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

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  21,174 ratings  ·  267 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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Average rating 4.12  · 
Rating details
 ·  21,174 ratings  ·  267 reviews


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Kathrina
Jul 02, 2012 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
Ron Davis
Mar 20, 2008 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
...more
Max
Jan 17, 2008 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.
Robyn
Jul 14, 2012 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
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Lindsey Duncan
Mar 17, 2013 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
Raine
Feb 28, 2013 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
Jacob
Jan 06, 2008 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
Gregj
Nov 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
I think I'm a pretty decent cook, but that doesn't mean I know what I'm doing. This books attempts to bridge the gap between relying on recipes vs allowing you to decide how you want to cook a food given a broad array of techniques. (searing, braising, sauteing, ect) The book is set up like some cooking school textbooks that I have seen, but keeps things as simple as possible.

This book definitely helped me, and best of all, I now know what areas I need to focus on order to continue to get bette
...more
Amy
Apr 04, 2013 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!
Jaime
Apr 02, 2016 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. ...more
Greta Stough
Apr 14, 2008 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.
Tessa
Jul 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I 100% loved this book. I need to buy a copy for reference purposes. I would highly recommend this for anyone who wants to be able to cook without recipes and understand the science behind cooking.
Nicole
Jan 15, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: cookbooks
Searing: 6/6 Recipes (2.67/5)
Skirt Steak (3/5)
Cast-Iron Duck (3/5)
Red Flannel Hash (2/5)
Bar-B-Fu (1/5)
Blackened Steak Tuna (4/5)
Pan-Seared Portobello Mushrooms (3/5)

Roasting: 4/6 Recipes (3.5/5)
Roast Turkey (4/5)
A Perfect Baked Potato (4/5)
Meatload (1/5)
Slow-Roast Tomatoes (5/5)

Frying: 5/14 Recipes
Batter Up (2/5)
Chip Chop (1/5)
Calamari Crunch (4/5)
Chicken in Garlic and Shallots (3/5)
Miller Thyme Trout
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.

Heather-Staff
Ariadna73
Nov 15, 2015 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.
(a)lyss(a)
Mar 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Recipes are written to that if you follow them to the letter the dish will succeed."

My biggest complaint about this book is there aren't nearly enough pictures showing us what things are or what the products of the recipes given should look like.

That being said this is my favorite cook book I've picked up so far. Alton Brown focuses on teaching us how to cook - not just read a recipe. By understanding when you use blanching vs. broiling vs. grilling vs. convection you move past going through s
...more
Michael McCain
I love Alton. This book is a mess.
It's not marketed as a cookbook, so I'm not reviewing it as one (I haven't tried the recipes, either). He says at the beginning that he seeks to give the reader a map to understand food, and with this as the goal, he fails. Explanations of food science are convoluted with non-intuitive examples. The illustrations are terrible. Maybe all the asides work well in the physical book, but in the ebook they are criminally bad, interrupting whatever flow a section might
...more
Sam
Dec 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm a science nerd when it comes to cooking, and Alton Brown is like like a Stephen Hawking for the kitchen! He has a lot of recipes throughout the book, but his explanations of WHY you are doing things like lightly planning a later of oil to the meat and WHY you wait 5 minutes after salting your dish that were the most compelling parts of the book for me. Filled with descriptive illustrations and tips on every page, this book helped shine a light on all the cooking methods and really boosted my ...more
Bridget
May 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
For those just getting started in cooking, or want to start cooking the right way, this is a great place. He explains the science behind cooking and breaks down the basics for you. There are some good simple recipes in there, and Alton Brown is informative, succinct, and very funny.

Highly recommended!
Julieanne
Dec 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
When I discovered that Alton Brown's cookbooks were actually fun and engaging just like his show, it made cooking more fun. Many of the recipes in this book while difficult for a beginner, taste incredibly good. There are also fantastic food facts and cooking hints. It is like reading a massive episode of Good Eats!
Joanne
Apr 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019-challenge
This is a great book for cooking geeks and fans of Alton Brown! While not quite the classic Harold McGee cooking chemistry reference, Brown covers the hows and (importantly) the whys of all the main cooking techniques, including roasting, grilling, braising, searing, and (not to omit) microwaving. Fun to read and he includes a few recipes that highlight each technique.
Heather Jackson
May 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
I love Alton Brown and this book was great. I expected the recipes to be harder to follow but most was quiet simple. A few of the recipes we did not like at all and I followed the directions to a t. I really wish he would write a kid friendly cookbook.
Paige Fritsche
Jul 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I have been a fan of Alton Brown's scientific approach to cooking for many years. This book was a great resource to read through different applications of heat to food. I learned more about cooking and have made the Scampi 2.0 a new staple in our home.
Susan LoVerso
May 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Learned so much. I love steaming eggs based on this book. But I'm an AB fangirl.
Shannon
Jun 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I love his simple scientific approach to cooking and baking.
Clifford
I enjoy Alton Brown. This cookbook didn't disappoint me. Good explanations to go along with good recipes.
Daniel
Mar 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Nothing like AB's unique mix of science, food anthropology and humor.
Bruce
Jan 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Typical Alton Brown, humor, science and great recipes. Down to earth and a fun read
Andy Plonka
Oct 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: src
While I gave up cooking in 1998 when my youngest child went off to college, I enjoyed's Browns lighthearted approach to the culinary arts.
Jacqlyn Coffman
Feb 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Love Alton Brown love how he explains things I just get him
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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
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