Alton Brown, The MacGyver of Food:Gadgets and Good Eats

Multitasking ala MacGyver

Mr. Brown advises, "The only one-task item you need in your kitchen is the fire extinguisher." Everything must be a multitasker. And as country pop songbird Patsy Cline once said,"If you can't buy it, make it."

Mr. Brown adds the advise that one must be like television's MacGyver and come up with answers out of the impossible - or at least the hardware store.

I've always used slab stones from the hardware store to bake pizzas (and received odd stares) and when Alton Brown advised viewers to do so on TV, I was vindicated. I also like the multitasking approach her teaches along with the science of cooking processes and the history of food, culinary arts, and eateries. His recipes are also good.

On television, he is the producer, writer, and star of Good Eats on the Food Network. This is more multitasking than Barbra Streisand did on Yentl. He also comes up with the recipes himself.

Mr. Brown offers maple pecan waffles with peach ice cream, carrot noodle salad, sweet potato chips, peanut butter sandwich French toast, and many other treats. He presents each recipe with some history, some fun and two separate lists: 1) hardware - pots, pans, tools, and utensils, and 2) software - the ingredients. He then is very clear and simple in showing and telling viewers how to prepare each dish.


Too Sexy for Your Kitchen

How One Person Learned the MacGyver Method Salmon Smoking

The Science of the Onion

Books and Alton Fans

Outside of the kitchen, this chef's books cover practical topics as far ranging as how to organize a kitchen, what multitasking tools and appliances to purchase, what you can pick up at the hardware store for the kitchen, how to create a recipe file, and how to tour the Mississippi River route north to south, hitting all the regional cuisine and best local eateries along the route - on a Motorcycle.

Favorite fan episode of MacGyver-type cooking involved Alton Brown smoking a salmon with a hot plate, a cardboard box, a cast iron skillet and sawdust - and it works (see video).

This type of ingenuity and common sense, mixed with humor and a unique imagination make Brown and Good Eats a delight.

Alton Brown could easily introduce and market a role playing or board game. He DOES already have a set of ninja kitchen knives with his image engraved on them.

Source

Good Eats

Alton Brown graduated from the University of Georgia and went to work as a cinematographer and video director for 10 years. Watching cooking shows in between takes, he decided that he could do a much better job than those chefs and cooks already on the television shows. He quit his job and traveled to Vermont to attend the New England Culinary Institute,

Alton writes his show with a group of funny characters, including the Ice Box Fairy, Food Anthropologists, Food Police Men Dressed in Black, and appearances by talented actors that portray such legends as George Washington Carver.

One actor rotates through a series of characters, much like actor Stephen Root as the proprietor of the diner on TV's Harts of the West did and the Good Eats character seems to be a play on the Root character. Brown himself plays himself as well as a Kentucky Colonel.

Some of the episode punning titles of Good Eats are : Art of Darkness, Celebrity Roast, Citizen Cane, Crepe Expectations, Egg Files, Fry Hard, Mayo Clinic, Puff the Magic Pastry, Scrap Iron Chef, Squid Pro Quo, and The Bulb of the Night.

Best Coffee Comes from Cacao Region

According to Chef Alton Brown, the best coffee comes from beans grown where cacao thrives, in the shade on the low portions of the Andes Mountains.

Link: Cacao - The Food of the Gods

Breakfast in a Coffeemaker

Alton Brown Major Awards and Recognitions

2007 - The First Peabody Award earned by a member of The Food Newwork, for Good Eats. Brown exemplifies the combination of science and cooking taught together on one TV show in a umorous but useful manner.

2004 - Bon Appetit Magazine's Cooking Teacher of the Year.

2000 and 2004 - The James Beard Award for his books I'm Just Here For the Food and I'm Just Here For More Food.

Hardwork, Good Attitude and Showmanship

Chef Alton Brown is every high schooler's wish for a science teacher, using humor, clear methods, and common sense. On a Christmas show, he used a chalkboard to illustrate Carbon and Hydrogen combining and when he was done, he had two circles of HO that he read off as HO HO; HO HO; HO HO HO!

At a farm, Alton held a beautfiful golden reddish brown chicken while a "scientific farmer" began to exceed the time limit of his talk. Alton made a joke the man missed and then very slowly and gently, he extended the chicken's right wing to full length, opened his mouth as wide as he could and pretended to take a bite, which cracked up the crew and stopped the talker. At the end of the segment, back in the kitchen, Alton said that he wanted to reverse evolution to have a chicken-dactyl with big enough wings to enjoy - Then he showed the camera such a mock up. Hilarious!

Rumor is that Alton Brown does his show for free, with his wife as Executive Producer. To make a living, he does personal appearances, book signings, sells his line of knives at http://www.altonbrown.com, and teaches cooking seminars around the country.

During Feasting on Asphalt,the motorcycle trip through the culture and good eats along the Mississippi River, he suffered a broken collar bone and kept filming the series.

If you want good recipes, nutritional information, lessons about how cooking actually works, tips on grocery shopping, and some really good laughs, watch Good Eats on the Food Network. The Ice Box Fairy recommends it.

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Comments 27 comments

Stacie Naczelnik profile image

Stacie Naczelnik 8 years ago from Seattle

I love Atlon Brown--he makes me wish I had cable.


JerseyGirl profile image

JerseyGirl 8 years ago from Jersey Shore

My hubbie thinks that he is boring and I think that he is delicious. Great hub, I like what you pointed out to the public - hopefully they will reply.


gredmondson 8 years ago

I, too, really appreciate Alton Brown.


rmr profile image

rmr 8 years ago from Livonia, MI

Thank you for this hub. AB is one of my favorite television personalities. Always educational and entertaining.


Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 8 years ago from Ontario/Canada

Patty! Great HUB on one of the "funny men" of the kitchen. I always make a point of watching his shows.

regards Zsuzsy


adventure profile image

adventure 8 years ago from U.S.A.

I watch this show. Alton is funny. A real character. He makes the science of cooking entertaining. Great hub.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 8 years ago from North America Author

Stacie - I don't have cable, but I WISH I could just purchase Food Network, A&E, Sci-Fi, History Channel, TV Channel for old shows, and one good sports channel. Think we can lobby some company to do that?

Jersey - get your husband to cook and tell jokes - he can probaby do it!

gredmondson - Great news to me!

 Z - I'm so glad you like the show and the Hub.

adventure - Thanks for the comment. I'm glad you enjoyed this.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 8 years ago from North America Author

rmr - this truly is one of my favorite shows - intrigue, witty comedy, puns, science, character acting, and cooking.


Peter M. Lopez profile image

Peter M. Lopez 8 years ago from Sweetwater, TX

Alton Brown rules. In my humble opinion, the best reason to watch The Food Network.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 8 years ago from North America Author

That's right Peter, and he got them their first PEABODY - excellence in broadcast news and information - Rah Rah, AB! AB!

They must have bought his show from him when they picked it up for broadcasting in Chicago where he started it. it was NOT enough money, imo. AB! AB! AB!


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 8 years ago from North America Author

Did I mention AB!


C.M. Vanderlinden profile image

C.M. Vanderlinden 8 years ago from Metro Detroit

AB Rules!! Even when I know I'll never make whatever he's featuring on the show, I still watch.

Great hub, Patty!


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 8 years ago from North America Author

CM - Sometimes I laugh so hard I forget to write down some of the recipe. Then I watch it again.


C.M. Vanderlinden profile image

C.M. Vanderlinden 8 years ago from Metro Detroit

LOL I loved the chili episode, where AB and his assistant were dressed as cowboys, and they sneak into ABs kitchen to make the chili. "Now why in the world would anyone have a camera in the oven??" LOL


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 8 years ago from North America Author

I LOVE it! Sometimes I wish I had cable TV myself, rather than watching at a friends occasionally.

In a lot of ways, I see a resemblance to Ernie Kovacs and his showmanship techniques. If Kovacs did a cooking show, this could be it.

And Alton even has Thing in the kitchen - the supposed SON of the Addams Family Thing. hahaha


Peter M. Lopez profile image

Peter M. Lopez 8 years ago from Sweetwater, TX

Trust me, if you had cable tv you wouldn't have 400+ published hubs. I've hooked myself up to the History Channel IV before and didn't reappear until 3 days later looking like a ghost.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 8 years ago from North America Author

HAHAHAHA Thank you Peter! Good testimony! I'm getting some Good Eats DVDs. I wonder if the Iditarod will be on DVD...


G-Ma Johnson profile image

G-Ma Johnson 8 years ago from NW in the land of the Free

I love that guy too..Seems so real to me..not like some of the other's.Have any of you watched the contests of becoming the number one chef? Or becoming the Number one Iron chef? Very entertaining. G-Ma :o)


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 8 years ago from North America Author

I saw a few months ago that Chef Mario was to have quit Iron Chef, because the network cancelled his shows.

I wonder if any of them are paid by the network, since they all have restaurants, except Alton and a couple others. I think several may all do free shows for the advertsing for their books and equipment, and to come to their restaurants. I may be wrong.

Some of the kitchen contests on TV, except for Iron Chef, are full of obscenities and anger - I would not want someone cursing over my food. Iron Chef is always fun to watch, though.


G-Ma Johnson profile image

G-Ma Johnson 8 years ago from NW in the land of the Free

oh really chef mario's shows were canceled. wow I was unaware of that one totally.Actually I didn't care for him too much anyway..but he was a good or is a great chef. tsk tsk. g-ma. G-Ma :o) hugs


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 8 years ago from North America Author

Intrigue with food. A restaurant owner once told me that there is a lot of intrigue in the food businesses. In my city, reaturant owners used to lose their restaurants in poker games; espionage, embezzling, stealing secrets from other eateries, all sorts of things. Fires were set for revenge, burning down restaurtants, etc. That lasted for about 10 years.


G-Ma Johnson profile image

G-Ma Johnson 8 years ago from NW in the land of the Free

holy moly I didn't know that either..Where have I been? Well actually we didn't have a t.v. for the first 12 years of my married life and I was the PTA president of the school and very busy with my 3 children. If that's any kind of an excuse???Anyway that's why I love the hubs so many smart knowledgable people here. Thanks again dear. G-Ma :o) hugs


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 8 years ago from North America Author

This was all firsthand experience for me and some newspaper reports. I knew a restaurant owner that new some mafia types. I met Jersey Joe one evening - He was very reserved, funny, and most polite. Very likeable.


city 8 years ago

He's the only one I watch on the Food Network. He's smart and doesn't insult the intelligence of the watcher. Alton rules!


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 8 years ago from North America Author

Cool, city! - I feel the same way. Reminds me of a cross between my high school physics teacher and Mad TV, with some Bugs Bunny added. Hurrah!


inkcarts profile image

inkcarts 8 years ago from Louisiana

Alton is my favorite. He was here in Crowley, Louisiana for the International Rice festival and filmed the episode "Power to the Pilaf". My wife think's i'm crazy, but Alton Brown made me believe I could cook, and I love it. - Lyn


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 8 years ago from North America Author

WOW! That's such a nice story, inkcarts. I bet you cook some delicious dishes. I wish all of life were as much fun as Good Eats! Thaks so much for stopping by. :)

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