Every wednesday I review a cookbook to help weed out the good the bad and the ugly. This week I am reviewing I’m Just Here For The Food by Alton Brown. As an engineer and a certified nerd, I love Alton Brown. His show is designed around humor and the basics, that make food what it is. He takes the most complicated concepts and makes them fun and interesting. His book does not disappoint.
Alton Brown grew up wanting to be a big-time film director and ended up being a Food Network TV personality and professionally trained chef. His show has been on TV for over 11 years and is consistently ranked as one of the highest rated shows on the food network. “I’m just here for the food” has won the prestigious Jame Beard Foundation Award for best reference book. Brown hasn’t done too bad for a man with a dream to be a big-time film director.
I’m just here for the food is written with fun quips, great illustrations and all around great recipes. The book’s illustrations teach basic concepts such as convection, teflon, why starch thickens and what the difference is between fresh and not so fresh eggs. They are informative and quite enjoyable to read.The recipes contain basic instructions along with lists of software (aka ingredients) and hardware (utensils and other equipment necessary for creating the recipes). Along with the hardware and software each recipe includes an application of heat. Application of heat you say, by what does that mean. Well he describes the process in which you are going to cook the food. Indirect heat, direct heat, boiling, sauteing etc. Along with the application, there are detailed instructions describing how to actually accomplish the recipe. This book is written in a fun and interesting way that only Alton Brown could come up with.
Version 2.0 of this book includes four refrigerator magnets that have become sort of an icon at my house. Everybody wonders where I got the animal magnets with detailed labeling of each cut of meat. I always tell them from Alton Brown’s book. The magnets are somewhat creepy and somewhat cute. Either way they are very popular with everyone that steps into my kitchen. I would purchase the book just for the magnets. People love them.
This book is fun, exciting and very informative. Alton Brown is culinary gold. It is like mixing comedy central with the discovery channel. I believe that this book is a must have for anyone wishing not only to have good recipes but to have the knowledge of why cooking works.