Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Good Eats ends after 249 Episodes


FoodMan
 Share

Recommended Posts

I haven't watched the show with any dedication for some time, though I'm still pleased when I happen across an episode. But I must admit I lost some respect for him when he denied the existence of umami as a distinct taste.

He did? I thought he talked about umami several times on GE. What am I missing?

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The episode about home brewing is a good place to start. Gah!

Yup... he was really wrong a lot on that one... It does make me wonder if his skill at quickly studying and assimilating info about a new subject and turning it into a show were as off on other subjects I don't know so well.

I just re-watched the brewing episode.

Outside of sanitizing with bleach, there was nothing horribly wrong with the information presented.

He did a mini mash, sparged through a colander, added extract to the boil, two hop additions, chilled with ice (not really a big deal, although a dedicated chiller should have been mentioned), fermented out (he said when the bubbles are 1 minute apart, the yeast is "mostly dead" -- that's wrong, of course), and then used table sugar to prime the bottles (he really should have used priming sugar).

His beer isn't going to be nearly as good as what I make. But I'd take one over a domestic "Lite" beer.

So the only "wrong" thing I can point to is the fermentation is done when bubbles are a minute apart statement. I still sanitize with bleach (diluted in water) as do lots of brewers. I have not see the episode recently and at the time I did see it I was not brewing beer yet so of course nothing stood out to me as wrong. I know a lot better now, but like you said, that beer he made is not going to be bad.

In the grand scheme of things, GE was not a perfect show (What is?), and many might not like his "shtick" but in my book his contributions to the cooking world are far into the net postitive side.

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I haven't watched the show with any dedication for some time, though I'm still pleased when I happen across an episode. But I must admit I lost some respect for him when he denied the existence of umami as a distinct taste.

He did? I thought he talked about umami several times on GE. What am I missing?

Check out this blog post, which links to an episode where he suggests that the concept of umami is nothing but marketing hooey, and explicitly calls umami "all smoke and mirrors." Has he revisited the issue since that episode? As I said, I haven't watched the show rigorously.

Matthew Kayahara

Kayahara.ca

@mtkayahara

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I haven't watched the show with any dedication for some time, though I'm still pleased when I happen across an episode. But I must admit I lost some respect for him when he denied the existence of umami as a distinct taste.

He did? I thought he talked about umami several times on GE. What am I missing?

Check out this blog post, which links to an episode where he suggests that the concept of umami is nothing but marketing hooey, and explicitly calls umami "all smoke and mirrors." Has he revisited the issue since that episode? As I said, I haven't watched the show rigorously.

haha...well the funny thing is he does not say anything prticularly wrong and does not deny umami exists. He just seems like he does not like the word Umami and it's "overuse"! Maybe he would have been happy with "Deliciousness" :smile: Pretty stupid of him to say that, but then again he has said some dumb things off and on (the Modernist Cuisine comment comes to mind of course). Thanks for the link.

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So the only "wrong" thing I can point to is the fermentation is done when bubbles are a minute apart statement. I still sanitize with bleach (diluted in water) as do lots of brewers. I have not see the episode recently and at the time I did see it I was not brewing beer yet so of course nothing stood out to me as wrong. I know a lot better now, but like you said, that beer he made is not going to be bad.

In the grand scheme of things, GE was not a perfect show (What is?), and many might not like his "shtick" but in my book his contributions to the cooking world are far into the net postitive side.

There were significant errors, both factual and in technique. As examples easily pulled from the first 12 minutes: He demonstrates boiling the steeping grains, which are going to release lots of tannins and is not a good technique. In the hop intro where he says the only 2 hop additions are flavoring and aroma he completely ignores the bittering hop addition... maybe he's counting on the grain tannins for that...

That said, he does a fine job for the most part, but there are vital details he just didn't communicate.

Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

Learn to brew beer with my eGCI course

Chris Holst, Attorney-at-Lunch

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think picking on the details of Good Eats somewhat misses what was good about the show, namely its focus on the process of cooking. Personally, I did not care for many of Alton Brown's recipes, but I think his intent was to get people away from specific recipes and to focus on the general ingredient or technique in each episode.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So the only "wrong" thing I can point to is the fermentation is done when bubbles are a minute apart statement. I still sanitize with bleach (diluted in water) as do lots of brewers.

Stop sanitizing with bleach. Idophor is just as cheap and there's no chance of developing chlorophenols that way. (If you've ever had a beer with a Chloroseptic throat spray aftertaste, that's bleach.)

I don't think Alton should have done a homebrewing episode at all -- it's way to "niche" for FoodTV. And there's no way to teach all-grain brewing in 40 minutes.

Who cares how time advances? I am drinking ale today. -- Edgar Allan Poe

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think Alton is getting a bad rap for this home brew episode. I read the comments on the episode's page on the website. I thought, "Cool, let's see how bad Alton is being ripped." Then I watched the episode and was amused to see that the very first thing he points out is that he was wrong in a previous episode. This is immediately followed by the title 'Brewing 101'.

