In Cook’s Country, the familiar faces from America's Test Kitchen bring their same no-nonsense approach to cooking as they reconstruct time-honored regional fare — from potluck dinners and holiday favorites to simple suppers and lost recipes.
Filmed in a renovated 1806 farmhouse, Cook’s Country relies on the same practical, no-nonsense food approach behind the successful Cook's Illustrated magazine and America's Test Kitchen public television series.
Test kitchen chefs Bridget Lancaster and Julia Collin Davison provide foolproof recipes and cooking techniques developed through rigorous investigation and careful testing. They uncover blue-ribbon regional specialties from across the country – such as shrimp and grits, Brunswick stew, and Tennessee pulled pork sandwiches – and tackle classic American fare in need of a makeover.
The testers and tasters at Cook’s Country turn a frugal eye toward the most reliable and cost-effective cookware, kitchen tools and supermarket foods. Jack Bishop tests and ranks supermarket staples in front of a live studio audience before revealing the test kitchen’s top recommendations. Resident equipment expert Adam Ried introduces unbiased equipment recommendations for the home cook — from cookie sheets to stand-mixers and other household items.
Each episode also includes practical test kitchen tips and techniques and educational "Food History" segments about the origins of certain regional recipes.
Bridget Lancaster is the executive food editor for TV and radio of Cook’s Country magazine, currently responsible for all recipe testing and development in Cook’s Country and an on-screen test cook for America’s Test Kitchen and Cook’s Country from America’s Test Kitchen.
Jack Bishop is the editorial director of America’s Test Kitchen. He is the tasting lab expert on America’s Test Kitchen, the top-rated public television cooking show, and Cook’s Country from America’s Test Kitchen, which debuted in September 2008.
Julia Collin Davison is a senior editor for the books division of America’s Test Kitchen and is an on-screen test cook for America’s Test Kitchen. She is also a cast member of the Cook’s Country TV show.
Episode #102 · Test Kitchen Tips and Techniques: Christopher Kimball takes the mystery out of buying beef roasts and recommends the best cooking application for each cut. Sunday Best Garlic Roast Beef: Bridget Lancaster makes garlic roast beef, a classic Sunday dinner, with an inexpensive roast rather than a traditional (and more costly) prime cut. Mashed Potato Casserole: Julia Collin-Davison combats bland, gluey and dense potatoes with the test kitchen's secrets to achieving a fluffy and creamy mashed potato casserole without sacrificing convenience. Equipment Testing: Adam Ried tests regular and environmentally friendly liquid dish soaps and discovers that some of these household staples are "cleaner" than others.
Feeding A Crowd, Italian-Style
Episode #103 · Meatballs and Marinara: Bridget Lancaster uses nontraditional methods to make tender and moist meatballs then serves them with a rich, yet easy-to-make, marinara. Sunday Gravy: Julia Collin-Davison streamlines the process of making Italian gravy (a hearty, slow-simmered tomato sauce cooked with everything from meatballs to pork chops) without sacrificing taste or texture by using a slow cooker. Equipment Testing: Adam Ried pits eight inexpensive pans against the test kitchen's favorite top-of-the-line saucepan. Can the $20 pan outperform the $200 one? Tasting: Christopher Kimball taste-tests jarred spaghetti sauces in front of a live audience while Jack Bishop reveals tasters' likes and dislikes.
Southern Regional Recipes
Episode #104 · Lexington-Style Pulled Pork: Bridget Lancaster simplifies the classic recipe for authentic Lexington-style pulled pork by combining grilling and oven-roasting. Memphis Coleslaw: Julia Collin-Davison employs a sweet mustard dressing and a splash of vinegar when making Memphis chopped coleslaw, a barbecue joint staple. Equipment: Adam Ried tests seven indoor grills priced under $80 and reveals which models meet test-kitchen standards. Tasting: Jack Bishop asks Christopher Kimball to sample boiled hot dogs in front of a live audience to determine which has the best "snap" and meaty flavor.
