Christopher Kimball talks recipes and more

Milk Street Kitchen cookbookLast month, Christopher Kimball released his first cookbook post America's Test Kitchen titled Christopher Kimball's Milk Street Kitchen. We've reported before on his acrimonious split with ATK, where litigation is still pending on breach of contract claims. Kimball recently gave an interview to a somewhat unlikely publication, The Washington Free Beacon, known more for its political writing than its food reporting. In the article, Kimball discusses how Milk Street is different from ATK, and he also voices strong opinions on everything from Thanksgiving turkey to recipes

Kimball was quick to point out that unlike ATK, Milk Street doesn't do equipment reviews, nor does it do a science segment per se. He also discusses his new philosophy of cooking, where flavors rank much higher than technique. It's almost a 180-degree turn from the ATK method of rigorous testing of recipes, including dozens of ways to roast a chicken. 

Speaking of which, after nearly 40 years of revisiting the same concepts over and over, you can tell that Kimball is tired of the repetition and wants to do something different. "I have spent almost four decades dealing with roast birds," he says. "High heat or low? Flip it once or twice? Salt breast overnight in the fridge? To brine or not to brine? Stuff or not stuff? Spatchcock or whole? At some point, you just have to move on."

Kimball is now more interested in what kinds of rubs or glazes you can put on the bird, incorporating spices from across the globe in pursuit of bolder flavors. "The world thinks differently about cooking," Kimball writes in his cookbook. "While so much of northern European cuisine relies on heat and time to build flavor-long simmers and roasts fueled by fire-elsewhere, flavors are built by layering bold, simple ingredients. The Ottoman Empire had access to 88 spices." 

When it comes to recipes, Kimball provided an outlook that might seem shocking from someone who spent the better part of a lifetime focusing on creating the perfect recipe. "People mistake a recipe for cooking," he says. "Cooking is performance art-it's what one does with a recipe that matters."

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