Alton Brown’s Gear for Your Kitchen (review)
July 11, 2004
Alton 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.