Don’t you just love Alton Brown? I mean, of course, in the sense that he makes you feel totally inadequate in the kitchen yet simultaneously awed and inspired… and in the sense that he seems both approachable and on another plane at the same time?
If that all seemed wonderfully muddled, so is Alton Brown’s newest book: EveryDayCook — which is packed with his personal favorite recipes as well as humor, science, geekiness, and asides on everything from kitchen gadgets to super foods. Brown took all the photos in EveryDayCook with his iPhone, which gives it the feel of flipping through someone’s sophisticated Pinterest feed — and, as with most Pinterest-ing recipes, a certain lack of consistency reigns here. Some recipe measurements are given in grams, some in quantity, some in volume, which is one reason why EveryDayCook is not necessarily a book for the beginning cook.
For the cook that wants to have fun and enjoys experimentation in the kitchen, though, EveryDayCook is a treat. Here’s just one recipe intro to whet your appetite:
One day I was walking through the megamart, and there in the dairy section I spied a can of aerosol pancake mix… Like Reddi-wip, but pancake mix. And I thought: GENIUS! And I took it home and cooked it and it was crap. But what an idea!
This is, of course, the lead-in to a recipe for “Nitrous Pancakes” that makes use of a whipped cream siphon and N2O charger. Or how about a batch of “Open Sesame Noodles?” (As in open the refrigerator door in the middle of the night and eat them right of the container, standing there pretty much naked.)
Some recipes are more EveryDay than others
As you might suspect, Brown’s definition of an “everyday” recipe (and everyday ingredients) may vary from yours. Recipes here vary wildly in difficulty and time and effort required, but since there are no time or difficulty notes provided, readers are left to their own judgement. I bookmarked plenty of recipes to potentially try out, from Black Beans/Brown Rice to Chicken Parmesan Balls, but others seem well over my skis (or patience level).
Even recipes I wouldn’t necessarily make as written, though, often have useful information to impart: Brown’s recipe for turkey sliders, for instance, discusses the umami flavor ground turkey lacks when compared to ground beef and includes umami-packed ingredients to compensate. Whether you’ll cook them or not, though, they’re all fun to read.
Don’t skip the Hardware and Pantry sections
Before diving into the recipes, check out Brown’s discussions of his favorite kitchen hardware and pantry staples. (On his Aeropress coffeemaker: “‘Ah!’ I hear you say. ‘But is this not a unitasker, which you deplore?’ Actually, it’s not. I use it to brew tea and various tisanes and elixirs, so back off.”) And stockpilers, rejoice: Alton Brown admits to having thirty-two cans of sardines in his pantry at the time he wrote this.
Entertaining and informative
EveryDayCook is a joy to flip through and jam-packed with useful information: Highly recommended!
What are you reading this week?
What have you been reading lately? Tell us about it! 🙂 — and, you can browse all the What’s Rachel Reading? book reviews here.