Alton Brown’s Gear for Your Kitchen (review)

July 11, 2004

Alton Brown's Gear for Your KitchenAlton Brown may be the patron chef of geeks — if being featured in an article in Wired magazine and discussions on Slashdot aren’t enough to qualify him for the title, then Good Eats — his program on the Food Network probably is.

In addition to showing the viewers how to cook, Brown spends a lot of time covering why things work like they do — how different chemicals and proteins interact with each other and heat to produce specific results. He also spends a lot of time debunking bad kitchen gadgets, and showing viewers how to get better results with fewer widgets — many from the hardware store or the garden shop. Think of him as a cross between Julia Child, MacGyver, and Mr. Wizard.

In his newest book, "Gear for your Kitchen", Brown shows you how to clear away the useless junk and get the most for your kitchen dollar…

If you’re like most technophiles (who else reads this site, anyway?), you probably spend a lot of time looking for good sources of info on which computer and consumer electronics widgets are worthwhile, and which are a waste of money and space. Here’s your reference book for the kitchen.

The 256 page book starts out with a 60 day plan to clear all of the useless hardware out of your kitchen, and only allow back in the stuff that really works well. It then goes on to suggest the things that you do — and do not — want to acquire, and the reasons why. If you’re ever liable to buy new pots or pans, his in depth chapter on these items will save you far more than the cost of the book right there. The same thing for the discussions on knives and small appliances. If you can read this book without saving money, you’re still living on instant ramen and frozen pizza.

In addition to coverage of big-ticket items, he goes into depth on things as small as the right and wrong spatulas and whisks — and makes the discussion interesting and entertaining, as well as informative. Want to know the history of Tupperware or why aluminum foil works? Alton’s your guy. Want to know why a 99 cent piece of quarry tile is better than buying a pizza stone? See Alton.

Along the way of course, he tosses in a double-handful of recipes and a fair amount of his usual humor. The book manages to be interesting, readable, and accessible, no matter what your technical level or kitchen expertise is. The worst thing that might happen is that you just might end up learning to cook.

Alton Brown’s Gear for Your Kitchen

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2 Responses to “Alton Brown’s Gear for Your Kitchen (review)”

  1. Steve Clark on May 2nd, 2006 1:05 pm

    I have been looking for a kitchen gizmo that Alton uses on his cooking shows and I can’t find it anywhere. It is a measuring cup in the shape of a tube and it pushes whatever is in it out. It is perfect for measuring liquids, honey, mollasses, and multiple liquids because it pulls down as you pour in different ingredients on top of one another, accurately measuring each one as you go. Can you please tell me if you know what I am talking about, if you can tell me where I can buy it, and/or if you could tell me how I can contact Alton Brown personally to ask him? Thank you so much for your help. We are avid Alton Brown watchers and this would be the PERFECT gift for my fiance’s birthday in July! Thank you, Steve Clark

  2. Chuck Lawson on May 2nd, 2006 1:16 pm

    Hi Steve;

    Yep, I know what you’re talking about; it’s essentially a very large syringe with the end completely open.

    I’ve got two of them (in different sizes); mine came from a “Pampered Chef” party (I was dating the hostess and got sucked into going), so I know you can get them from them.

    A quick look on Amazon in the “measuring” section of “Cooks Tools & Gadgets” (Kitchen and Housewares) turned up a couple too, including KitchenArt’s “Adjust-a-cup”; you might go look through there to see if you can find a set you like.

    Good luck!

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