Another week, another crop of videos, another opportunity for Andy Baraghani to talk shit about the kinds of food most of us are eating on a semi-regular basis!
It seems that last week we might have gotten the last of the videos filmed in BA Test Kitchen proper, as everything that came to us this week was a dispatch from home, but at least this week they weren’t trying to guess what shows everyone was watching.
Instead, they took a page out of Sandra Lee’s book and tried to teach us what most of us learned at some point while we were high in college or otherwise desperate to impress someone we were dating in our early twenties, and that is that you can make magic with a box of mac and cheese.
As always, Sandra Lee and stoner college kids were ahead of their time!
“From the Home Kitchen”—Sohla makes lamb & scallion dumplings: 5/5 Would Bon
Within the first few seconds of this video, Sohla gave us both the title of this week’s recap, and also a new life philosophy we should all live by, “Anything can be your dump.” It’s a sentiment I find deeply touching, and also one that is incredibly true.
Dumplings are a magic food, and, as Sohla said, they can be made of pretty much anything. The ones she makes are lamb and scallion, which were supposed to be pork and scallion, but she didn’t have pork and did have lamb so, here we are. It’s both a testament to the versatility of the food and also to the fact that right now, we’re all probably just cooking what we’ve got which is exactly what we should be doing.
Sohla also says in the video that we can use store-bought wrappers if we don’t want to make the dough, and I’ve gotta say I’m loving the fact that BA is really just diving head-first into the semi-homemade vibes this week. While I’m probably going to continue to order dumps (I’m sorry but this is an abbreviation I can really get behind) from the place in my neighborhood that is still open, it’s nice to have this as an idea in my back pocket. Although, the little skirt she makes for her dumps might just push my curiosity over the edge.
“Test Kitchen Talks @ Home”—Pro chefs make 9 kinds of pantry sandwiches: 4/5 Would Bon
As I’ve said before, sandwiches are the greatest food of all time, and as such, sandwich content is good content. I definitely don’t think there’s anything particularly new or exciting happening here, and I would certainly hesitate to call a sandwich with capers, celery, and greek yogurt in it a “pantry sandwich” for the average person, but regardless, it made me make a pantry sandwich of my own while watching it so, mission accomplished.
Also, watching Claire make a tuna melt on matzo made me feel right at home because I absolutely over-bought during Passover and have been using it as the base for various iterations of egg salad for the last couple weeks. Speaking of which, not to dog Molly here but I really just can’t take calling an egg salad sandwich an “egg sally sando.” As a lover of abbreviations myself, you’ve gotta draw a line somewhere (although kudos to her for featuring the infamous jammy egg).
“From the Home Kitchen”—Molly and Adam make chicken parmesan: 4/5 Would Bon
I assumed it wouldn’t be too long before we got a dispatch from Adam Rapoport, and although it took longer than expected, here we are. As a surprise to no one, he is cooking with Molly, as per usual.
Molly attempts to start the video with a deep, calming breath, which it appears Adam can’t exhale through quickly enough before diving into chicken parmesan. His particular brand of chaotic energy is really something special.
Although I’ll always be partial to the episode of Back-to-Back Chef where Carla makes chicken parmesan, watching this version where Molly teaches Rapoport to make it is fairly entertaining too. I can honestly never tell if he actually doesn’t know what he’s doing while he’s cooking, or if he’s just playing dumb for the purpose of having a reason for Molly to explain the steps. Either way, it looks like the editor-in-chief of Bon Appétit didn’t know how to butterfly a chicken breast before this video was filmed. Seems weird, but okay!
“The BA Test Kitchen Variety Show”—A Live Benefit for World Central Kitchen: 5/5 Would Bon
I’m going to be honest here, I didn’t watch the entire variety show, but that’s only because I was working. One of the parts I did catch was when fans of “It’s Alive” recreated the theme song in their own style and I’m not going to lie to you, I teared up a little bit. I don’t know, I think I was just in a particularly vulnerable place, but I thought it was really beautiful !I also saw Chris un-tape a banana from his microwave and split it between his two kids after BA raised $100,000 for World Central Kitchen, which, as Chris might say, is pretty stinkin’ cool.
In total, it looks like they raised $189,916 in donations, which really is something to celebrate, and is emblematic of the kind of community this team has built. Did anyone watch the entire thing? What were the standout moments?
“Test Kitchen Talks @ Home”—Pro chefs improve boxed macaroni & cheese: 3/5 Would Bon
At least I can say no one in this video referred to anything as “adult mac and cheese,” and for that, I am extremely grateful. There are also a fair amount of hits and misses here, not to mention the fact that, as I’ve mentioned, Sandra Lee already beat them to it (she quite literally did this exact thing earlier in the week).
As much as I love Sohla, there’s not a chance in hell that I’m making the mac and cheese pancakes she came up with, although she definitely gets points for creativity. Certainly, it gave me more than Carla, who really just made popcorn and then sprinkled the cheese mixture over top of it (although I will admit I’m probably going to do this at some point).
Claire, as always, was the voice of reason and said out loud what we all know to be true, which is that there’s nothing wrong with boxed mac and cheese to begin with. Sure, it’s nice to zhuzh up a box of mac and cheese, but also just following the directions on the box works well too. Shoutout to Priya for using Annie’s, arguably the best brand of boxed mac and cheese. And one giant eye-roll for Andy Baraghani, who turns his nose up at the powdered cheese mix, continuing to attempt to assert his weird food elitism as charming when it actuality it just comes across as kind of rude.