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I'm Just Here for the Food: Food + Heat = Cooking

4.2  ·  Rating Details ·  16,323 Ratings  ·  257 Reviews
Blending humor, wisdom, history, pop culture, science, and basic cooking knowledge, the host of Food Network's Good Eats presents a special edition of his innovative, instructional cooking guide that features various cooking techniques accompanied by a "master" recipe for each technique, and provides a vast array of food-related tips and advice.
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published May 1st 2002 by Stewart, Tabori & Chang
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Jul 02, 2012 Kathrina rated it it was amazing
I have a 13-year-old who thinks he wants to go to culinary school, but has still only mastered the arts of ramen noodles and jello. He's a fan of foodie rock stars like Anthony Bourdain, Gordon Ramsey, and, of course, Alton Brown. So, this summer we're making cooking homeschool -- I've got it all planned out, and this book is our text. We'll focus on one cooking method a week, and come September, I'll have another hand in the house that has no excuse for not coming up with dinner once in a whil ...more
Mar 20, 2008 Ron rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cooking
This book changed my life.

I’ve never been a big cook. I think mostly because I’m a little impatient and the results are spectacular enough normally for me to get a charge of out taking the time to cook.

That may all be changing because of a book I got this weekend. The Mrs and I like to watch Good Eats on the Food network. Its just a fun show. I watch cooking shows for the same reason I was do it yourself shows. Its fun to watch people who know how to do something well do it. But I don’t ever co
Jan 17, 2008 Max rated it it was amazing
I came late to the Alton Brown party, so my man-crush on him seems ill-timed now that he's widened out in his celebrity role on the Food Network. But Brown is a man after my own heart - understand the science of something so you can play with it. I make something by the recipe the first time so I get the mechanics, then I start to tweak it. Brown's book is a great guide to your kitchen and it will make you throw away about half the crap you got for your wedding because they're unitaskers.
Lindsey Duncan
Mar 17, 2013 Lindsey Duncan rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This is not a cookbook: it's a mad-science exploration of cooking. Alton Brown explains the chemistry, physics and processes of the foundational methods of cooking food, breaking them down with hilarious commentary and consistent precision. Throughout the book, he explains the inaccuracies in home equipment and how to combat them ... at an extent that is frankly ridiculous for any but the most neurotic, but it certainly is entertaining to ponder - and that's the point. But no, I won't be melting ...more
Jul 14, 2012 Robyn rated it it was ok
Did not finish.

I enjoy Good Eats, I generally enjoy Brown's perspective on cooking, and I definitely agree that knowing the foundation of cooking will make you a better cook. This book, however, is not for me.

Too many pages had text discussing one thing, sidebars discussing something else, and drawings demonstrating a third. Like learning food science from an unmedicated 5 year old with ADHD. The drawings were also too stylized, not as basic and clear as the drawings in Brown's other books. Th
Daniel Ley
Feb 28, 2013 Daniel Ley rated it it was amazing
Simply put, this is the science behind cooking laid out in a practical approach. Alton Brown doesn't just teach you how to cook certain meals, as an ordinary cook-book would, but delves into the theory of cooking methods and gives you the tools to understand what is going on when making food rather than having you blindly repeat a recipe - useful information when something goes wrong, or if you have different cooking apparatus than the person who wrote the recipe, or if you can expand the recipe ...more
Jan 06, 2008 Jacob rated it really liked it
Shelves: cooking-and-beer
This is a great cookbook and really the only one (except Brown's other books) worth listing as a book I've read here. I haven't read it cover-to-cover. Like any other cooking or brewing book, there's not a lot of reason to read the parts that don't apply to what you're cooking. Despite this, I've read enough of the sections to get a good feel for it. If you enjoy the shows and find them helpful and entertaining, you'll find the books the same way. He focuses on teaching you how to cook more than ...more
Apr 02, 2016 Jaime rated it it was amazing
I'm biased to Alton Brown, his approach to cooking using science is really what inspires me. Although I cannot recall off the top of my head to have made any of the recipes in this book, the knowledge passed can be used in a professional kitchen. I happened to buy the version that has magnets of chicken, lamb, pig & cow showing the different cuts for each. If you're really wanting to "up your game" at home, I recommend anything Alton Brown.
Apr 04, 2013 Amy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Alton Brown is just fun to read. He is witty and humorous but he is also very Good at explaining how cooking happens. My boys love to watch his television shows when they can. They consider it funny and educational and worth their time to watch by their own choice! This book is not quite as funny as the tv series but it is very educational and the recipes aren't bad, either. I learned the best way to make hard cooked eggs is in the oven and haven't gone back to boiling since!
Greta Stough
Apr 14, 2008 Greta Stough rated it really liked it
I know there is something wrong with me because I am recovering from a hard core crush on Alton Brown that lasted several years. Well, they say the first step is admitting you have a problem, but geeky glasses, food, AND science? I have no will power against his panoply of charms. And he even wrote a decent book. Food science at its most fun.
Jul 16, 2008 Leigh-Ann rated it it was amazing
Shelves: food-and-drink
If I know WHY I'm supposed to cook a certain way, I'm more likely to actually do it that way! Alton tells me why!
Barrington Library
Alton Brown illustrates the science behind cooking so its easy to see why a recipe works. His recipes are always reliable, many of them are staples in my house.