Let's be honest. We could rip any Good Eats episode if we attacked it with the fervor that the home brew community has mustered. But Good Eats is not about the best possible result. Its about putting the basic knowledge into the hands of Food Network viewers.

In a pizza episode, AB stepped in some doo doo with his insistance on kosher salt. It turns out that most people don't the same brand of kosher salt he does and, because they used a volume measure, they had to put a disclaimer on the episode's web page.

They do make mistakes. 20 minutes of TV will not make you a master brewer. But as many experienced home brewers have chimed in, this technique will likely make an acceptable beer.

Most of us have chlorine bleach and table sugar already. He points out many tools that would be good to have, but that they wouldn't be using.

Any given episode of Good Eats is like a gateway drug. It's never meant to produce the ultimate result, but to get you past the first hurdles.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The most egregious error Alton made in the brewing episode was putting un-sanitized packaged ice directly in the cooled/cooling wort. No brewer with even the most basic level of skills would make this error. You're just asking for contamination by doing this.

It may seem like a small error to someone who doesn't have any brewing experience, but it violates one of the most basic premises of brewing. Many of us felt that if he was so cavalier with his research into brewing, many of his other shows must have deep flaws in them as well. I don't know for sure if this was the episode where Good Eats actually jumped the shark.

I think that stardom eventually went to his head over time. He transformed from everyman to elitist so slowly that most never noticed. I think the final nail in his coffin was NathanM's "Modernist Cuisine." MC really ate whatever was left of Alton's proverbial lunch.

I realize that I'm being overly critical here, but I have the utmost admiration for Alton. I have had fantastic results with every single recipe of his that I've used. His Thanksgiving turkey recipe earned me some of highest accolades I have ever received for "my" cooking. I have learned so much from Alton over the years and I really hope he has it within himself to go back to the drawing board and reinvent himself.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The most egregious error Alton made in the brewing episode was putting un-sanitized packaged ice directly in the cooled/cooling wort. No brewer with even the most basic level of skills would make this error. You're just asking for contamination by doing this.

This is what I do for a living.

Using ice to cool wort is sloppy and lazy. But it works. It'll contaminate one out of five batches this way instead of the 10% average. Repeat -- even at the commercial level, brewers botch about one out of every 10. The bigger breweries get around this by blending. The smaller breweries are nuts about sanitation.

Who cares how time advances? I am drinking ale today. -- Edgar Allan Poe

Link to comment
Share on other sites

ScoopKW--Yeah, what you said.

I realize that pro brewing is a whole different ballgame than brewing at home (much respect!). I just think that on the tiny scale that homebrewers deal with, there's no excuse for not being fastidious with your sanitation.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

He demonstrates boiling the steeping grains, which are going to release lots of tannins and is not a good technique.

Just wanted to come back and say -- yep, bad. I watched the youtube video of this episode while brewing. "Ok, he's doing a mini mash. (Off to do stuff in the brewery.) Ok, he's pouring it all through a colander. (Off to do more stuff.)" I should have paid more attention.

Boiling grain is a great way to make crap beer. Agreed. That's an egregious error. Deal-breaking, even. The only upshot is he's using so little grain in his mini-mash, that there won't be a whole lot of tannins. Even so, "Duuuuude, sparge first, then boil."

My, do I feel sheepish.

To paraphrase Alton -- "Kids, don't boil your grain. It's really, really bad."

Who cares how time advances? I am drinking ale today. -- Edgar Allan Poe

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think picking on the details of Good Eats somewhat misses what was good about the show, namely its focus on the process of cooking. Personally, I did not care for many of Alton Brown's recipes, but I think his intent was to get people away from specific recipes and to focus on the general ingredient or technique in each episode.

This. I also do not care for most of the recipes in the show (everything looks kind of bland and too sweet to my taste) but the information on techniques and ingredients has been very helpful.

I haven't seen the brewing episode so I won't comment on that.

This is my skillet. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My skillet is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it, as I must master my life. Without me my skillet is useless. Without my skillet, I am useless. I must season my skillet well. I will. Before God I swear this creed. My skillet and myself are the makers of my meal. We are the masters of our kitchen. So be it, until there are no ingredients, but dinner. Amen.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think picking on the details of Good Eats somewhat misses what was good about the show, namely its focus on the process of cooking. Personally, I did not care for many of Alton Brown's recipes, but I think his intent was to get people away from specific recipes and to focus on the general ingredient or technique in each episode.

