America’s Test Kitchen

Hosted by Christopher Kimball (you know, the guy in the bow tie), America’s Test Kitchen is a cross-media phenomenon. Having grown out of the venerable Cook’s Illustrated magazine, this popular PBS cooking show is now in its seventh season. With its culinary-nerd chic, ATK has spawned another magazine, a Web site stocked with video cooking clips, and now a fat pair of kitchen companions: The Cook’s Country Cookbook and The America’s Test Kitchen Baking Book (both from Boston Common Press, $34.95). You can of course watch free mini-segments online (potatoes Lyonnaise, anyone?), but for the real deal, you’ll want a hard copy to lie on your counter. (Did anyone ever take notes when Julia Child was on the air? I think not.) There’s something sacred, and charmingly retro, about a big heavy cookbook that you bring into the kitchen. It’s an old-school bible that seems to beg for a buttery-fingerprint anointment and consecration by flour. Both books have the look and heft of serious tomes, offering new takes on classic dishes with well-tested instructions. The CCC possesses an uncluttered design reminiscent of The Joy of Cooking, while the ATK Baking Book harks back to Betty Crocker’s gingham-clad three-ring binder. These are coffee-table books, too—food porn for those who like to look. Seattle Central Library, 1000 Fourth Ave., 386-4636, www.spl.org. Free. 7 p.m. (Also: Third Place Books, 17171 Bothell Way N.E., 366-3333, www.thirdplacebooks.com. Free. 7 p.m. Wed., Oct. 15.) ADRIANA GRANT

Oct. 14-15, 2008

 
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