Episode #105 · Old-Fashioned Pork Roast: Bridget Lancaster teaches Christopher Kimball the test kitchen tricks to cooking a moist, flavorful and affordable pork roast. Cranberry Apple Crisp: Julia Collin-Davison shares the test kitchen secrets to achieving the right balance of flavors and discovers how to avoid a soggy crisp. Equipment: Only the test kitchen would measure the output efficiency - the amount of pepper yielded per twist - of pepper mills. Adam Ried explains to Christopher Kimball the hallmarks of a good pepper mill.
Episode #106 · Extra-Crunchy Fried Chicken: Bridget Lancaster proves to Christopher Kimball it is possible to make extra-crunchy, yet juicy, fried chicken at home. All-American Potato Salad: Julia Collin-Davison shares secrets to turning a usually mushy and bland barbecue staple into a flavorful potato salad. 60-Second Cooking Class: Test kitchen director Erin McMurrer demonstrates the perfect way to hard-cook eggs. Tasting: Christopher Kimball taste-tests potato chips in front a live audience while Jack Bishop explains why the right combination of three basic ingredients - potatoes, oil and salt - makes a difference. Test Kitchen Tips and Techniques: Christopher Kimball demonstrates how to season, maintain, recondition and clean cast-iron cookware, used in home kitchens for centuries.
Easy As Pie
Episode #107 · Pat-in-Pan Pastry and Raspberry Chiffon Pie: Throw away those rolling pins! Bridget Lancaster tops off a foolproof pat-in-the-pan pastry crust with a light, fluffy and fruity raspberry chiffon pie. Tasting: Christopher Kimball taste-tests store-bought pie crusts in front of a live audience while Jack Bishop reveals whether convenience brands stack up against a flaky, buttery homemade pie crust.
Episode #108 · Broiled Steaks: Bridget Lancaster broils steaks in the oven and reveals the secrets to creating a perfect sear without the benefit of a skillet or a grill. Super-Stuffed Baked Potatoes: Julia Collin-Davison translates a steakhouse recipe for stuffed baked potatoes for the home cook. (The trick: use one extra potato.) Equipment: Adam Ried sets out to prove the value of reasonably priced steak knives to a dubious Christopher Kimball. Find out which ones make the cut. Test Kitchen Tips and Techniques: Christopher Kimball describes the different kinds of steak cuts and provides tips on buying them.
Episode #109 · Classic Barbecued Chicken: Bridget Lancaster shows host Christopher Kimball the foolproof way to grill this notoriously challenging summer dish. Best Potluck Mac and Cheese: Julia Collin-Davison bakes a creamy, sturdy and rich casserole-style macaroni and cheese. Tasting: Jack Bishop challenges Christopher Kimball to taste-test bottled barbecue sauces in front of a live audience and reveals that the bottled varieties are as good as barbecue sauce made-from-scratch.
Episode #110 · Smoked Double-Thick Pork Chops: Bridget Lancaster solves the problems associated with grilling double-thick pork chops and shows Christopher Kimball the test kitchen's method for grilling chops with great taste, good color and maximum tenderness. Tennessee Whiskey-Glazed Pork Chops: Julia Collin-Davison reinvents this restaurant dish for the home cook by using a single skillet to maximize real whiskey flavor and avoid coating the chops with an overly sweet barbecue sauce. Equipment Testing: Adam Ried walks Christopher Kimball through the test kitchen's recommendations for the best kitchen gadgets and describes the importance of each to the serious home cook.
Episode #111 · Chicago Ribs: This slow-and-low cooking method - smoked at about 200 degrees for at least eight hours - delivers the moist, tender meat that defines Chicago ribs. Intrepid Bridget Lancaster figures out how to replicate the same method at home in half the time. Cincinnati Chili: Julia Collin-Davison streamlines this regional concoction of chili served over spaghetti and often topped with beans, onion, oyster crackers, cheddar cheese and even hot dogs. Tasting: Jack Bishop asks Christopher Kimball to taste-test cheddar cheese in front of a live audience to find out if supermarket brands can compete with the pricier farmhouse brands, particularly those from his home state of Vermont.
