Wired is running a great piece about Alton Brown of Good Eats fame, titled The Thermochemical Joy of Cooking. The article is focused on Alton’s science-oriented view of cooking and how it differs from the practices espoused on the majority of cooking shows:
Think of Good Eats as a cross between Julia Child’s Kitchen Wisdom and MacGyver. It’s the only TV cooking program that goes inside appliances (the crew rigs “ovencams” and “fridgecams”); regularly riffs on pop culture (the “Man Food Show” episode rejected a romantic breakfast in bed in favor of corn dogs and basket burgers); shuns single-purpose kitchen gadgets (fire extinguishers excepted); and deploys props assembled in the garage (like a giant squid tentacle with suction cups from a bath mat). For Brown, it’s all about making food – and science – fun. “Even people who don’t actually cook can enjoy the show.”
Alton’s methods appeal to the way I cook. While I look at recipes, I tend to use them as a foundation. Often as not, I prefer to look at what is available and throw something together instead of finding the perfect recipe. It’s much more fun, and a helluva lot more creative. Good Eats provides a look into why it is (or is not) better to use a certain method, choose one tool over another or combine certain ingredients while encouraging creativity and experimentation. I learn something new every time I catch one of his shows.
If you aren’t familiar with Alton, or Good Eats, read Wired’s article, and if you get a chance, watch an episode. It’s well worth it.
Besides, who else will teach you to make a Cardboard Box Smoker?
You may want to check out some of his books. I can recommend the first two on this list, and plan to purchase the third when I have a chance: