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Alton Brown's Gear for Your Kitchen [Hardcover]

Alton Brown
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Oct. 1 2003
Dedicated viewers of Alton Brown's acclaimed Food Network show Good Eats know of his penchant for using unusual equipment. He has smoked a salmon in a cardboard box, roasted prime rib in a flowerpot, and used a C-clamp as a nutcracker.

Brown isn't interested in novelty, he's just devoted to using the best-and simplest-tool for the job. Alton Brown's Gear For Your Kitchen offers honest, practical advice on what's needed and what isn't, what works and what doesn't. His advice: You only need three knives, but they are a lifetime investment. And don't bother with that famous countertop grill-it doesn't get hot enough to properly sear.

In his signature science-guy style, Brown begins with advice on kitchen layout and organization, then gets to the lowdown on these cooking elements: Big Things with Plugs; Pots and Pans; Sharp Things; The Tool Box; Small Things with Plugs; Storage and Containment; and Safety and Sanitation. Along the way he delves deep into kitchen science and appliance history and legend. Included are 25 brand-new recipes that employ featured gear.

Alton Brown's Gear For Your Kitchen is essential for all of his fans-and anyone who wants a good guide to great kitchen gear.


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"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.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Alton Hits It Again July 3 2004
Format:Hardcover
Whether or not you agree with Alton Brown on every point he makes, you have to admit that he is not shy about giving his opinion, often in the face of generations of contrary tradition. Alton believes in multi-tasking, and he has a point; in my kitchen, most likely in yours, 20 percent of the implements do 80 percent of the work. Even in the most capacious kitchens, space comes at a premium. Ever injure yourself clattering through a drawer-full of this and that? You get my point. Kitchen tools and implements need to earn their stripes in terms of both quality and utility. For this reason, Alton's great taxonomy in "Gear" lays out an extremely useful framework, if anything, to avoid buying something expensive and needless. The serious cook cannot help but disagree with something Alton propounds, and yet still benefit from the depth of his viewpoint. This is an important culinary work, and a good read as well.
Food writer Elliot Essman's other reviews and food articles are available at [...]
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5.0 out of 5 stars I don't like the new Cuisinart either June 29 2004
Format:Hardcover
I'm a hobby cook and also a gadget-junkie, so I was delighted to discover this book by one of my favorite people on the Food Network. Brown covers much more than simply can-openers and veggie-peelers, though. His topical chapters cover pots and pans, storage containers, small miscellaneous utensils, safety items, "sharp things," and "small things with plugs," and perhaps the best way to read the book is to browse from the beginning and then read his descriptions, comments, and opinions on certain items as they come to mind. I'm a regular reader of the consumer tests in COOK'S ILLUSTRATED, too, and I think Brown and Christopher Kimball would agree in many ways on what makes a particular tool useful and what features to look for among the products available. Brown's judgments are admittedly personal but he explains them very clearly. Not everything must be specially purchased, either; he recommends a length of dental floss for cutting slices of soft cheese, and he boils eggs in an electric kettle that automatically turns itself off when it reaches a boil. (Great idea!) The book's page design is also quite nice, with good photos and drawings of the tools he discusses, side discussions and tips highlighted in color, and lots of open space. All his sources appear at the back of the book. I certainly hope he does a revised and updated edition in about five years.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Must-Have June 10 2004
Format:Hardcover
Nominated this year for another James Beard Award (for Tools and Techniques), Alton Brown has yet another gem for all to enjoy, "Gear For Your Kitchen". In this wonderful gem, Alton Brown explains how you can declutter your kitchen within 60 days and stock your kitchen with useful tools that you will actually use!
As any "Good Eats" fan will tell you, Alton Brown believes in "multi-taskers." His logic is: Why have a yogurt maker when you only use it once a year? Instead, he shows us, on one of his shows, how he utilizes a heating pad and a couple of canisters to achieve the same results.