Episode #112 · California Barbecued Tri-Tip, Barbecued Beans, and Santa Maria Salsa: Bridget Lancaster shows Christopher Kimball how the test kitchen translated the regional recipe for California Barbecued Tri-Tip (a large tri-tip cut of beef seasoned with only salt, pepper and garlic) to work on any grill and serves it up with barbecued beans and an authentic Santa Maria salsa. Tasting: Jack Bishop prompts Christopher Kimball to taste supermarket salsas, jarred and fresh, in front of a live audience to determine if store-bought brands can compete with homemade salsa. General Ideas: Christopher Kimball presents the test kitchen's top recommendations for essential grilling gadgets and gear and demonstrates the benefits of each.
Episode #113 · Diner-Style Omelets: Bridget Lancaster uncovers the secrets to making impossibly tall, fluffy and satisfying omelets at home and loads them with cheese, sausage, and peppers. Home Fries: Julia Collin-Davison discovers a way to replicate the crusty, deeply browned home fries found in diners. (The secret: choose the right kind of potato.) Equipment: The test kitchen investigates alternatives to nonstick skillets and Adam Ried demonstrates to Christopher Kimball the pros and cons of cast-iron and carbon steel pans. Tasting: Christopher Kimball tastes orange juice in front of a live audience while Jack Bishop reveals whether super-premium orange juice is worth the super-premium price.
Old-Fashioned Roast Beef Dinner
Episode #201 · Hosts Christopher Kimball and Bridget Lancaster prepare a classic American meal. First, Kimball reveals the test kitchen's top cut for a roast. Then, Bridget makes a juicy roast beef and tops it off with rich and meaty gravy. Next, equipment expert Adam Ried challenges Kimball to a plastic wrap "tug-of-war" to find out which brand is best. And finally, Lancaster uncovers the secrets to baking perfect popovers at home.
Episode #202 · Bridget Lancaster uncovers the test kitchen's secrets to a perfect lemon meringue pie with a firm, sky-high topping. Then, equipment expert Adam Ried reviews inexpensive stand mixers and reveals the best bargain for the home cook. Finally, Erin McMurrer shows host Christopher Kimball how to make easy icebox Key lime pie with perfect texture and real lime flavor.
Rise and Shine
Episode #203 · Bridget Lancaster bakes tender, gooey and unapologetically large cinnamon buns. Jack Bishop challenges host Christopher Kimball to a tasting of maple and pancake syrups in front of a live audience. Erin McMurrer uncovers the secrets to a better-than-the-box pancake mix, which delivers homemade flavor with store-bought convenience. Finally, equipment expert Adam Ried reviews stovetop griddles to reveal the best model for the home cook.
Episode #204 · Bridget Lancaster takes on a Seattle favorite home and uncovers the test kitchen's method for making smoky wood-grilled salmon without a cedar plank. Then, tasting expert Jack Bishop challenges host Christopher Kimball to a tartar sauce taste-test in front of a live audience. Erin McMurrer shows host Christopher Kimball how to solve the problem of baked stuffed shrimp. And finally, equipment expert Adam Ried reveals how to buy the best kitchen essentials at bargain prices.
Super Fudgy Cake
Episode #205 · Bridget Lancaster updates a Pillsbury Bake-Off classic and reveals how the test kitchen developed their recipe for Tunnel of Fudge cake. Then, tasting expert Jack Bishop asks host Christopher Kimball to taste boxed brownie mixes to find out if any brands pass muster. And finally, Kimball reveals the top test kitchen tips about using an oven for baking.
Chili and Cornbread
Episode #206 · Bridget Lancaster adapts a Texas favorite and shows host Christopher Kimball how to make authentic-tasting chili con carne at home. Then, Lancaster teaches Kimball how to make Southern-style skillet cornbread with hearty corn flavor. Finally, equipment expert Adam Ried tests safety can openers and reveals the winner.
Episode #207H · Bridget Lancaster introduces an Alabama specialty, showing host Christopher Kimball how to make Big Bob's famous Alabama BBQ chicken, with a side of tangy apple-cabbage slaw. Tasting expert Jack Bishop challenges Kimball to an iced-tea tasting in front of a live audience to find out if specialty brands really make a better brew.
