America’s Test Kitchen

Joel and Micah love the t.v. show “America’s Test Kitchen.” The host is a geeky chef who wears a dress shirt and a Tucker Carlson bow tie. They test kitchen gadgets, grocery products and recipes. It sounds awful when I describe it, but I have grown to love the show. 

One reason is that the host and co-host take a few standard recipes and perfects them, often with surprising ingredients or bizarre steps. For example, when making homemade french fries, they microwave the potatoes and dab out all the moisture and when finished they use a paper bag to soak up the grease.

The process is very scientific, but it’s also an art. On one hand, they test a hypothesis, analyze the data and report the conclusion. Indeed, many of the innovations they create are based upon the science of food. On the other hand, the process is messy and requires creativity and innovation. Rather than sticking to simple recipes, they meander through the unknown.

I wonder if the entire if the split between art and science is really a false dichotomy, an artificial chasm developed by men in tights centuries ago. It seems that most of life requires both science and art – a common marriage between the why and the how, a solid foundation followed by experimentation. For example, a musician experiments with art, but begins with a scientific pedagogy, common mechanics and a common method of reading music.

It makes me consider the teaching profession. My anger is not with the notion of accountability. Nor is it in using a scientific method. Brain research and educational theory both have a solid place in the terrestrial reality of my classroom. Yet, I also want the freedom to deviate, to experiment and to test out new ideas.

John Spencer

My goal is simple. I want to make something each day. Sometimes I make things. Sometimes I make a difference. On a good day, I get to do both.

More about John

One response

  1. I LOVE that show. I watch it every week. I watch PBS all day on Saturday. That geek is my idea of husband material. I wonder if he cleans house? I do the yard but I don’t enjoy cleaning the house or cooking.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *