Join America’s Test Kitchen FOR FREE


You can be a guest at America’s Test Kitchen, right here in the Quad Cities! The event will include demonstrations and samples of the America’s Test Kitchen shrimp scampi recipe, tours of the culinary lab, talks from a gadget expert, America’s Test Kitchen giveaways, and much more!

by Michael Carton

Twenty years ago, I was about 5 months into a three-year stint serving in the U.S. Army. I graduated high school that May and thought my time as a student was over – but I was so wrong! I wasn’t a student in the classroom, but I was still learning something new every day; for example, how to drive a fuel truck, or how to avoid static electricity build-up when fueling a helicopter. I was spending most of my days learning new things.

Fast forward 20 years, and things are completely different. I spend most of my time these days teaching. Whether it’s teaching classrooms full of children how to code for my work, or teaching my three boys at home everything they’ll need to know to become responsible, respectful, and successful members of society, the vast majority of my time is spent helping others learn new things – and I spend very little time learning things myself!

Don’t get me wrong… I really enjoy teaching. There’s just something about being a student – and learning new things – that is totally invigorating! But it’s hard to find time to learn new things when you’re changing diapers, feeding twins, making dinner, and spending whatever time is left before bedtime enjoying some precious family time. By the time all my boys are asleep and my wife and I catch up on each other’s day, I rarely have the energy to head to our basement and work out for even an hour! Every day is exhausting!

I try to make time for learning new things by listening to books in the car or by taking a class here and there, but my favorite “learning moments” these days come while watching cooking shows. They’re short enough to fit into the tiny gaps in my crazy schedule – which works out great for me – and I love watching experts make dishes I’ve never tried before! Even if I don’t have the time or energy to try the recipes myself, I still enjoy learning new cooking techniques and tricks.

There are some cooking shows that are head and shoulders above the rest when it comes to educational value, though – and America’s Test Kitchen stands out as one of them. This month, the show will be celebrating its 20th anniversary on television, and unlike me and my crazy life, not much has changed for America’s Test Kitchen over the past 20 years. They’re still teaching people like me to be a better cook by producing great, educational episodes with some amazing recipes.

If you’ve never seen the show, each episode usually shares two kitchen-tested recipes while educating the audience by explaining equipment, ingredients, and common problems that can occur when preparing the recipes or ordering them at a restaurant.test kitchen shrimp scampi

I can honestly say that I’ve found success with every America’s Test Kitchen recipe I’ve tried. I recently made the show’s fan-voted most popular recipe – shrimp scampi – for the first time. Not only did the cooking process play out exactly as they said it would, but it was absolutely delicious! My wife and son both loved it. Even though it took some time and effort, it was worth it! Just look at the smile on Michael’s face after trying the recipe.

If you’re wanting to taste test this great shrimp scampi recipe for yourself – but don’t have the time or energy at the end of the day to go through the effort of preparing it in your kitchen – you’re in luck! WQPT is celebrating the 20th Anniversary of America’s Test Kitchen with a special event the evening of Thursday, December 5th at Scott Community College’s Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management Center.

The event will include demonstrations and samples of the America’s Test Kitchen shrimp scampi recipe, tours of the culinary lab, talks from a gadget expert, America’s Test Kitchen giveaways, and much more!

This open-house style event promises to be a fun, educational evening for everyone who loves to cook and learn new kitchen-related information.

For more details and to get your FREE tickets to this event, visit the WQPT Facebook event page America’s Test Kitchen, or call me at 309-764-2400 ext. 65026.

Check out other community events in our November Events Guide!

Michael Carton is the Director of Education and Outreach for WQPT – PBS for the Quad Cities Region, Katie’s husband, and father to Michael Jr.(8), Andrew (1), and Jacob (1).  When he’s not reading or playing with his boys, you can usually find him in the kitchen trying out new recipes or making family favorites.



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