In a very strange departure from the usual reviews, I am reviewing a cookbook! This one caught my eye and I decided it was worth a read. Here are my thoughts on Good Eats: The Early Years by Alton Brown.
Alton Brown is a foodie phenomenon: a great cook, a very funny guy, and—underneath it all—a science geek who’s as interested in the chemistry of cooking as he is in eating. (Well, almost.) Here, finally, are the books that Brown’s legion of fans have been salivating for—two volumes that together will provide an unexpurgated record of his long-running, award-winning Food Network TV series, Good Eats.
From “Pork Fiction” (on baby back ribs), to “Citizen Cane” (on caramel sauce), to “Oat Cuisine” (on oatmeal), every hilarious episode is represented. Each book—the second will be published in fall 2010—is illustrated with behind-the-scenes photos taken on the Good Eats set. Each contains more than 140 recipes and more than 1,000 photographs and illustrations, along with explanations of techniques, lots of food-science information (of course!), and more food puns, food jokes, and food trivia than you can shake a wooden spoon at.
I had very little cooking experience before I was married. Since then I have slowly increased my skill in that area. I have been helped along the way by some great cookbooks. I find I am most successful at basic recipes that contain only a few ingredients. These simple recipes help me learn the basics of cooking while still preparing a tasty meal.
I was excited when I discovered the show Good Eats on the Food Network . This show is perfect for me. Each episode deals with the fundamentals of how to cook basic foods such as steak, shrimp, eggs, or potatoes. This show–and its host Alton Brown–explains how the science behind why something should be made certain way. To me this is the best way to learn. The show has helped me master the preparation of the basic recipes. This knowledge then allowed me to move on to more complex recipes. Preparing more complex dishes like pasta primavera was easy once I learned the proper way to cook pasta.
The discovery that this show had been translated into a book series was delightful. The three part series aims to cover the topics and recipes in each episode of the show. Each chapter is broken down into the background information, recipes and tips seen in the corresponding show. Additional information in each section includes behind the scenes tidbits and additional recipes.
Review: I am so glad I found this book! The written format enables easy reference that is not available with the TV show. The extra notes and recipes are very helpful. I found myself reading the from cover to cover. This is book enjoyable even if you already know how to cook. Even my husband picked it up to read!