There are many reasons why I love Alton Brown. I love the geeky humor, hand puppets, corny dialogue, anatomical charts, hardware reviews, molecular models, and at the heart of it all, the explanations on why things work the way that they do in the kitchen. He was also a huge influence on me as I started to cook more on my own.
In response to the announcement that Good Eats will be coming to an end after 249 episodes, Kate Hopkins of The Accidental Hedonist wrote a terrific piece called “Dear Alton Brown, Thank You.” Kate points out that one of the main reasons for the show’s success is that Alton is such a good teacher. “While the past fifteen years or so of food shows have been hell-bent on selling us a lifestyle, what Alton Brown’s show did was teach.” She adds, “Good Eats showed us that if you could understand ninth grade science, you could make a great meal.” Yet another reason why I dig Alton. (I’m pretty good at ninth grade science.)
You learn more about cooking in a 30 minute episode of Good Eats than in most cooking shows. And that’s primarily because of Alton’s focus on teaching technique. The recipes are reliable, reproducable, and delicious, but it’s the technique that’s transferrable to other dishes. (That’s the benefit of teaching technique, of course.) Not that it’s always conventional technique, mind you. Who else would build a derrick for frying a turkey, smoke bacon in a locker or salmon in a cardboard box, or grill a steak over the rocket-engine heat of a chimney starter?
A short list of Good Eats favorites:
- – Urban Preservation II – The Jerky
- – Toast Modern – French Toast
- – Where There’s Smoke, There’s Fish
- – Scrap Iron Chef, Bacon Challenge
- – Fried Turkey – The Turkey Derrick (pdf on the design)
- – Porterhouse Rules
We’ll miss Good Eats. But Alton, we know you’ll be around.