Courtesy: PBS/Public Media Distribution
Chris Kimball, former host of PBS’ hit cooking series Cook’s Country and America’s Test Kitchen has had quite the journey since 2015. From leaving both series to facing a lawsuit from the heads of one of the series to even facing controversy over the very name of his new show, Kimball has had a lot on his proverbial plate, no pun intended. Even through it all, he apparently managed to weather the storm and return to television late in 2017 with his new series Milk Street. Now thanks to Public Media Distribution and PBS, audiences can own the first season of this new series for themselves on DVD. Released on 2-DVD box set January 30, this 13-episode debut season presents Milk Street as an interesting new effort from Kimball and everyone else behind the show. That is due in part to the show’s presentation. It will be discussed shortly. One thing that detracts from the series’ debut season is the lack of printable recipes, but is luckily for its sake, the only negative to this presentation. The dishes that are presented round out the program’s most important elements. Each element is important in its own way to the season’s overall presentation, as will be pointed out in the coming discussion. All things considered, they make the debut season of Milk Street a good start for this new venture from Kimball and company.
The debut season of Christopher Kimball’s new cooking series Milk Street proves over the course of its thirteen episode run to be a good start for the show. That is evidenced in part to the series’ very presentation. Audiences familiar with Cook’s Country and America’s Test Kitchen, the series that Kimball formerly fronted, will note that the series, in its presentation, takes the best elements of those series and mixes them with some new elements while also eliminating other elements for a whole new, interesting format. In regards to the best elements is the fact that Kimball once again serves only in a host role in this series, which is how the prior series were presented. The cooks were the real stars, and that is the case again here. Speaking of those cooks, Kimball has a new crop of cooks this time out, giving those new faces their own chance at making names for themselves. Also of note are the product and taste test segments. Unlike the segments in Kimball’s previous series, he handles those segments himself here. Instead of focusing on a number of products and comparing them — which is what those segments did (and that is not to talk garbage about them, either) — Kimball takes his time to focus on one item and one item only, making the most of the time for each segment. Love the approach or hate it, it is an interesting new approach. Also new to this series is the fact that instead of just talking about dishes before the segments, Kimball actually introduces the dishes with actual in-kitchen segments in other parts of the world. It’s as if Kimball and company merged elements of A Chef’s Life and Bizarre Foods With Andrew Zimmern just without the really disgusting looking foods presented in the latter series to create this segment. It’s an interesting new take on a familiar approach. Even the studio segments have a whole new take with Kimball and company letting viewers know they are working in front of a studio audience. That was something, on the previous series, that was only made obvious during the taste test segments, so it is another interesting new approach taken here to break down that wall right off the bat. Considering the mix of the old and new presented here, it becomes obvious that Milk Street‘s presentation will appeal to longtime fans of Kimball’s previous series and his new venture. Keeping that in mind, it proves in whole why the general presentation is so important to this first outing for Milk Street. For all the good that the series’ presentation presents, its home release is not without at least one negative. That negative is the seeming lack of printable recipes.
In going through all 13 episodes of Milk Street‘s first season, it appears that none of the dishes presented are complimented with printable recipes. Instead, audiences who want to get the recipes for themselves have to go online to get them. This might not seem overly important on the surface, but when examined on a deeper level, it becomes clear why this is in fact very important to note. In seemingly placing the recipes online only, odds are they will only be available for a certain amount of time. That is because after a while they will have to be purged to make way for other recipes. This in turn creates a certain sense of urgency, and maybe not everyone who watches a series such as this even has access to the web. That makes having the recipes available to print from disc that much more important. It allows audiences to choose and print recipes on their own time. Keeping this in mind, seemingly not having the recipes available on disc does in fact prove pivotal to the presentation of Milk Street’s first season on DVD. It goes without saying that it definitely detracts from the season’s presentation on disc. Hopefully when and if a second season is produced and released, this will be amended, being the only major negative, but still a key negative. As much as it takes away from the season’s presentation, it is not enough to make it a fail. As a matter of fact, speaking of the recipes, the dishes that are featured this season are very similar to those presented in Cook’s Country and ATK. This familiarity rounds out the most important of the season’s elements.
The dishes that are presented throughout the course of Milk Street‘s first season are critical to its presentation because they are so easy to make by and large. This is something else that Kimball has brought over to this venture from his previous series. At the same time, they’re not just average, pedestrian dishes, either. From Fluffy Olive Oil Scrambled Eggs to Lemon-Buttermilk Poundcake to Georgian Chicken Soup (the country Georgia, not the state) to Shrimp in Chipotle Sauce and beyond, the dishes are easily made any night of the week as long as the ingredients can be found. By and large, they can be found with relative ease, too, considering the variety of grocery stores that are out there nowadays. What’s more, the dishes come from so many different nations. There are dishes from Mexico, the United States, Japan, Spain, The Middle East (Israeli Hummus in that case), Thailand, and again Georgia among so many other countries. In other words, this series presents audiences with dishes that they otherwise might not have ever tasted or tried to cook without making them inaccessible or too hard for the everyday cook. That is something that has continued to make ATK and CK hits with their fans, and is certain to resonate with fans who have come along for the ride in this series. Keeping that in mind, it becomes clear why this element is just as important to the presentation of Milk Street: Season 1 as its very presentation and even the issue with the seeming lack of printable recipes. Each element, as has been pointed out, plays its own important part to this series’ debut season. All things considered, this series debut season will not leave too much of a bad taste in viewers’ mouths. It is available now and can be ordered direct via PBS’ online store. More information on Milk Street is available online now along with all of the series’ latest news and more at:
To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.