Inside America’s Test Kitchen
It’s crunch time. Midterm, essay, thesis due… and then a week of pure celebration also known as spring break. I’m not sure if it was thoughtful or actually unsympathetic that teachers and the Government department planned these due dates as such but I’ll go with the former.
Basically that means from this moment on out, for the next week I’ll be cuddled up in my bedroom and Lamont library with the continuously glowing computer light to keep me company. Yet, it’s not as bad as it sound. The myriad of other students all doing the same around me brings forth a sense of camaraderie with everyone else thinking the same, “two days until my thesis is done forever”, “six days until spring break”, and the like.
As a last minute push to procrastinate against the inevitable slew of work however, I journeyed earlier today with the Food Literacy Project to America’s Test Kitchen (ATK) (located in Brookline in Boston, MA). Our group and the FLP coordinator Louisa took an afternoon train to the location where ATK (the PBS cooking show) is filmed as well as the headquarters for the magazine Cook’s Illustrated and show Cook’s Country.
The Test Chef’s in action!
While I wasn’t able to grab a shot of him, we got a glimpse of ATK host Chris Kimball as we tour the location, meet and did a Q & A with some of the test chefs, and did a tasting of our own. While our tasting consisted of three varieties of dark chocolate, ATK often has to do full tastings and then recommendations of less pleasant food items on their own, such as red wine vinegar or fish sauce.
The whole atmosphere was ripe with enthusiasm and foodie passion, and there were delicious smells wafting from every corner. We were even able to raid their library and take home a few select cookbooks and magazines, which I’m looking forward to trying out soon.
Test #??: Wedge Salad
Indeed, it seems this whole week has been quite the foodie experience. Last night I helped film and do the sound recording for a community dinner hosted by FLP in Currier House featuring Tamar Adler and Professor Richard Wrangham, a discussion on the future of cooking. I took a freshman seminar with Professor Wrangham on human evolution and war, but it was great to have a discussion together and with other students on evolution and foodways (he wrote the book, Catching Fire). For any potential Harvard freshman, I truly recommend taking a freshman seminar if one of them piques your interest—it was a great experience to have such an intimate seminar with such a great professor as a freshman.
In any case, this was a great first event in a series we are starting of community dinners through FLP (“Harvard Talks Food”) to connect professors, academics, and other experts in the food industry with Harvard students as a way to build dialogue and food education. And then prior to that, I was running about a pound or so of guacamole through campus on the way to the Culinary Society’s Annual Guac’ Off (guacamole making contest)! This event is always a hit with students, but who doesn’t love guacamole, prizes, or food competitions? Local burrito restaurant Qdoba and Boloco provided delicious guac’ and queso cheese for those watching the competition.
All-in-all the whirlwind of a week was not much of a calm before the storm—it fact, it was quite the storm itself (the snow just continued to pile down as I attempt to ride by bike around campus yesterday). Yet the fun and education experienced made up for it.
Hope you have a good weekend and check-in after the “storm”!
Tags: America's Test Kitchen, Cook's Illustrated, Food Literacy Project, freshmen, midterm, seminar, Spring Break, thesis