“How to Roast Everything: A Game-Changing Guide to Building Flavor in Meat, Vegetables, and More,” by America’s Test Kitchen. $35.

When I was in college in Indiana, our health center had light rooms for students who struggled with seasonal affective disorder. Anyone could visit those rooms to spend time under the lamps, letting their warmth spread through them during the coldest and darkest days of the year.

During this time in Maine, where the sun sets by early afternoon, I have developed a comparable solution in the coziness of my own home. I turn on the oven, letting the heat fill my little kitchen and the smells of cold-weather food spread through our apartment.

So perhaps I could consider America’s Test Kitchen “How to Roast Everything” as a cookbook and a self-help book in one.

This guide is more than 400 pages, organized into chapters that are primarily dedicated to proteins, like beef or seafood. Vegetables and fruits get their own chapter, but this cookbook is not targeted to herbivores. While my husband and I don’t eat meat every day, I regularly cook chicken and, now that I live on the seacoast, fish. But when I have a new cut of meat on my counter top, I find myself scrolling through the Google responses for “How to cook beef tenderloin.” This book offers an answer to that head scratching.

“The art of roasting is timeless, so we are not discovering it here in this book but rather drawing on years of test kitchen experience and inventive recipe development to provide the widest array of roasting recipes,” the introduction states. “And we take the guesswork and fear out of the process while we’re at it.”


The first 30 or so pages are a guide to different types of meat, including photos or diagrams of each cut and illustrated guides to tasks like carving a roast turkey. There’s a list of recommended tools, including an instant-read thermometer.

Each recipe is contained in one or two pages, and it is always illustrated with a photo. The writers included a blurb about “Why this recipe works” on each page, and while these were not essential reading, they gave me some facts I did not know. (For example, tying twine at intervals along the roast beef tenderloin helps it keep its shape and promotes even cooking.)

I had to read each recipe closely to find the total cooking time, which was not clearly indicated at the top of the page. I didn’t have the time to add one or two or even 24 hours for brining to my weeknight dinner prep, and some recipes called for long roasting times, like four hours for the oven-barbecued beef brisket. I’ll save those for a snowy weekend later this season.

I also wish such a large cookbook had a difficulty rating on its recipes, which I have found helpful in others that include so many choices. I’ll wait for a special occasion to cook the ones that seem more complex, like those that involved a stuffing, or the ones that require more expensive and hard-to-find ingredients, like roast pomegranate-glazed quail.

Still, the benefit of a book with literally hundreds of recipes is that I still easily found dishes that satisfied my needs for one of these dark weeknights. “One-Pan Roast Pork Tenderloin with Green Beans and Potatoes” took less than 45 minutes to prepare, and the recipe had built-in side dishes. While I wouldn’t have room in my entire apartment for all the gadgets recommended by America’s Test Kitchen, I have to agree that the meat thermometer was indeed essential. I don’t often cook pork, and definitely would have overdone it without the temperature guide to help me.

Instead, the end result was a warm and tasty plate of meat and vegetables – and a warm soul as well.


Megan Gray can be contacted at 791-6327 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: mainemegan


Recipe from America’s Test Kitchen, “How to Roast Everything.”

Serves 4


4 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons minced fresh chives

1 garlic clove, minced to paste

Salt and pepper

1 pound green beans, trimmed

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil


1 1/2 pounds fingerling potatoes, unpeeled, halved lengthwise

2 (12- to 16- ounce) pork tenderloins, trimmed

1/4 cup hoisin sauce

1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Combine butter, chives, garlic, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in bowl; set aside for serving.

2. Toss green beans with 1 tablespoon oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in separate bowl. Arrange beans crosswise down center of rimmed baking sheet, leaving room on both sides for potatoes. Toss potatoes with remaining 2 tablespoons oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in now-empty bowl. Place potatoes, cut side down, on either side of green beans.

3. Pat tenderloins dry with paper towels, season with salt and pepper, and brush thoroughly with hoisin sauce. Lay tenderloins lengthwise, without touching, on top of green beans. Roast until pork registers 145 degrees, 20 to 25 minutes.

4. Remove sheet from oven and transfer tenderloins to carving board. Dot each tenderloin with 1 tablespoon chive butter and let rest while vegetables finish cooking. Gently stir vegetables on sheet to combine and continue to roast until tender and golden, 5 to 10 minutes.

5. Remove sheet from oven, add remaining two tablespoons butter to vegetables and toss to coat. Slice pork into 1/2-inch thick slices. Serve with vegetables.

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