On an extremely seasonal warm fall day in New York City at the Penguin Random House headquarters, Members of the Press and die-hard fans await the arrival for Alton Brown for the official kick off of his new cook book tour. As Brown enters the room, his presence is a cross between MacGyver and James Bond and before even one word was spoken, we knew this book launch party was going to be one for the books.
It was now official, Celebrity Chef Alton Brown had returned to the scene of cookbooks. Making all our childhood dreams and adult fantasies come true by bringing back the basics to the kitchen and making cooking fun again with his new cookbook “EVERYDAYCOOK.” When asked why it took him 5 years to write his latest cookbook, his response was simple, “I was living life” said Brown. But don’t think for a moment that Brown was sitting in a lounge chair blissfully sipping on latte enjoying those 5 years. Brown is a confessed workaholic and has given us shows like “Cutthroat” and his live stage shows during those 5 years. Brown who talked about giving his mother his new cookbook for the first time jokingly stated that his mom judges the success of his cookbook by his weight gain, and from what we all can tell, this is definitely, an extremely good cookbook, about 15 pounds worth.
“EVERYDAYCOOK” is not an overly pretentious cookbook, all of the ingredients are easily accessible and you probably already have most, if not all, of the ingredients in your kitchen. But, I suggest that you read the cookbook as you would any regular book first. I’m writing this from the perspective of a die-hard cook, there is probably not a gadget I don’t own or is not on my Christmas wish list for my local Home Depot. With that said, unless you are a die-hard cook, you may not have some of the kitchen equipment called for some of these recipes. For example, one of my favorite comfort food gets an Alton Brown makeover where the bread crumbs are replaced with potato chips as the binding ingredient in meatloaf. Oh yeah, the meatloaf also has a date with a smoker, hence the title of this recipe “Smoky the Meat Loaf.” But never fear Brown provides you with an alternative, a broiler pan in the oven if you don’t have a smoker.
As he takes a sip of his glass of wine Brown states “I enjoy making the Breakfast Carbonara.” The Breakfast Carbonara happens to be the first recipe in the cookbook. Not convince that I would actually enjoy pasta, eggs, sausage, and toast in a one dish, I’ve now made it several times and have to admit, it really does deserve an award.
There is no particular order to this cookbook, just recipes divided by the time of day, that Brown enjoys to eat. Probably the first glimpse of what Alton Brown is really like when he doesn’t have to create recipes for a show or a cookbook tied into a show. This cookbook is pure Alton Brown, like pages out of a diary. Mad Scientist or pure cooking genius, call him what you like, but there is definitely a method to his madness. There are some extremely finger licking good recipes and others like “Hot Saltine Hack” that makes you go…hmmm, but still extremely fun to make. But Alton Brown didn’t write this cookbook for me or you, he wrote it as an extension of himself, the man behind the chef, the television personality, and the author, who walks around with potato chips in his briefcase and owns a car named Klaus, all briefly summed up in 256 pages and 102 of his favorite recipes. For some, the title “EVERYDAYCOOK” might be misleading, but for others like myself, we wouldn’t expect anything less of the celebrity chef.
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