No unitaskers in Alton's kitchen, apart from the fire extinguisher. Oh, and the espresso machine. And the paella dish. And the pizza peel. And the charcoal chimney. Oh, and the waffle maker.
He claimed a couple times that the paella dish is not a unitasker, but all he used it for was to make paella. At the end of the episode, he pointed out that it can be used as both a cooking vessel and serving platter, but didn't specify whether that was his basis for classing it as multitasker. In either case, this troper isn't buying it.
This Spaniard troper can vouch for the fact that paella pans make the best omelette pans. Also, try making paella in something other than a paella pan.
He used a waffle iron to cook bacon at one point.
You can use a waffle iron the same way you would a George Foreman grill on many dishes. Besides, how do you make waffles without one?
Show me the Good Eats episode where Alton Brown uses a waffle maker for something other than a waffle. You're suggesting a fan-fiction then asking me to go along with it as though it were canon.
Besides, just because Alton doesn't use it for another task in the course of an episode (or even every episode it appears in) doesn't mean that it can't be used for another task. That's completely ridiculous "reasoning".
In one of his books Alton mentions that the "no unitaskers" rule is more of a guideline. Furthermore, he asserts that even if a device or item really only has one use, if it's a good tool for the task and is used often enough, said unitasker is granted an exemption. The "no unitaskers" rule is about clearing clutter and if something is well used then it isn't clutter, despite its status as a unitasker. He says that if he doesn't use something in six months he gets rid of it and because of this rule he makes pasta twice a year just to keep the pasta maker.
He says that very thing in Season 9 Episode 6, "Wake Up Little Sushi," in regards to rice cookers. "If your household goes through a lot of rice, then you might want to consider a machine." He even suggests ideal features to look for before chucking it out the window.
Ironically, a rice cooker is not an unitasker, and its perhaps the only time on the whole show Alton had such a slip-up. You can cook some types of bread on a rice cooker.
But that's reeeeally stretching it. Remember, even in Japan where rice cookers are ridiculously common, the idea of rice cooker bread was obviously not a common one when Yakitate!! Japan featured it (which is where I assume you learned that from).
Don't forget, he said a Pizza peel could b used as a cutting board, an Hors d'oeuvre server and it also has its uses in... um... a fraternity.
Alton often shows off his ability to find cheap and simple solutions for some kitchen tasks that might otherwise require fancier equipment, but whenever he goes shopping for cookware, he pretty much buys the nicest stuff available — and to drive in the point, he points out the flaws with all the other stuff out there. Much of which you probably happen to already own. After watching several episodes of Good Eats, don't be surprised to find yourself overcome with the crippling notion that most of your cookware is hopelessly inadequate.
Well, to be fair, when it comes to items like knives, pots, and pans, he generally recommends buying something mid-to-high range. He endorses Shun knives (which are pricey — an eight-piece set is $500) and, in the knife episode, recommends buying them. Of course, they cut with better ease and precision, but this troper uses much cheaper knives without problems and could do with less of Alton's ongoing campaign against them.
And when it comes to appliances, Alton does (on the advice of his equipment expert) normally pass up anything with unneeded frills. For example, in purchasing a waffle iron, he passed up fancier models for just about the simplest model. However, he did say that any waffle maker with a plastic exterior is crap. I am sure the millions of people who have been using plastic-exterior waffle makers for years to make perfectly fine waffles would beg to differ. Also, he passed up a Belgian waffle maker as if it was just an afterthought that the angled shape is non-ideal.
Just because you've had success with a waffle maker with a plastic exterior doesn't mean it is actually any good; I've made do with lots of equipment I know to be crap. Alton generally recommends the product that does its job the best without unneeded frills or unnecessary cost, and depending on the product that can range from one of his cheap do it yourself contraptions to several hundred dollar appliances, but I've never seen him advocating anything I'd consider overpriced or not worth it if you have the money.
Yes, actually, having success with it does mean that it's "any good." In fact, I think that's the sole measure of its being "any good". You are saying that merchandise should be evaluated not based on its actual performance, but based on the niceness of its trimmings. Sorry, it doesn't work.
Woe be to the Good Eats fan on a budget — Alton often makes remarks like "Now if you don't have this in your kitchen, break down, spend twenty bucks, and get one."
On the other hand he does advocate making various cooking gadgets that cost pratically nothing.
If you can't find twenty dollars in your budget for a reusable kitchen appliance or utensil that will probably serve a lot of functions, then your food budget probably runs to cold cuts and ramen noodles anyway, so complaining about a Food Network show's creations being out of your budget is probably silly. What's next, saying "Woe betide the Ten Dollar Dinners fan on a budget. Ten dollars for dinner?!"
Perhaps more a criticism of the host than the show: In an interview with The Onion AV Club, Brown told them that he doesn't consider himself a chef, and what's more, people who call themselves chefs are phonies. Um, dude — it's a job title; it's not like claiming to have been spoken to by god or that you understood the plot of Primer the first time 'round.
Strictly speaking Alton isn't a chef, and neither are many of the people who have their own shows on Food Network, "Chef" is defined as someone who cook professionally for other people. Alton doesn't do that.
What he actually said was "[in response to being asked "Do you consider yourself a chef? Do you take the title?"] No. Do you know why? Because it’s not a title, it’s a job. It’s a position in a kitchen. It comes from an old German word that means “boss” or “head of the shop.” In which case I am the chef of my operation, but it’s a production company. It’s not a kitchen, even though we do have a kitchen. That’s the closest thing to chef I am. All the good chefs that I know say that they are cooks employed as chef. All the people that say, “I’m a chef,” generally aren’t. The good ones will say, “I’m a cook.” Once people start saying, “I’m Chef Bob!”—yeah, whatever. I’m Captain Kangaroo. Have a nice day." His complaint was about people using "chef" the way a knight uses "sir" when really it's just a job title. "dude — it's a job title; it's not like claiming to have been spoken to by god or that you understood the plot of Primer the first time 'round." is exactly the point he was trying to make.
