"I think cooking is a lot of fun and I hate to see people not having fun doing it just because they don't have the right tools--which is not to say they need the prettiest, best, most expensive tools. They just need the tools that are right for them." Such is the organizing principle of Alton Brown's Gear for Your Kitchen
by the selfsame Alton Brown, star of Food Network's Good Eats
as well as award-winning author of I'm Just Here for the Food
. It's an interesting, effective principle. It comes from a guy who serves pie with a four-dollar mortar trowel he picked up at the hardware store.
Brown's opening challenge is a 60-day, four phase process of ridding your kitchen of all things unused and insignificant--easy on the surface, but tough in the doing. That leaves room for essential gear. And to help make those choices, Brown looks at pots and pans, sharp things (not just knives, but graters, mandolins, and cheese slicers, too), small things with plugs (as in small appliances--from food processors to coffee makers to deep fat fryers), kitchen tools unplugged (those items that fill drawers), storage and containment, and safety and sanitation.
If this were just an encyclopedia, what an unwholesome bore it would be. But Brown turns this relevant information into a romp. He's talking about the tools he uses, after all, and has no fear of naming likes and dislikes--based on his own experience. He also includes unending side chatter about cutting corners, saving money, and actually putting good tools to work. You'll find recipes throughout, and techniques, too. Like, how to bake a chicken in a flower pot. If you wonder why you would even want to attempt it in the first place, Brown clues you in. Alton Brown's Gear for Your Kitchen is about as guilt free as pleasure will ever get. --Schuyler Ingle
From Publishers Weekly
Best known for his Good Eats program on the Food Network, Brown has all the colander knowledge, marketing savvy and geeky male appeal to whip up a big hit from this unwieldy but very fun macropedia of gadgetry. Splashing the word "gear" across the cover in capital letters is clearly an appeal to the male shopper. Descriptions of every conceivable pan, peeler and propane torch get their due in entries ranging from a few sentences to a few pages, depending on which items Brown considers to be absolute necessities or which are just cool to have around. (As Brown is a self-confessed java-holic, the extensive overview of coffeemakers reads as a labor of love.) There are Mr. Science type explorations of topics such as, "Why Eggs Stick So Bad," and "The Proper Way to Pack a Cooler." One hundred photographs and another 100 illustrations make sense of what, for example, a nylon fish turner or an immersion blender looks like. Lost in the mix are 25 random recipes ranging from Icebox Bran Muffins to Potato Leek Soup. Brown does his own photography but designers Galen Smith and Amy Trombat deserve credit. The layout and graphics, replete with faux handwriting in the margins and arrowed lines zipping through the text are part 1950s Sears catalogue gone art deco, part coffee-table book for George and Judy Jetson.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.