Recipe repetition, repetition reveals the truth

This week I had the pleasure of working with Adam R. on equipment testing. If you watch the show, you’ve seen Adam presenting five or so models of various kitchen equipment to CPK — everything from boning knives to electric egg cookers. For this particular equipment test (which I think will air during the 2011 season of Cook’s Country) I made the same recipe, 9 times.

At first, the task seemed daunting, but after the second recipe trial, I was hooked — the differences between the first and second recipe were astounding, and no two recipes came out exactly alike because of the equipment. To be sure it was the equipment and not user error, ingredients were weighed, ovens and stoves calibrated and carefully monitored. I can’t reveal what we were testing, but I can tell you that I never noticed how kitchen equipment size, shape and materials matter. As a professional chef, you may instinctively compensate for these fluctuations as you cook, but to a home cook, those subtle differences can set them up for success, or failure.

Later that day, after all of the recipes had been cooked and compared, the down and dirty scientific geek speak began. Numbers were being crunched, angles were being calculated, and each of the manufacturers of the equipment we tested were about to receive phone calls from the Test Kitchen to find out what made each product tick (or fail).

It was a fascinating day, and very soon, the weeks of testing and scientific research that went on before I entered the equation, plus the results from my day of testing, will be condensed into a 3 minute segment so that the folks at home won’t ever have to make a recipe 9 times before they get it right.

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