Episode #207 · Bridget Lancaster introduces an Alabama specialty, showing host Christopher Kimball how to make Big Bob's famous Alabama BBQ chicken, with a side of tangy apple-cabbage slaw. Tasting expert Jack Bishop challenges Kimball to an iced-tea tasting in front of a live audience to find out if specialty brands really make a better brew.
Episode #208 · Bridget Lancaster makes an old-fashioned roast turkey with gravy and revisits a classic technique called larding, wrapping turkey meat with fat so that it slowly releases flavor and moisture throughout roasting. Then, Lancaster shows host Christopher Kimball the test kitchen secrets to quick and easy garlic mashed potatoes with super roasted garlic flavor. Tasting expert Jack Bishop asks Kimball to sample frozen dinner rolls to find out if any convenience products can compete with a homemade recipe. Finally, Kimball demonstrates tips and techniques for sharpening knives.
Episode #209 · Host Christopher Kimball demonstrates the safe and proper way to fry at home and Bridget Lancaster shares the test kitchen technique for making crisp and spicy Creole fried chicken. Tasting expert Jack Bishop challenges Kimball to a tasting of microwave popcorn, and equipment expert Adam Ried reveals the test kitchen's top choice for an affordable Dutch oven. Finally, Bridget shows Kimball the foolproof recipe for grilled corn on the cob.
Texas Beef Barbecue
Episode #210 · Bridget Lancaster shows host Christopher Kimball how to make a Texas favorite - shredded barbecued beef paired with ranch potato salad with a homemade dressing. Then, tasting expert Jack Bishop puts Kimball to work tasting store-bought whole wheat bread in front of a live audience to find out if commercial brands make the grade.
Episode #211 · Bridget Lancaster solves the problem of mealy peaches and shows host Christopher Kimball how to make juicy skillet peach cobbler with crisp cobbles. Then, Erin McMurrer updates an old-fashioned recipe for blueberry grunt using a Dutch oven. Tasting expert Jack Bishop asks Kimball to taste substitutes for fresh lemon juice to find out if any brands stand up to the real thing. Finally, equipment expert Adam Ried reviews inexpensive ice cream makers.
Episode #212 · Bridget Lancaster shows host Christopher Kimball how to make grilled mustard-glazed pork loin with a deeply caramelized crust. Kimball reviews the test kitchen's top tips for gas grilling. Then, tasting expert Jack Bishop challenges Christopher to sample coarse-grain mustard. Finally, Erin McMurrer reveals the secrets to cider-braised pork chops in a skillet with a triple dose of apple flavor.
Episode #213 · Bridget Lancaster bakes a bright and tender red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting. Then, host Christopher Kimball reveals the keys to knowing when a cake is done. Erin McMurrer updates a 100-year-old recipe for cold-oven pound cake, and equipment expert Adam Ried reviews loaf pans to determine which pan yields the best loaf.
Two Perfect Pies
Episode #301 · Bridget lancaster updates a classic recipe for shaker lemon Pie. then, Julia collin Davison shows host Christopher kimball how to make icebox strawberry Pie with real strawberries. next, equipment expert adam ried reviews pie plates, and finally, tasting expert Jack Bishop challenges Chris to a tasting of strawberry yogurt.
Episode #302 · Bridget lancaster shows host Christopher Kimball the secrets to the perfectly Glazed Meatloaf and crunchy Potato Wedges. then, equipment expert Adam Reid reviews dish towels, and finally, Chris shares the test kitchen's top tips for avoiding common cooking mistakes.
Old Fashioned Pork
Episode #303 · Bridget Lancaster shows host Christopher Kimball how to make crispy Pan-Fried Pork chops. next, equipment expert Adam Reid is reviewing vacuum sealers. and finally, Julia Collin Davison uncovers the secrets to perfect Pork Pot roast using a slow cooker.
Southern Comfort Food
Episode #304 · Bridget Lancaster shows host Christopher Kimball how to make a southern original, Batter-Fried chicken. next, tasting expert Jack Bishop challenges Chris to a tasting of bottled iced tea. and finally, Julia Collin Davison uncovers the secrets to perfectly baked sweet corn spoonbread.