Alton Brown, host of Food Network's Good Eats
, is not your typical TV cook. Equal parts Jacques Pépin and Mr. Science, with a dash of MacGyver, Brown goes to great lengths to get the most out of his ingredients and tools to discover the right cooking method for the dish at hand. With his debut cookbook, I'm Just Here for the Food
, Brown explores the foundation of cooking: heat. From searing and roasting to braising, frying, and boiling, he covers the spectrum of cooking techniques, stopping along the way to explain the science behind it all, often adding a pun and recipe or two (usually combined, as with Miller Thyme Trout).
I'm Just Here for the Food is chock-full of information, but Brown teaches the science of cooking with a soft touch, adding humor even to the book's illustrations--his channeling of the conveyer belt episode of I Love Lucy to explain heat convection is a hoot. The techniques are thoroughly explained, and Brown also frequently adds how to augment the cooking to get optimal results, including a tip on modifying a grill with a hair dryer for more heat combustion. But what about the food? Brown sticks largely to the traditional, from roast turkey to braised chicken piccata, though he does throw a curveball or two, such as Bar-B-Fu (marinated, barbecued tofu). And you'll quickly be a convert of his French method of scrambling eggs via a specially rigged double boiler--the resulting dish is soft, succulent, and lovely. But more than just a recipe book, I'm Just Here for the Food is a fascinating, delightful tour de force about the love of food and the joy of discovery. --Agen Schmitz
From Publishers Weekly
Known as the successful host of Good Eats currently airing on the Food Network Channel, Alton Brown brings an MTV style to food and cooking. He applies his winning formula of pop culture combined with history, science and common sense to his first cookbook. He offers his formula of food preparation ("food + heat = cooking"), explaining each process and food element in quirky sound bites. Starting with searing and taking in grilling, water and eggs among other elements, he uses diagrams, captions, sidebars and footnotes. Each module has a master recipe that applies the tactic explained to a dish and is followed by several others to emphasize the lesson. He carefully integrates his recipe to produce a comprehensive repertoire, whether it's Skirt Steak: The Master Recipe, Chicken Piccata or Lamb "Pot Roast." Despite its unconventional style, this is a solid volume presented in a lively, fun manner guaranteed to put cooking in the reach of just about anyone: Alton Brown + Cook = Success.
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