Blending humor, wisdom, history, pop culture, science, and basic cooking knowledge, the author presents an instructional cooking guide that features various cooking techniques accompanied by a master recipe for each technique.
Unfortunately the table of contents page had been ripped out of the copy I received. Other pages are there, so far anyway.
Easy thing not to notice.
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 3 years ago
I religiously watch "Good Eats". This man is a genius in the kitchen. He makes cooking easy and explains everything you need to know. The bools are great but if you have not seen the T.V. series you need to A.S.A.P.
Hate I Waited So Long
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 13 years ago
I'm not a fan of purchasing Food Network personality cookbooks since you can usually get the recipes online for free. I did buy a signed copy of AB's Gear for the equipment info and I dearly love it. When I found a signed copy of this one (Crate & Barrel) I couldn't pass it up. This book is all and more of the food science in the show. It's organized by cooking method. There are chapters on brining, sauces and eggs. The appendix is substantial, which I love. There are the famous meat diagrams with the quirky magnets. The Basic Culinary Toolbox is a very, very condensed version of Gear. The notes on sanitation are good, I don't think I 've seen them in a cookbook before. Top Five Activities, A Selected Reading List,resource guide and metric conversion charts round out the section. This book is dense. You don't have advantage of the easy-to-follow, cool, teach-by-quirky-demonstrations method of the show. No wonder it won a James Beard award. This doesn't mean the material is incomprehensible; you just have to concentrate more. As with Gear, I could care less about the recipes. The book's worth is as a reference guide. I hate I waited so long to buy this. This book is for the curious cook. If you aren't interested in the "why" and just want recipes, you'd probably find it frustrating.
Not a Recipe Book
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 14 years ago
This is a great how-to-cook book, equally understandable to both new and uh... "experienced" cooks. AB (to his fans) takes great pains to thoroughly explain the HOWs and WHYs of cooking. Do you know the real difference between searing, grilling and braising? Not a kind of "well one's on a grill and the other is on a stove" definition, but a solid understanding not only of the difference but WHEN and HOW to use each (along with boiling, broiling, etc.). You will with this book! And the book details the best approachs and equipment for each cooking method along with which foods are best prepared a particular way. But this is NOT a recipe book - there are recipes for in each cooking method section. As usual with AB, the recipes are quite good - I've tried several while practicing AB's methods. But the recipes are there to support your understanding of cooking method - a 'so this is how you can uses this method' demonstration. Of course, there is humor, AB style, and lots of it, especially in the side-bars. What do you expect - it's AB's book! So if you've gotten curious about the uh... "engineering" of cooking (What's a braise? What temperature is best for broiling or roasting?) then you'll be happy with the book. If you enjoy AB, you'll be happy with the book. If you just want to add another recipe book to your collection, you may be disappointed.
A new classic! Good information, OUTSTANDING presentation
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 18 years ago
If you care enough about food to be reading this review, but don't know who Alton Brown is, all I can say is, "For shame! Get thee to a cable or sattelite provider that has the Food Network, then watch every episode of Good Eats!" I'll wait till you're done...Now that you know who wrote this book, I'm sure you'll understand why I pre-ordered it the second I heard it would be coming out. As you know (you do know now, right?) Alton Brown is the "Mr. Wizard" of cooking. He presents the science behind all kinds of cooking in a way that anyone can understand and enjoy."I'm Just Here For the Food: Food + Heat = Cooking" is the first in what will hopefully a series of books about the scientific principles underlying various recipes and cooking methods. This book focuses almost exclusively on the various methods of applying heat to food, what they do, how they affect foods, and how to control them. The presentation (in form and visual style) is reminiscent of a grade school textbook, but the text is light, easy to understand, and very witty.Alton Brown is not a lightweight when it comes to erudition, either, but somehow the man can quote Brillat-Savarin and Greek philosophers without sounding stuffy. I only wish Brown had been there to collaborate with Harold McGee on "On Food and Cooking : The Science and Lore of the Kitchen" (ISBN 0684843285, still the most comprehensive work on food science and history available), or to give style tips for "The Curious Cook: More Kitchen Science and Lore" (ISBN 0020098014, and a good read nonethless). While those books may be more comprehensive and technically-oriented than this book, the style can get kind of tough to handle in those books.As I have said, "Food + Heat = Cooking" focuses on cooking methods, rather than ingredients, which is a bit of a switch from the usual style of Brown's TV show. He doesn't ignore the ingredients, though. Instead, he choses to present each ingredient in the context of a method of cooking, and discuss the effects of the cooking methods on the ingredients. It's an interesting approach, and one that results in a more recipe-oriented approach than any of the other works I've read on the science of cooking. (I've also read "The Science of Cooking"/ISBN 3540674667 and "The Inquisitive Cook"/ISBN 0805045414).In other words, this is not just a text book, it's also a cookbook. I really admire Brown's ability to balance the two goals.My only complaints are that the book could have used a bit more editing (there were several typos and some minor factual errors), and the paper stock was a bit too thick, so that I always felt like I was turning two or more pages at a time. Minor faults, I know, but I don't want you to think I didn't try to find fault with the book.I strongly recommend this book to anyone interested in the principles of cooking and how to apply them in real-life situations.
As much really learning to cook as a collection of recipes
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 18 years ago
First off, everyone who is a fan of Alton Brown and Good Eats on Food TV NEEDS to buy this book.Second, anyone who REALLY wants to learn how to cook, and not just follow recipes, should buy this book.What is almost unique about this book (Cookwise by Shirley Corriher is similar) is that it is more about explaining how and why cooking happens (i.e. what REALLY happens when you put a piece of meat in a hot pan, and as a clue, 'sealing in juices' is not the correct answer) than is a traditional cookbook, which is just a collection of recipes. Think of this book as an advanced amateur cooking course in a book.In this book, recipes are not divided by type of food (meat, veg, desserts, ...) or course (appetizer, entre, ...) but by cooking method (grilling, saute, poach, ...).While I just received the book, I have used several of his recipes (from Food Network) and know they work fine. His roast turkey is, without a doubt, the best I have ever eaten, and is now the only way I will cook a turkey.There is also a 37 or so page appendix in the book, covering things like meat cuts, knives, pots and pans, Alton's favotite cokbooks, sources of supplies, and the like. Lastly, there is Alton's sense of humor, spread throughout the book. I love it!Now for the downside: If I could have, I would have awarded this book 4.5 stars, because of the poor job of editing/proof reading/typography that was done on it. This is not Alton's fault, but that of the publisher. Examples? Sure: Subheads repeated on bottom of 254 and top of 255, ditto on 258 and 259. Shame on you, Stewart, Tabori & Chang, publishers.In short, If you really like to cook, and want to grow in your culinary knowledge, you need to buy this book.And to Alton, get started on that book about batters, custards, and doughs you talk about in this one!
Not a cook book, but a book on cooking
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 18 years ago
If you like "Good Eats," you're bound to love this book. In this volume, Alton Brown goes into the how and why of cooking to help you understand the process involved. Any cookbook can tell you , for example, to sear a piece of meat. This book explains why you sear a piece of meat (and its not what you might think), why cast iron is the best cookware for searing it, and what happens if you mess up. All this is done with the same off-beat style as Alton displays on his Food Network TV show. The illustrations and examples are priceless. Who else would explain polyunsaturated fats by using pictures of shopping bags and dead rats? The recipes (about 80) are easy to follow, and each builds on the one before to give you a good understanding of the techniques involved. The aim of this book is to free you from your dependence on recipes, so that given a set of ingredients, you can create, if not a culinary masterpiece, at least -- dare I say it-- good eats.Just a note about the arrangement of the book. Unlike most cookbooks, this volume isn't arranged by ingredient. Instead, it is divided by technique, in keeping with the author's goal of teaching the basics. Also, you won't find any cakes or cookies here. This book is about "cooking" the foods as they come from the plant or critter involved, rather than "making" food from the raw materials. (As AB puts it, "I didn't make the steak, I made the steak better.") Stuff you "make" is planned for the next book.My only gripe about the book is that the typeface is a tad small for my tired old eyes. And the pages, pleasantly heavy as they are, aren't coated so they might tend to soak up grease. That isn't much of a problem, because this book really isn't meant to be read next to the stove anyway. Read it in a comfortable chair and prepare to achieve enlightenment. Yes, you too can be a briner.
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