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Become a Tester for America's Test Kitchen
Thursday, January 25, 2007 | posted by Mike

Chris KimballWell, to be more precise, you can become a tester for Cooks Illustrated, the people behind America's Test Kitchen.

TV Food Fan reader Elaine from New Jersey wrote in to point us to a neat feature on the Cooks Illustrated website where you can sign up to become part of their army of testers. The program is called "Friends of Cook's" and it gives members an opportunity to try out new recipes and give feedback on what worked and what didn't, which helps the folks at the magazine get closer to that "perfect" recipe for which they always strive.

Before any recipe is published, we send it out to Friends of Cook's, who test it at home and answer a simple online questionnaire. Our "Friends" are not paid--they buy their own ingredients and cook the food on their own time--but they get to sample our recipes before they're published in the magazine and they help us make sure our recipes really do work.

This is not a marketing gimmick or promotional message. We really do want to know how our recipes fare in your home with your cookware, your oven, and ingredients from your local market. All we ask is that you tell us what you really think of our recipes. If you would like to become a Friend of Cook's, e-mail us at friendofcooks@bcpress.com.

I haven't signed up for it yet, but I'll probably give it a shot since it seems to be a fairly low-pressure club and I can always use an idea for what to make for dinner.

From the magazine's (and show's) standpoint, this is a great idea. Everyone is always talking about the "wisdom of crowds" and the value of repeated testing with a number of variables, so you would think they'll be able to come up with a recipe that works best in the widest variety of home kitchens.

No word on whether Chris Kimball will show up at your house to tell you your Chicken Pot Pie stinks, though.



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