So? The guy has set himself up as an oracle. Harold McGee he is not. Indeed, my fantasy of a GE episode is AB pontificating away and McGee walking on set, backhanding him and telling him he is wrong, wrong, wrong and then explaining why. Sort of a riff on Woody Allen having Marshall McCluan (sp) step out of the crowd in Annie Hall to correct some pretentious know-it-all.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't expect anyone to be 100% right 100% of the time, so the fact that a few of GE's 249 episodes had some facts wrong doesn't seem like a deal-breaker to me, as annoying as the errors are. But I simply couldn't stomach the schtick. I tried to like GE, I really did. I failed.

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think picking on the details of Good Eats somewhat misses what was good about the show, namely its focus on the process of cooking. Personally, I did not care for many of Alton Brown's recipes, but I think his intent was to get people away from specific recipes and to focus on the general ingredient or technique in each episode.

So? The guy has set himself up as an oracle. Harold McGee he is not. Indeed, my fantasy of a GE episode is AB pontificating away and McGee walking on set, backhanding him and telling him he is wrong, wrong, wrong and then explaining why. Sort of a riff on Woody Allen having Marshall McCluan (sp) step out of the crowd in Annie Hall to correct some pretentious know-it-all.

And that...makes no sense.

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think picking on the details of Good Eats somewhat misses what was good about the show, namely its focus on the process of cooking. Personally, I did not care for many of Alton Brown's recipes, but I think his intent was to get people away from specific recipes and to focus on the general ingredient or technique in each episode.

So? The guy has set himself up as an oracle. Harold McGee he is not. Indeed, my fantasy of a GE episode is AB pontificating away and McGee walking on set, backhanding him and telling him he is wrong, wrong, wrong and then explaining why. Sort of a riff on Woody Allen having Marshall McCluan (sp) step out of the crowd in Annie Hall to correct some pretentious know-it-all.

And that...makes no sense.

Agreed. He's not the oracle... content-wise he's the Reader's Digest of cookery information. He covers a broad range, hits the high points, leaves plenty of room for exploration beyond what he covers, though shows a lot of good tips and tricks. Style-wise, he built himself a great little world to explore the topics he covers, and it gave the show a fun personality.

Edited by cdh (log)

Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

Learn to brew beer with my eGCI course

Chris Holst, Attorney-at-Lunch

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Bummer! This is one of the few shows I enjoyed...liked the attention a slightly more scientific approach while keeping it lighthearted. I am not a fan of shows that constantly have to show some new tip or trick but when he did something less traditional, it was backed with proof it worked. Steaks in clay planter pots was interesting!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 months later...

Caught the tacos episode. Remembered the tortilla lasagne from some other episode. Suddenly not as sorry as I was this show is gone.

(I still like Mr. Brown but I think TV cooks should stick to what they know.)

This is my skillet. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My skillet is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it, as I must master my life. Without me my skillet is useless. Without my skillet, I am useless. I must season my skillet well. I will. Before God I swear this creed. My skillet and myself are the makers of my meal. We are the masters of our kitchen. So be it, until there are no ingredients, but dinner. Amen.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The most egregious error Alton made in the brewing episode was putting un-sanitized packaged ice directly in the cooled/cooling wort. No brewer with even the most basic level of skills would make this error. You're just asking for contamination by doing this.

This is what I do for a living.

Using ice to cool wort is sloppy and lazy. But it works. It'll contaminate one out of five batches this way instead of the 10% average. Repeat -- even at the commercial level, brewers botch about one out of every 10. The bigger breweries get around this by blending. The smaller breweries are nuts about sanitation.

I doubt the truthfulness of the claim that you're a pro brewer. If a pro brewer screws up 10% of their batches, they're not making money. It's ridiculous. I've been brewing for 10 years, and I'm ridiculously lax about sanitation (though not as lax as throwing ice in my wort), and I've only had a couple batches go bad.

I'm friends with several of the brewers / owners at local micros and brewpubs, and if I was to be married again, I'd probably ask the lhbs owner to carry the rings. I would be seriously willing to bet a mortgage payment that each of these people would say you're off by a factor of ten. I'd be surprised if a brewpub has a 1% failure rate. With the caustics they use, and the steam flushes the only reasonable way to expect bad beer is through dirty lines, but that won't contaminate a batch.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

He demonstrates boiling the steeping grains, which are going to release lots of tannins and is not a good technique.

Just wanted to come back and say -- yep, bad. I watched the youtube video of this episode while brewing. "Ok, he's doing a mini mash. (Off to do stuff in the brewery.) Ok, he's pouring it all through a colander. (Off to do more stuff.)" I should have paid more attention.

Boiling grain is a great way to make crap beer. Agreed. That's an egregious error. Deal-breaking, even. The only upshot is he's using so little grain in his mini-mash, that there won't be a whole lot of tannins. Even so, "Duuuuude, sparge first, then boil."

My, do I feel sheepish.

To paraphrase Alton -- "Kids, don't boil your grain. It's really, really bad."

IIRC it wasn't a minimash. He had no fermentable grains in there did he? Just steeped some crystal and whatnot. So, everything he did was fine - except for the boiling.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...