Well, it looks like we finally have the answer to how the Bon Appétit Test Kitchen team plans to handle the current situation and the answer is, just like the rest of us! Last week we had Trixie Mattel, which felt like an absolute dream, whereas this week we had Zoom meetings and burnt pizzas on the menu. Definitely less dream state and much more real life. Watching the Test Kitchen team WFH this week was a great reminder that, regardless of how place-bound certain jobs appear, remote work is possible, which is something all employers should be forced to remember from here on out.
Anyway, moving on. I think this now marks the fourth consecutive week that the BA team has given us a soup video, and I couldn’t be more hyped about it. Soup forever, always! Fair warning though, the soup video does come with a side of Adam Rapoport, who continues to appear only to cook in videos with Molly Baz, which is fine I guess, outside of the fact that it does sometimes feel like watching two people in a fight to prove who has the bigger personality. Spoiler alert, the answer is always going to be Molly.
We then get tricked into watching a video that seems like the Test Kitchen is going to show us how to cook from home, only to realize it’s actually just a video of them telling us they’re going to show us how to cook from home eventually. And then we watch Amiel Stanek cook a bunch of lackluster pizzas, so, it is what it is.
“From the Test Kitchen”—Molly and Adam make matzo ball soup: 4/5 Would Bon
The beginning of this video starts off with a brief lesson about Judaism, wherein Adam Rapoport informs Molly (and me) that the High Holidays refers only to Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, not Passover, as Molly initially says. Maybe not a huge deal, but considering she opens by saying that she developed the recipe for this specific holiday, it might be worth knowing what you’re talking about before diving in. But that’s just me!
I still remain unconvinced Rapoport has any credentials that merit his place at Bon Appétit, and I will argue that point by highlighting the fact that he says he’s heard, but might be wrong, that the skins of onions impart color to chicken stock. Let us not forgot that, mere weeks ago, Molly made a different broth and said this exact thing, as it’s written in the recipe! Are you reading the recipes, Adam?! Are you?!
The rest of the video is pretty much just a solid guide for making matzo ball soup, which I’m totally here for. I will say one nice thing about Adam Rapoport and that is that he has one good suggestion about frying leftover balls for breakfast the next morning, which does sound fucking incredible. So there, there is one nice thing.
Also, I do find it hilarious that both Molly and Adam shit on carrots cut into rounds as if it’s some wild throwback to a long-forgotten time as opposed to one of the like, maybe four ways you can cut a carrot to hold up in a soup. Even when it’s just a video about soup, never forget that your carrot cutting methods are dated!
“Test Kitchen Talks”—The Bon Appétit Test Kitchen is cooking at home: 3/5 Would Bon
This video is evidence of two things. One, that the people who you don’t see on camera in the Bon Appétit Test Kitchen are incredibly important components of the process and should all be just as celebrated as the people in front of the lens. And two, that cooking from home is hard and we might just see some fundamental shifts in how BA tells us we should be cooking.
Mainly, I was catfished by this video into thinking that I was actually going to see some cooking, only to realize over halfway in that I was just being told I would eventually be seeing some cooking, just not today. Personally, I’m looking forward to seeing how this all shakes out for them because, according to several members of the team, working from home has made them rethink how they should be telling all of us to cook for ourselves from home, understanding that we don’t all have a giant gorgeous Test Kitchen to work from. I’d have thought this would have been a larger consideration earlier on but, better late than never I guess!
We also learn that Claire is engaged, which maybe we already knew, but I don’t think so. Not that it matters, it just sweet to know about. Claire also admits to taking a shower and putting on fresh sweatpants to film the video, which is more than I can say I did today when I woke up to blog. Even at home, she continues to be inspirational!
All in all, it looks like it will be business as unusual for the Test Kitchen team, but we can continue to expect videos nonetheless. There might not be any more Gourmet Makes for a while, but I’m also glad for that because it might just mean we’ll actually get back to cooking on the Bon Appétit YouTube channel for a bit. Sohla might have just said it best when she said, “We’re all dealing with this pile of shit together.”
“Almost Every” —Amiel attempts every way to cook a pizza: 2/5 Would Bon
There is one bright side to this Almost Every video and it is that it looks like they have, finally, gotten rid of the chewing sounds in the narration of these godforsaken videos. For that, I will give it one point.
I’ve given this video, part of the series that is my least favorite of all Test Kitchen videos, an additional half point because it is about pizza, which I love very much, and which therefore earns it some worthiness. Finally, an additional half-point has been awarded because the first half of this video is generally pretty informative. I do love making pizzas at home and exploring these options was nice, for a while.
Then, in the second half of this video, Amiel boils, steams, Easy Bake Ovens, cones, microwaves, and dehydrates pizzas, all in service of doubling the length of this video. It’s almost like the team knew that they were getting too close to this actually being a video that only included realistic options about cooking, so they thought, what would someone never do, and then chose to do that.
Considering BA already has a multi-part series about making the perfect pizza, this is something they could have probably done without, but I am grateful to know that my decision to get a pizza stone a while back was the right one to make. I also can’t help but feel like Amiel knows these videos have jumped the shark because he regularly lets us know in the commentary. “Pizza is good, don’t mess with pizza,” he says toward the end of this video. Amiel, next time just take your own advice.