As promised, here’s my almost-certainly-not-objective review of Alton Brown’s latest book, Good Eats: The Early Years. But first, indulge my food-nerd glee (or maybe more nerd-who-cooks than food-nerd) and check this out.
This is always the face I wear when I’m getting ready to ask the tough questions.
Yeah, it’s me and Alton Brown. That’s Alton FRICKIN Brown if you’re me being exuberant. I’ve never been a squealer and all the Internet “squees” and “w00ts” sort of tweak at my nerves. But just you try to get me to hold still when I’m excited about something – something like meeting my culinary hero. My normal level of fidgeting kicked into overdrive.
Don’t get me wrong.This was meant to be a media meet and greet, and I had a handful of questions all prepared. When we got there though, we found out that there would be no real questioning going on, and I took that as my cue to devolve into the deplorable fan-girl that I am. Thankfully, I managed to not say or do anything too silly in his immediate vicinity. Addie Broyles, food writer for the Austin American Statesman did manage to ask a few questions (some of which were also on my list). Here’s her take on AB and his social media aversion.
Yep - clearly hard-hitting journalism was the order of the day.
The Friendly Kitchen, Apron Adventures, Austin Farm to Table, Eating in a Box, Fun With Your Food, Miso Hungry Makes it with Moonshine, Relish Austin, and The Hungry Engineer all cuddling our review copies.
I went home with my free review copy of Good Eats: The Early Years and have been lovingly flipping through it ever since. Honestly, I placed this book on such a high pedestal, I was setting myself up for disappointment. Fortunately, AB came through with a fine book that I’m perfectly happy to gush about till you’re sick of hearing about it.
The book is meant to essentially capture the first eighty episodes of Good Eats in printed form. It offers behind the scenes commentary and photos, cute-yet-informative illustrations, and of course ample nuggets of information detailing the chemistry, physics, history, you-name-it of the food items under discussion in a given episode. Plus, if you have any experience with Mr. Brown’s other cookbooks, the elegant organization and interesting formatting in this one will be familiar to you.
I expect this book will be most appealing to folks who’ve seen and remember these early episodes, however, it is loaded with recipes as well, many of which have been updated by ten-years-wiser AB. With his clear descriptions and well-laid-out recipes, this would make a very good text for someone who wants to learn to cook in the most entertaining way possible.
My one very tiny complaint is that not all the recipes are presented from each episode. This is probably not a big deal, because the last time I checked, all the recipes were available at the Food Network’s site.
In addition to the scads of episode-related information, there’s also a cute bit at the beginning featuring Alton interviewing himself about Good Eats (or as he might have had it: Alton Brown’s Flying Food Circus). And in the back there are excellent weight, volume, and temperature conversion charts. Plus, did I mention that the book jacket folds out into a fancy Good Eats poster?
Good Eats: The Early Years is meant to be the first in a series of three, and after seeing the quality of this first book, I personally can’t wait to see what the next two bring. As someone who has given up on cable (and thus, the Food Network), I’m extremely pleased to have this text that so beautifully captures a cooking show that I truly miss watching (one of very, very few).
My only hurdle now to full on Good Eats enjoyment is deciding whether or not I’ll allow my lovely signed copy to get as messy as all the other cookbooks in the kitchen.