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GOOD EATS


pjackso
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I fear Good Eats may have jumped the shark. The two-part episode about water really made me wonder if they're running out of ideas. It didn't have any recipes either. The behind the eats episode (which I did enjoy) also hints that perhaps they're running out of ideas.

Then the episode about okra had really basic recipes that I have no desire to try. Ditto for the recipes in the popcorn show. The tortilla show - get a tortilla press and make tortillas! (no thanks!)

And in the barley episode, he broke his cardinal rule by recommending an expensive uni-tasker (the miller).

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The 2nd squid episode was fun, well done and looked tasty. My wife and I plan on trying the recipies. The Water Works episodes while culinarily pointless were more of a personal thing with alton and his father's efforts toward clean water.

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Good Eats, despite its title, is more about the science and techniques of food and cooking than it is about eating, or recipes. Some episodes work better than others, but at least it's a different theme than any other shows.

SB (and Alton really seems to enjoy his work)

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I'm somewhat undecided about this show. I definitely enjoy watching it, as I feel I'm learning something about what I am actually doing when I cook. It also seems to simplify those methods/ingredients that one might not attempt were one not already experienced with such things. (For me, that would be the fried chicken episode - this Yankee will someday make pan fried chicken dammit!)

However, sometimes he says things that just seem really wrong to me. Sure, I am a novice, and he is some sort of expert (or at least plays one on TV :laugh:) but, for instance, I resented the episode where we were implored to never, ever sharpen our own knives, but to get someone to do it for us. For one, it totally doesn't jibe with the nerdy experimentation inherent in the show, and for another, if I really, truly, irreversably kill a knife (which I think is hard without power grinders, etc.), I will have lost at most $50. Next time I'll buy a $10 knife and learn correctly. One of the only things I've actually made from a tv was his quick tomato sauce recipe (I think the same show as the knife thing.) Although I clearly may have screwed something up, I found the recipe to be so sicky sweet as to be inedible. Apperently I also don't know how to properly "sweat" foods, as the carrots in the recipe were still crunchy at the end. Even after blending, crunchy bits were still present, which also contributed to the sauce failure.

There have been a few other things I take exception to, and it probably has to do with his sometimes condescending attitude. However, it is a show I regularly tivo and, in fact, enjoy. Even after the tomato sauce failure, I am itching to try both the fried chicken and the pie crusts.

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Even after the tomato sauce failure, I am itching to try both the fried chicken and the pie crusts.

I also had that problem with his sauce. Way way too sweet. I think maybe just the sugar was off. Can't remember how much it called for, but I think it was more than a tablespoon. I had a problem with the pizza crust as well. So salty I couldn't eat it. But I heard later that the salt was off in the recipe, even by his own admission.

The pie crust on the other hand, is amazing. Lard seems to make all the difference. It's flaky, moist, and very flavorful. I watched that episode one time and have now made more pies than my mother in her entire lifetime. It's just wonderful.

I'm a bit biased though. I love the show, and think Alton seems like a great, down to earth guy.

“There is no sincerer love than the love of food.”

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I'm such a fan of Good Eats I feel horrible that this contribution here will be what I think is an important observation and criticism...

When you find someone, an instructor, you like, you don't want them to be right 'most' of the time...

That screws it up a little...

One lone show planted that tiny seed of doubt in me...

When he, using vegetables, herbs, and seasonings, crafted a premium beef stock using rich, gelatinous, beef shanks, ox tails, and similar cuts...

After 3 or so hours of simmering, he expressed an aversion to the meat in the pot, telling us to either throw it out or feed it to the dog, because they gave up everything they had to the broth...

I yelled "NO!" at the TV...

That's exactly how long it takes to cook these cuts to perfection!

I'd have preferred them to the damn broth!

Other than when he calls Risotto "Rizz-ah-toe", he's tops in my, uh, book...

Edited by Mild Bill (log)
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Of all the great, renowned chefs and recipes available at your very fingertips, you guys choose to try and duplicate the stuff Alton Brown makes on his show? That's like using McGee as a cookbook rather than a scientific reference, only McGee is less annoying.