Similarly, in "Live and Let Diet", he claimed that he isn't on a diet ... and then went on to describe an eating regimen that mandates the periodic consumption of certain foods while prohibiting or limiting consumption of other types of foods, i.e. A DIET.
But he wasn't using the word "diet" in it's proper form, he was using it the way people have come to understand it after years of misuse.
His diet was a bit of a Heel-Face Turn, because in episodes prior he would sometimes sneakily say at the ends of episodes, just as he was about to dig into whatever he'd made, that it would keep for e.g. a week; however, he would probably eat it all in a day. This troper felt a bit betrayed!
Apropos of nothing, healthy eating habits are themselves diet like. If a person who has maintained a healthy weight throughout their life described their eating habits to a nutritionist, the conclusion would probably be that they adhere to a diet-like pattern of healthy, moderated eating. Albeit, of course, less structured and freer.
Although I used to like the way that Alton teaches you the science behind cooking, as well as his quirky means of explaining, his explanations have lately become so patronizing in their excessive use of zany props that don't really make sense in terms what what's being explained. Or else it's concept easy enough for the average viewer to grasp, to the extent that one wonders why he went to so much trouble to explain it using a complicated analogy. For example, to explain heat management in outdoor charcoal grills, he used a large, walk-in set that was supposed to resemble the inside of a grill. All this to explain that areas of the grill above clusters of coal are hotter than those areas further from the coal.
If you don't use it, it gets taken out of the budget next year?
He said something pretty similar on an episode (the behind the scenes one, maybe?). That they spent good money on some of those props, and they need to use them to justify the expense.
Considering that a large part of the reason AB created good eats was because he was frustrated with cooking shows that would tell you what to do, but never tell you why, it's understandable that he would explain anything that fit into either the show's quirky base, or fit into Rule of Cool. Even if some viewers may find it extremely easy to understand. Remember, sometimes it's true that Viewers Are Morons.
That particular set was originally used to show the differences between the types of heat. Convection, conduction and radiant. The one mentioned above was the second time it was used.
I feel bad for saying it, but I can't stand watching episodes shot post-diet. The man looks so drawn and frail, and with his cheeks sunken in he looks sickly. I just cannot watch a show about food hosted by a man who looks like he's starving!
YMMV To me he looks about ten years younger.
Are you going by shows aired in early '10, or from newer stuff? He looked sickly for a while because of how rapidly he lost the weight, but now his skin has shrunk to match his new weight and he looks really good.
For me it's not so much his change in appearance that bugs me as the concurrent change in attitude that came with his weight loss. The show used to have the charm that comes with a man approaching heavy-setness unashamedly admitting that he would eat an entire batch of home-made cheese in a day. Now he comes across as very arrogant and demeaning to anyone who would espouse what was, less than a decade ago, his very own diet.
Is that really surprising? The convert is usually the greatest zealot. It's quite possible that his early diet was causing him health problems...you wouldn't get like this to a non-smoker who was telling those who still smoke to quit.
Not surprising, just disappointing and somewhat confusing. The logic of a man undergoing such a transition of attitude is perfectly understandable. It's just that a show whose host used to put on a big funny wig and role-play as a Scots clansman is now telling me I need to buy sustainably farmed tuna. The execution is a mess. I am all for his cause, but to inject that into Good Eats is just very awkward. He should just start a new show. Mark Bittman also recently transitioned into the arena of food politics and health advocacy, but he did so more gracefully than Alton Brown, as you'll notice that he had the sense to hang up his former minimalist chef's hat.
A minor nitpick, but Alton keeps saying he's a "Southern boy". Yeah... a southern California boy. He went to the University of Georgia, but he's not from the South at all. Why?
He probably likes the South, considers it his second home. He probably got that love when he was attending the University of Georgia.
Furthermore, while he many have been born in California, his parents were from Georgia, as were their parents, and he spent a part of his childhood there. So, if he wants to consider himself Southern, I'd say he has that right.
Thank you for clarifying his extended family history. Sometimes Wikipedia is less than helpful in that regard.
So what are you supposed to do if you live in the middle of nowhere, with no Asian market, no gourmet food shops, and no farmer's markets? (Out in the country, our farmers sell all their goods to faceless mega-corps.) All of Alton's recipes are apparently designed for people in the hearts of urban areas. Or willing to spend oft-ridiculous amounts buying all of the obscure items off the Internet.
Easier said than done.
Alternate proposal: Realize that it's not Alton Brown's job to make sure you have access to everything on his show for the price you want to pay and get over it.
He does say that you can buy everything over the internet these days in certain episodes. His recipes aside, if there's something you saw on some show and wanted, he has a point.
Why do AB and W seem to hate each other so much? He comes in periodically to ask her advice on cookware, then makes a purchase—sometimes a large one—and she gets to appear on TV in addition to making sales to a regular customer. They seem to have what should be a mutually satisfactory business relationship, so why all the constant sniping?
Alton has a huge sense of humor and parts like that are just of some kind of staged comedy, don't take it too seriously.
How could Alton steal MacGregor's prize tomatoes in "Tomato Envy"? That seemed totally unconscionable, especially considering how generous MacGregor had been in the past with the produce of his vegetable garden—indeed, MacGregor came by later to give Alton a basket of tomatoes—and that Alton knew that MacGregor was planning to bring his tomatoes to a contest at a fair.
Why does AB's twin brother BA have a different last name?