Ok, so is it going a little far to call Alton Brown my hero? He is truly an amazing teacher and cook and this series puts that forward. For those who don’t know, Good Eats mixes science and food in a completely original way. While showing you how to use basic ingredients and techniques, Alton not only makes you a cook, but explains the concepts and science behind them without making your brain hurt or boring you to death. He also explains the best products to buy and how to tell good food from not so good food. Cleanliness is a big part and he does go over kitchen hygiene. To do all this, he uses wacky people and zany props to make the show a little more interesting.
Seeing the first season was actually interesting as there were a lot of similarities, but a lot of differences as well. The acting was worse, but that’s probably accounted for by the fact that he used real people that probably had never been on tv before as compared to the experts he uses in later seasons. This made for some funny times though and awkward discussions. He also had his grandmother as a guest, which was very sweet and was she ever sassy! The infamous W made her appearance (she’s Alton’s equiptment specialist) and the banter between the two was hilarious as ever.
The episodes are as follows:
Steak Your Claim:
Alton shows us where steak comes from (for the real city folk!), what cuts are what, how meat is butchered correctly, and finally, how to cook that perfect steak at home. The instance in this case was a delectable rib eye that any cook could do. There was also a nice section on taking care of cast iron cookware.
This Spud’s for You:
This one’s about that every popular potato. Alton takes the time to explain the different types of potatoes by starch content, and what each is good for. He also shows us how to make a good baked potato, excellent comforting mashed potatoes, and how to throw together a gratin using whatever’s in your fridge.
The Egg Files:
Alton visits an egg plant and explains how the different grades are done, how to tell a fresh egg, and how to tell a cooked egg in its shell from an uncooked one. He also shows how to handle eggs safely, especially for over easy type eggs and makes the perfect scrambled egg.
Here Alton shows us how to keep salad crisp and select a good mix. He also shows how to make vinaigrette and the every popular Caesar dressing from scratch.
A Bird in the Pan:
No this isn’t about Turkey, but rather about how to achieve the perfect roasted chicken and the equipment needed to do it. Alton makes it so easy and shows how to develop a good roast while taking sanitary precautions.
Churn Baby Churn:
Alton explores homemade ice cream, granitas, and other delicious frozen favorites. He uses materials only found in a home (including a table top ice cream maker) and even some that only require your freezer.
The Dough Also Rises:
Together, Alton and his grandma make the perfect biscuit. They both have different methods, but turn out some piping hot baking that goes perfect with butter.
Alton delivers the secret of making perfect gravy in this episode. And he explains quite a few from sausage gravy, to country, to red-eye.
Romancing the Bird:
This one is about Turkey and has Alton scrambling on Thanksgiving to put together something for his family. He explains what you should and shouldn’t do, and a great method of brining for preparing a turkey.
A Bowl of Onion:
In this episode Alton visits a soup, most notably, the French Onion Soup. Using some simple cookware he caramelizes his onion perfectly and puts together a base for this most comforting of soups.
Hook, Line, and Dinner:
What else, fish? Alton explains how to properly prepare different fishes and choose the best and freshest fillet on the market. He also explores cooking fish while outside in the wilderness.
Pantry Raid-Use Your Noodle:
Alton puts together some great dishes using the ever popular pantry item of the noodle. He also explains how to store and use certain kinds.
Power to the Pilaf:
This one of course has his exploring different types of rice and how to make the perfect pilaf. He explains how to cook rice (which has always been difficult for me) and what seasonings complement the rice and which don’t. He also explains a bit about saffron, a popular spice used with pilaf.
The Art of Darkness:
With a Wonka motif, Alton goes and creates the perfect chocolate mousse. He also makes some delectable lava muffins and visits a chocolate making factory in California.
While this edition is a bit unpolished I really liked it. It was real and Alton was his most charming and very intelligently described food. I could watch these episodes over and over (and did a few) and still pick up on something new each time. I definitely will feel a little more confident when cooking some of these items in the future. This is a show for foodies, scientists, and anyone who likes good entertainment!