- Hardcover: 288 pages
- Publisher: Stewart, Tabori and Chang; Later Printing edition (May 1, 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1584790830
- ISBN-13: 978-1584790839
- Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 1.3 x 9.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 432 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #338,837 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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I'm Just Here for the Food: Food + Heat = Cooking Hardcover – May 1, 2002
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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.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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This book is like no other and you will understand why you do stuff! Cooking is the application of heat to food and you can tell that AB is a fan of the book, On food and cooking! He give you more of the reasons why you need to sear something, what a brine does, marinating, rubs, eggs, frying, grilling, boiling and more!!
AB is like a kids schoolteacher for adults!! He makes his topics fun and interactive! He makes you willingly want to keep reading and trying new things and challenge your mind to go outside the box, outside the recipes and be creative within the parameters!
AB is an idol! Follow him on Facebook for funny and informative videos and recipes!!
Click YES if this review was helpful. If not, or if you have a question, leave a comment and I'll answer you! Feedback helps me improve my review! THANKS
If you ever want to start inventing your own recipes rather than staying bound to a cookbook or blind guess-work, this is well worth your time. It also contains a lot of 'kitchen hacks' that allow you to get things done on the cheap or in a pinch. Just like every Alton Brown's cookbook, I love it!!!
Alton Brown does a fantastic job of hiding the science of cooking in his humor. While he explains the fascinating, technical portions of how cooking works and why certain techniques and tools work better for certain jobs, he also inserts small humorous anecdotes that keep the heavy details feel light. As a chemical engineering major, I've noticed conveying technical material in a way that is easy for the general public to understand is very difficult to do well. Brown's anecdotes make the reading relatable and I think it helps you to retain the information easier.
A book with the technical details, such as this one, does not typically have colorful easy to understand diagrams and figures. These little illustrations make the technical content easier to visualize and understand. While it's nice when you can write about technical material that other people educated in the subject matter understand, I think it is more impressive to be able to convey it to an open audience. This means you must think about how different people learn and understand. I think this idea gets missed in many places in life especially formal education. I see this a lot in my engineering classes, various learning styles are not always accommodated for. I think Brown's accommodation works well for his voice and writing style.
The actual content of the book is super fascinating and translates well into a cookbook. Instead of just providing simple recipes, Brown explains the science behind his recipes. This begins with the choice of food down to the choice of metal he's chosen to cook with. The science is fascinating and plays every role in every single one of his choices as he's cooking. His reasoning varies from taste to concern of contaminating food with things such as aluminum. It would be interesting to see if his choices are reflected in the food manufacturing industry.
I think it's crucial to understand why food behaves the way it does in order to be a better cook. It all comes down to its molecules and structure. Brown explains the properties of food in order to attempt to allow the public to improve and try things themselves. Brown just sets the outline and gives examples of things that work well. He really sets the audience up to try it and find successes themselves. His approach had me wanting to experiment with the foods, so I could taste what I was reading about. Brown wants to see readers engage with food and culinary experience and learn for themselves, he just sets the groundwork to get everyone going.
If you're serious about cooking and want to know the whys in addition to the hows , read this book.