and potatoes of the show, which is…well, meat and potatoes.
Order up: Not Guilty.
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