Tangled Yarns

Tangled Yarns

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Book Review: Good Eats, The Early and the Middle Years

 I never used to like to watch food shows. Ever. My husband can live with the cable permadialed to The Food Network. A few years back, I turned the tv on, and (surprise, surprise) he had left it on The Food Network. Not interested in the station itself, I began to flip through the online guide, futilely, when I realized that I was actually chuckling at the show currently on.

This was my introduction to Good Eats and Alton Brown. I have had lots of fun over the years watching his antics, skits and silliness. With episode titles like "School of Hard Nogs (homemade eggnog, yum!), Fry Hard and Wonton Ways - how can you not have fun?! I have had even more fun trying out the recipes on the show. The great thing about Good Eats? He explains how to use certain techniques and why, in a fun and easy to understand way. In his own words, Alton said the idea behind the show came down to three names. Julia Child, Mr. Wizard and Monty Python. This show isn't just about Good Eats. It's about good times and good fun. And gadgets. (But never a unitasker. The only unitasker in the Good Eats kitchen is the fire extinguisher.) Alton Brown has the best freaking toys.

So last year, the first book came out. And it's a doozy of a cookbook. (Most of mine are hand-me-downs or bought at garage sales, so I may have a skewed view.) 3 lbs 8 oz of entertainment. Seriously, you can sit and read this book, or at least enjoy the pictures. Not just of food, but of a brilliant maniac in crazy costumes.
But I held off at the time. And now book two came out. There is just as much zany nonsense in this one, and just as many great recipes. Each chapter, in both books, is based off an episode. Many of the great tips, tricks and bits o'trivia are in there, like how to "octo-sect" a chicken.

I totally caved. I don't regret it at all. I now have some of my favorite recipes in a book, rather than searching through the Food Network every time I want to make Hot Cocoa Mix. (It has cayenne pepper in it! I love the kick.) Some of my favorites are not out yet. One more book to go. Next year can not come quick enough! I still want to get all the seasons on DVD, because the books cannot portray the hilarity of the skits. And some of the instructional material is easier to mimic when you can watch what he's doing.

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