Nov 15, 2015 Ariadna73 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hands-on-books, food
Interesting and entertaining. The quality of the paper is not the best, but the information contained in the book is valuable, especially the chapters about eggs and microwaving.
Apr 25, 2012 Darren rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Billed as a guide to help organise you and your kitchen, I'm Just here For the Food by U.S. celebrity chef and TV star Alton Brown has set this ring-bound guide to be a key kitchen companion and store for your recipes, notes and other cooking essentials.

The eight sections feature a full-page plastic pocket to hold clippings, equipment manuals and warranties and the like and many blank pages for storing notes. A range of reference information such as food yield equivalent calculations, ingredient
Dec 26, 2008 Jamie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For many years I've been addicted to the off-beat cooking show filled with unabashed geekery known far and wide as Good Eats on food network. I feel a certain kinship with Alton Brown. He's from north Georgia, an unashamed geek, and he loves food of all kinds but has a deep love of true local cuisine and road-food. (This idea is explored in his "Feasting" documentaries for the last three years.) And his show has revealed knowledge of everything from Star Trek to Lord of the Rings to the Termina ...more
Jan 14, 2017 Greg rated it really liked it
When I got this book, I was pretty much of an amateur cook who thought my skills with homemade chicken tenders and oven fries was pretty nifty, but often I had trouble consistently producing good results with other recipes. My meat wouldn't always brown, I constantly overcooked my eggs, I had a hard time getting sauces and soups to the right consistency, etc.

This book cured me of a lot of those inconsistency problems by teaching me the basic idea of how cooking works and boiling it down to essen
Mar 07, 2009 Cindy rated it liked it
Recommends it for: fans of the show
Shelves: cookbooks, 999, blog
I am a big fan of Alton Brown's show on The Food Network, Good Eats. So I looked forward to reading his cookbook. But I have to admit this is not what I expected. The book is organized by cooking method, which seems a little strange to begin with. Then there are no pictures of any of the recipes. There are fun little sidenotes, and interesting tips, but the recipes are constructed in a rather strange way.

Then again, Brown has so many little quirks and extreme preferences that I don't intend to f
Dec 20, 2010 Natasha rated it liked it
It's taken me a while, but Alton Brown has grown on me. I now appreciate his cooking shows (I used to find them silly and annoying), and have learned a lot about ingredients and the art/science of cooking.

He's kindof the Bill Nye of the cooking world :)

This is not an allergy-focused book (i.e. not gluten free, vegan, raw, etc) but I checked it out because let's face it, I don't have a clue what I'm doing in the kitchen. Sure, I can follow a recipe, but I don't know why some things "work" and s
Jan 25, 2008 Bethany rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who eats food.
Shelves: 2008, food
Everyone who cooks should own this book. Alton Brown's humorous and informative show, "Good Eats" on the Food Network has long been a family favourite to watch and this book is just as quirky, funny, a bit theatrical even and most importantly, informative as his TV program with the added convenience of it being a book. Loaded with easily understandable metaphors and simple graphic illustrations (but no photos... except on the cover, of course), his is not a book to buy for new recipes (although ...more
Irvin Sha
Mar 07, 2011 Irvin Sha rated it liked it
A fine book that does a decent job discussing some of the underlying science behind cooking. That being said, it's a little on the simple side, mainly focusing on the transference of heat from cooking implements to food (e.g. Maillard reactions, etc.) While this is useful, it doesn't exactly lead to any earth-shattering changes in the way you cook. You figure out that certain materials are better for cooking with (e.g. cast-iron > aluminum). Maybe you'll start seasoning your food a little ear ...more
Apr 18, 2011 Libby rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: food
I haven't finished this yet but I have a good sense of it and I plan to finish it. This is not really a traditional cookbook. It does have recipes, but that's not really the main point. He breaks cooking down into different methods of heating things (grill, boil, braise, etc) and talks about each of those methods. I really like the scientific explanations- often on the molecular level. This is just what I need to help me become a better chef, and really understand how to cook. Also, I have never ...more
Eric Bridges
Jul 23, 2009 Eric Bridges rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone wanting to learn how to cook
If anyone told me that they wanted to learn how to cook, and were serious about it, this is probably the first book I would hand them. It's a book that skillfully focuses on basic cooking technique, rather than recipes, which is something that is essential for a beginning cook, but that is sadly lacking in the cookbook world. And not just technique about proper cutting and storing (although it does have that), but even more importantly why things cook the way they do and what is actually happeni ...more
May 17, 2012 Joy rated it it was amazing
This is more than just a cookbook. This is a blueprint of culinary knowledge! How often have you read a cookbook and truly learned from it? Instead of merely following instructions (or recipe) this book, THIS BOOK teaches you to make your own instructions!

