At Macworld Expo a couple weeks ago, my friend and author Dori Smith was showing off her Sony-Ericcson T68i phone, and she played a ring tone with the expectancy that I’d immediately recognize the tune. I failed. Looking at my confused expression, she said, “You know, Alton Brown!” Nothing – Alton Brown could have been a 70s country band for all I knew. Finally, the secret was revealed: “Don’t you watch Good Eats?”
Aha! Disparate blocks of memory fused themselves in my head, and I was able to save a little face. Over the course of three or four days, I had heard The Food Network’s Good Eats show mentioned several times (Adam Engst raves about it). I admitted that I hadn’t seen the show.
Now, I’m not a chef, though I like to cook. And I’m not particularly a fan of cooking shows, though I’ve succumbed to the feverish Iron Chef on several occasions. But when a few people recommend a show, it’s time to steer the TiVo in that direction.
I’ve now caught three episodes of Good Eats, and I think I’m hooked. It’s different… no studio, no stage, no audience. It’s Alton Brown making food in unusual ways (cranking out pasta on an ironing board, for example), with as much information about food origins and the science of molecular interaction within ingredients as straightforward how-to cooking advice.
It’s also shot well… all sorts of camera angles (but without much movement, which is a nice change) are used; ingredients slide on and off the corners of the screen like tabbed windows; and the editing is clean and engaging. And in each episode so far I’ve wondered: just how do they get that shot of water boiling from below the pot? Oh, and I can’t forget to mention some grade-A cooking porn: Brown works in a kitchen that’s as delicious as the food.
Get a taste. You’ll be hooked.