Where to start with one of the best days of my cooking years! And, I must begin this story with an apology – I should have taken a photographer and a note taker with me because I was like a kid visiting a candy store for the first time. For 90% of you reading this, you’ll probably agree with me that a job in the test kitchen, we would all kill for. If I were 20 years younger, believe me, I’d have my job application in and move to Des Moines in a minute! Because of my awe of all I saw and those I met, I did not make note of names, titles, all the information I should share with you to give them proper credit.
Meeting Brian VanHeuverswyn, who has been my mentor and guide leading me through the past few years of being a moderator for our forum was one of the highlights of the day. He is such an outgoing, engaging, humorous man who ‘blocked out his afternoon’ to show us anything and everything. John Kirkpatrick, test kitchen manager, joined us on our tour and between the two, Roy & I know more about magazine publication than I would have ever thought possible. What a fascinating world John and Brian led us through. (my C@H guru, Brian, is on the left in the picture)
We arrived early and as we were waiting and looking around, a beautiful old building caught our eye – it’s an old carriage house which C@H bought years ago and where the gardens are located. We declined to tour the gardens because the mosquitoes were out in full force and they would have had a feast on me. But, I did manage to get some pictures. The building in front of the carriage house is the accounting, etc. side of publishing.
Then on to my favorite part of the visit – the test kitchen and the talented cooks who ‘play’ all day with food and get paid for it! Kim answered all my questions about how things are set up in their area – everyone has their own ‘kitchen’ to work their magic on recipes for each issue. And, they come together to test them.
Kim in her ‘kitchen’ cooking bacon – everyone does their own dishes; they don’t have the ‘dish dog’ I have when I’m testing recipes.
One of the recipes they are working on for November’s issue is a Chocolate Peppermint cake, which was waiting to be tested/tasted. We were invited to test with them and the cake was a winner – moist and chocolatey. The garnish of candy shards made the cake look so festive (the method will be part of the recipe).
Later in the tour we would see the pages on the story board for this cake and the progression of the recipe to what it will look like for publication. See the candy shards on top of the cake? They will not be in the initial picture, but will be added as an alternative garnish for adventurous bakers.
Other areas we walked through – picture taking of the turkey for November’s issue – and what a treat this one will be. They are giving us a new method using a dry brine for the turkey and the stylist is ‘dressing’ the bird for its ShowTime.
Another hint about November’s issue – the cranberry recipe; it is combined with goodies that I think we will all want to try – and, not an orange in sight, thank God. Sorry to those who like the combination, but I run from it. Also, looking forward to the new take on Brussels sprouts. We are in for a treat.
We finally had to leave the food area and check out one more facility – the wood working area. While most of us are fans of the cooking magazine, August Home Publishing offers others – Woodsmith, ShopNotes, Garden Gate, and Workbench magazines, and the Woodsmith Collection of woodworking plan books.
As I knew would happen, it was difficult to get Roy to leave the woodworking areas – believe me, the equipment they have to work and play with could make a grown wood worker cry with envy.
Sadly, we had to let Brian, John and everyone get back to ‘work’ and we headed off to have a glass of wine and bask in the joy of our journey around the magazine world. I could not have asked for an afternoon better spent!! Wow!
Thank you Brian for putting this together for us and again, I apologize for not taking better notes and pictures instead of being an awe-struck fan.
Of course, along with that glass of wine, we had to try the local fare at John & Nick’s Steakhouse – perfectly cooked rib eye and Key Lime pie for dessert. Now, back to the drawing board for me to decide what to do with the leftover steak.
And now, on to Kansa City Missouri and RIBS!!!!!!!