Today we catch up with a familiar face—longtime America's Test Kitchen cast member (he's been on the show since day one!), Cook's Illustrated contributor, and equipment reviewer extraordinaire Adam Ried. I talk to him about his first, accidental foray into equipment testing (with a saucepan that didn't stand a chance), the beauty of a well-designed paper towel holder, and how much he loves being a part of America's Test Kitchen.
What got you interested in the food world?
What got me interested in the food world? Have you seen my pot belly? I love to eat! I’ve gravitated toward cooking magazines and cookbooks for as long as I can remember.
What I don’t remember is what I cooked first. I do recall being really young, probably 5 or 6, and deciding to make chocolate-mint sauce by melting peppermint hard candies and chocolate kisses together. I used a good Le Creuset saucepan—not that I knew it was a good pan at the time, it was just the one I grabbed—which I can still picture in my mind: yellow enamel with a wooden handle. I piled all the candy into the pan, turned the burner on to high, and then went outside to play. Suffice it to say that that pan was never the same again.
How did you get your start in testing equipment?
My start in equipment testing was more by circumstance than design. Not long after I started at Cook’s Illustrated, a freelancer who was supposed to test roasting racks bowed out in the eleventh hour. I said I’d like to give it a shot, and the editors were desperate enough to allow it. Apparently it went well, because from that point forward I kept on testing.