If you've been in Alton Brown withdrawal since the Food Network aired the last episode of Good Eats back in May, perhaps secretly watching episodes on YouTube when you should have been watching, well, the Food Network I guess, you now have something to look forward to. Brown's third Good Eats cookbook, Good Eats 3: The Later Years, will be published by Stewart, Tabori & Chang in October.
To mark the happy occasion, we've assembled 5 of our favorite Good Eats YouTube episodes. Turn the page. Oh, and if you check out the fine print on the jacket cover, you'll find even more incentives to buy the book: Stickers! Blueprints! Sock puppets! Go tell the children.
5. The Fried Turkey Episode: In which Brown experiments with frying whole turkeys. Propane tanks. Archimedes' principles of buoyancy. What looks to be Hazmat suits, or maybe that stuff they wore in The Hurt Locker. "Where do you keep the kids? Well, that's what the trunk's for! Hahahahaha!" Disclaimer: Alton Brown has one kid. We have two. None of them are normally kept in the truck.
4. Eat This Rock: In which Alton discusses salt, the only rock we eat. If you haven't gotten to Mark Kurlansky's book Salt, here's a considerably shorter Good Eats version. "Without salt, there'd be no beef jerky!"
3. Steak Your Claim: The first episode of Good Eats, circa July, 1999, in which Alton considers the joy of steak ("John Wayne ate steak"). Including a lovely diagram of a square cow, helpful facts ("for those of you who might have grown up in the city, these are cattle!"), and cooking tips.
2. What's Up Duck?: America's per capita consumption is a measley 5 ounces a year, says Brown, pointing out how under-appreciated duck is in this country-that-is-not-France. At least in 2000, when the episode first aired. Thus he attempts to familiarize us with the bird. "Ducks float, what else floats? Apples! Empty beer cans! Very small rocks!" Which sounds like a Monty Python skit. Of course it does, as Brown described his the inspiration for his show as equal parts Julia Child, Mr. Wizard, and Monty Python.
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1. Three Chips for Sister Marsha: In which Brown considers the quintessential debate between the crispy chocolate chip cookie and the chewy chocolate chip cookie. If you have kids, you will know that this is like the (pre-J.K. Rowling) debate between J.R.R. Tolkein vs. C.S. Lewis. Issues of white vs. brown sugar; butter vs. melted butter vs. shortening; cake flour vs. AP flour vs. bread flour; baking powder vs. baking soda. (This episode is in more than one part; here's the second part.)
And for a bonus: Watch Alton on Letterman, circa 2003 ("This couldn't have come at a better time now that Martha Stewart's in jail,") in which Brown demo's frosting a cake on an old record player turntable. Brilliant, really. Letterman, not so much.