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One lone show planted that tiny seed of doubt in me...

While I do enjoy the show, I also had an experience that made me doubt some of his "scientific info".

There was an ep. of GE that was about homebrewing beer. As a homebrewer myself, it was disheartening to hear the numerous errors and amount of incorrect information in that show. Since then I've always taken the info in that show with a grain of salt...

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One lone show planted that tiny seed of doubt in me...

While I do enjoy the show, I also had an experience that made me doubt some of his "scientific info".

There was an ep. of GE that was about homebrewing beer. As a homebrewer myself, it was disheartening to hear the numerous errors and amount of incorrect information in that show. Since then I've always taken the info in that show with a grain of salt...

Like what?

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Take it for what it is. Most of the time, his "recipes" are more about techniques. The food that he makes on the show is more of an example of the technical part of the recipe. Some of the recipes, however are pretty good (the Firecrackers from the pickle show for example), but some are just over the top or slightly misguided. Like spending all of the time and effort in making pate a choux to fill it with instant pudding.

Not everyone you've ever looked up to is perfect. Sorry. Even those who end up with St. in front of their name.

Screw it. It's a Butterball.
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One lone show planted that tiny seed of doubt in me...

While I do enjoy the show, I also had an experience that made me doubt some of his "scientific info".

There was an ep. of GE that was about homebrewing beer. As a homebrewer myself, it was disheartening to hear the numerous errors and amount of incorrect information in that show. Since then I've always taken the info in that show with a grain of salt...

Like what?

It's been a while since I last viewed the episode, but one major thing I remember was him boiling his steeping grains. Talk about massive tannin extraction.

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That turkey frying getup was one of the more ridiculous setups. Second only to probably the smoker in Scrap Iron Chef. Is deep-frying turkey (which seems crazy to me) really worth it?

The turkey derreck was way over the top. I know he thinks fryinf a turkey is dangerous amd he is right that a lot of people screw up and run into big problems... But come on.. He measured out the proper amount of oil in advance using the displacement method. He made sure the turkey wasn't wet or still paritally frozen. PLUS he dropped the turkey into fairly cold oil and then brought it all up to temp.

I've never had deep fried turkey. But everyone who has had it says it's great. I've always wanted to try it. (eating. probably not making as I don't want to buy all that equipment)

Edited by jsmeeker (log)

Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"

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That raging flaming oil pot was cool though. ;P I'd LOVE to try that!

It was. And I know that sort of thing DOES happen. But it's becasue people over fill the pot with oil, don't make sure the turkey is dry, etc.

Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"

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That turkey frying getup was one of the more ridiculous setups. Second only to probably the smoker in Scrap Iron Chef. Is deep-frying turkey (which seems crazy to me) really worth it?

Fried turkey is excellent and takes much less time.

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That turkey frying getup was one of the more ridiculous setups. Second only to probably the smoker in Scrap Iron Chef. Is deep-frying turkey (which seems crazy to me) really worth it?

Fried turkey is excellent and takes much less time.

Yeah, I'm sure. :) 30 minutes is damn faster too. But how is it health-wise?

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That turkey frying getup was one of the more ridiculous setups. Second only to probably the smoker in Scrap Iron Chef. Is deep-frying turkey (which seems crazy to me) really worth it?

Fried turkey is excellent and takes much less time.

I helped a friend deep fry a brined turkey a couple years ago. It was incredibly moist and delicious. Its flavor definitely beat out both the smoked and roasted turkeys we had that year. Plus, you can do two turkeys in about the time it takes to do one.

On the other hand, unless you know someone who owns a bar or restaurant and can recycle your oil, it is a bit of a pain to deal with. Maybe if you lived on a couple acres of Georgia farmland it would be OK to dump it out in your woods; but, out here on the West Coast yards just aren't that big. In fact my yard is barely big enough to grill in, let alone fry a turkey.

The other downside, is if you like to stuff your turkey. If you fry, you have to cook your stuffing separately. You also can't use the drippings to make gravy.

---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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