America’s Test Kitchen: Let’s Get Cooking

8.5 Overall Score

Written by on May 21, 2010 in

Trying to find the right recipe that is going to have the ingredients that not only please my taste buds but also the taste buds of others is often a problem.   I often find myself either looking through the many different cookbooks that I already have at home or scouring the internet to see if I can find the recipe that is going to be the perfect culinary fit.  America’s Test Kitchen: Let’s Get Cooking,  published by Nintendo, brings a new way to have a cookbook in my kitchen, on the Nintendo DS Lite.   It is nice to have over 300 recipes on such a small & portable device.

As I first started up America’s Test Kitchen I was greated by “The Chef” who was quick to tell me if there were any special days that were coming up.  If there are special days coming up, America’s Test Kitchen will recommend for some menu suggestions that might fit the day’s theme.  These suggestions are not thrown in your face, but you are reminded every time that you turn the game on just how many days you have until the next special day.   It can sometimes be  hard coming up with a menu on different special day so being given a sample menu is a great idea and can often spark other ideas for the festive event.  

When reviewing a cookbook, albeit in a handheld game device, one should of course cook some of the suggested recipes.  So for America’s Test Kitchen , I chose to make recipe #252 Skillet Lasagna.  When I chose this recipe, I was given the chance to see all the ingredients that I was going to need.  I was able to check mark what ingredients  I had at home already and then could take my DS with me to the store to gather the additional ingredients, checking them off the list  as I put them into my grocery cart.  This was extremely helpful as I was able to make sure that I had all of the ingredients so I wouldn’t have to make an extra trip to the store midway through the cooking process.  In addition, it is also wonderful that I can share recipes with other people who have a DS as well so they can make the run to the grocery store as well.

Using America’s Test Kitchen vocal assistance to make the recipe can be both helpful and frustrating.  As I was prepping my ingredients, “The Chef” kept hearing the knife scrapping the cutting board and would think that I was saying “Last Step” or “Continue.”  When “The Chef” could not hear me correctly he would say “huh” or “what?”  The first couple of times hearing this it was not that bothersome, however as I continued to make the recipe, this became something that was quite frustrating.   It is nice to be able to keep cooking without having to continously be cleaning my hands to move on to the next step within the recipe and to use the voice commands but to have “The Chef” repeatedly not understand that there are going to be sounds in the kitchen while I am cooking was a bone of contention for me.  In fact, this was part of the reason why I would almost always turn off the volume of America’s Test Kitchen.  I do wish that there was a way to change the sensitivity level on the microphone on the DS so that it does not pick up on these types of sounds.

The Skillet Lasagna recipe called for a portion of the ingredients to simmer together for a certain amount of time.  America’s Test Kitchen has  a timer available for me to set.   As the time was counting down, there was a little beep that would count down each minute to remind me to check in on the pan and make sure that everything was working well together.  Also when time was up, “The Chef” let me know that it was time for me to move to the next step and told me what I needed to do to get everything done.

While looking for different recipes that would fit into the different dietary lifestyles that are often spoken about in the world today, I realized that America’s Test Kitchen seems to fall a bit short.  I was able to  eliminate ingredients that I didn’t like or that someone might be allergic to.  There are very few low-fat or low-sugar recipes within America’s Test Kitchen.  I was glad to see that all the recipes did show how many calories each dish had in them per serving but did wish that it would have broken it down a bit more, especially if I am going to be cooking a dish for someone who is going to be watching what they are eating so I can let them know what to expect from the entre.

Overall,  I was very pleased with the Skillet Lasagna and the other recipes that I have tried with America’s Test Kitchen.   My husband really enjoyed the meal, and now wants to add the dish into our cooking rotation.   I have also let my neighbors try America’s Test Kitchen out and they were happy with it as well.  Our neighbors are vegetarians and they did say that they wished that there were a more options for them.   They did say that they were able to adapt some non-meat ingredients for themselves, but they weren’t options in the title.  They were also happy to see that they were able to find out what some of the produce that they did not know about looked like.  America’s Test Kitchen has realistic pictures of what each product looks like and this is very helpful for those people who may not have been introduced to many different types of products.

A copy of America’s Test Kitchen was provided to The Married Gamers for the purposes of review and evaluation.

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Author: Kelly Brown View all posts by

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