Not only does he suggest unusual items for your kitchen (a cigar cutter to chop chives), but he also recommends traditional items. He explains the process with which one should consider before purchasing any item. He does explain how he chose that certain coffee maker, but he explains how we need to figure out which one is best for us.
Being as he is forever in search of a great utensil or appliance, he is quick to point out which items are more difficult to clean, and not worth buying, and which ones are worth buying. In the section devoted purely to pots and pans, he explains each metal used for cooking, the best uses for that metal, how to care for it and the good and bad points with each metal.
Instead of purchasing that expensive imported terra-cotta cookware, he suggests (with diagrams) on how to create your own cookware from flowerpots...I mean, they are both made from the same material. Why pay more because one says "cookware"?
And he doesn't stop there. He also helps his readers by helping them select safety and sanitation supplies for their kitchens!
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By A. Ryan
Format:Hardcover
You're going to wish you had this book years ago, before you spent all that money on gadgets that got tossed into the junk drawer only to get used once a year. You'll wish you'd had it before you selected all the wrong things on your wedding registry. But when you look back ten years from now and add up all the money, time and aggravation you've saved after following the advice in Gear For Your Kitchen, you'll get that little smile that only comes with the special joy of smugness. And after all, you will have one kick-a** (and uncluttered) kitchen!
Author, director and chef Alton Brown brings his trademark bottom-line style to GFYK. To make it easier to use as a spot reference, it is divided into sections: Pots and Pans, Sharp Things, Small Things with Plugs, Kitchen tools Unplugged, Storage and Containment, and Safety and Sanitation. The short introduction at the beginning orients the reader to some guidelines about organizing, how to decide an item's keep-or-toss value, and rules that will keep you grounded in reality as you shop (and less likely to fall for sales ploys). A good sample quote on knife salesjargon: "If I'm getting ready to go into battle, I'd almost certainly want my sword to be full tang, but if the most violent task I'm to encounter is cutting through a chicken, I can think of about six characteristics of a knife that are more important." This section alone redeems the book's cover price very quickly.
What really makes GFYK -- and AB - stand out from others however is the effortless teacherly approach the author takes.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
This book is an excellent guide to select essential items for the kitchen.
Published 2 months ago by Gregory Henderson
5.0 out of 5 stars Read this before you replace any part of your kitchen!
In typical Alton Brown fashion, this book covers a wide variety of topics organized very logically like a textbook. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Amy
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous! Quality time spent with husband...
If you like the show, you'll like the books. Both my spouse and I love to cook, but we're no Julia Childses. Read more
Published on May 19 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic reference tool and very entertaining too!
Alton has done it again! This is a fantastic reference book that every "home-chef" or even an occaisional cook should have in their library. Read more
Published on March 15 2004 by Ken A. Goldenberg
2.0 out of 5 stars Underwhelming and disappointing AB -- better luck next time
I loved AB's first book, "I'm Just Here for the Food" and think his "Good Eats" cable tv show is terrific, but his second book is pretty shoddy. Read more
Published on Jan. 21 2004
4.0 out of 5 stars Cement Trowls and Ray Guns
All-n-all a good book. I found it very useful on many fronts. He got an extra star from me because he uses a Macintosh Powerbook. Read more
Published on Jan. 16 2004 by S. Peterson
2.0 out of 5 stars Not worth the money
Apparently I'm going to be the first person to give this book a less than glowing review. First let's take a look at the (list) price. Read more
Published on Dec 24 2003 by Justus Pendleton
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book for stocking the kitchen
This book may not be quite as useful for the person who has a fully stocked kitchen and is not likely to spend more money, but for the person who is starting the process of... Read more
Published on Nov. 29 2003 by SBR
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Resource for Cooks of Any Caliber
"Gear for your Kitchen" provides a fairly in-depth discussion on the whys and hows of choosing various sorts of kitchen implements, from cutlery to pans to small appliances. Read more
Published on Oct. 12 2003 by neilathotep
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