Much like his television show (Good Eats), this book talks a lot about the why's of cooking. It presents the science behind food in an understandable and fun way littered with wit and humour. It tells you why doing certain things make your food
Aug 11, 2011 Jeff rated it really liked it
I've always been a big fan of "Good Eats". And this book is one of his supplements to the series, primarily explaining and demonstrating how heat works with food. Each section focuses on a different method of hot food preparation, He discusses broiling, boiling, grilling, sauteeing, and many others. And there are recipes, a few of which I tried. They were easy to follow and delicious.

I checked this one out from the library. As soon as I can, I'd like a copy for myself. It would make a great refe
Melissa Riley
Jul 04, 2016 Melissa Riley rated it really liked it
From Mr. Food Science himself, this book focuses on the explanation and analyzation of cooking techniques. It's not so much a recipe book as a textbook, but vastly more entertaining. Alton's dry, sarcastic humor paired with his extensive knowledge and powers of explanation make this book a must-read for anyone even remotely interested in cooking. His tips and recipes are down-to-earth and easily accessible, using commonplace items and ingredients (unlike several other cookbooks I've read by "fam ...more
Eugene Mah
Sep 24, 2010 Eugene Mah rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cooking
This is a book about cooking techniques, rather than recipies. It's organized by cooking method, rather than ingredients like most other cookbooks. There are a lot of cookbooks out there full of nothing but recipies, but many of them don't say anything about the different methods to prepare food. AB also goes into some of the how's and why's of the different preparation methods. afraid to broil? never poached anything? roasts turn out like lumps of coal? deep fried stuff ends up grease laden? Yo ...more
Nicole Hogan
Feb 29, 2008 Nicole Hogan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cooking rocks, especially when it's cooking the scientific way! The best thing about this cook book is the chapter set up. Rejecting the canonical cook book set up of soup, poultry, meat, seafood, and dessert, Brown organizes his book by cooking method i.e. grilling, searing, roasting, braising. The best thing is that once you understand the pro's and con's of each method (which is accompanied by cheerily colored diagrams - and who doesn't love a good diagram) you can freely apply the cooking me ...more
Mar 11, 2010 Mary rated it really liked it
I'm only on page 80, but I'm already itching to review and debating whether 4 stars is enough. I've laughed out loud (literally) probably once every two or three pages. There is something in me that will always love reveling in geekery. (Yes, that's a word). Brown is witty, and he explains cooking elements that my elementary mind can grasp, using the nerd terms I already understand. Really, I had such high hopes for 'Ratio', but it was written with a base knowledge I don't have yet, and taught m ...more
Jennifer Burke
Jan 20, 2010 Jennifer Burke rated it it was amazing
Shelves: food
I am admittedly a "Good Eats" super-fan so I'm naturally pro-Alton and his books -- but quite simply this is one of the best cookbooks to own. It's core is explaining why a recipe or method is the way it is and why to do something a particular way for a particular result. Rather crucial kitchen lessons and ones most cookbooks never bother with, or assume anyone who can stir or turn on a burner must be able to handle -- which is wrong. So this is part science, part home ec, part uber recipes, and ...more
Jun 24, 2014 Nate rated it it was amazing
Shelves: food
This book changed the way I think about cooking. The emphasis of A.B.'s book isn't on recipes (though there are a lot of fantastic ones in here), it's more about technique and cooking knowledge. How to cook different ways, what foods benefit most from certain methods, understanding the science behind cooking. The book is not intended to be opened for the first time 20 minutes before dinner to find a "quick and easy recipe." This is a book that teaches you HOW to cook so that you can apply the kn ...more
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Alton Brown is an American food personality, cinematographer, author, and actor. He is the creator and host of the Food Network television show Good Eats, the miniseries Feasting on Asphalt and the main commentator on Iron Chef America.
Brown received a degree in drama from the University of Georgia. He first worked in cinematography and film production, and was the director of photography on the m
More about Alton Brown...

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“The most underused tool in the kitchen is the brain. I blame the food media (yes, that of which I am a part) who have lulled us into a state of recipe slavery. We don’t think about recipes as much as we perform them.” 2 likes
“Red Flannel Hash” 0 likes
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