Please enjoy a post from the Father-in-Law.
I recently attended Alton Brown’s show “The Incredible Edible Tour” which played at our local university’s beautiful new performing arts center (which even though I taught there for thirty-five years was NOT named after me – but that’s another post). All eleven hundred seats were sold out, showing the popularity of this Food Network star. Most people became fans when his “Good Eats” show aired, then as host of “Iron Chef America” he added even more admirers.
Since I don’t consider myself a foodie fan of slicing and dicing weird and unpronounceable substances, I was a bit worried that I would be in for an evening of close-camera shots of sauteing octopus suction cups. Not to worry – Alton’s blend of scientific humor, surprisingly good musical talents, and comedic stage props kept me entertained throughout the two hour show (with one intermission).
The show was based upon a list of “Ten Things I’m Pretty Sure I Think I Know About Food”, several songs he wrote about food (playing guitar and saxophone) with two other musicians, and two cooking experiments using giant inventions which made jet powered ice cream and baked pizza.
His many hilarious stories included one where, as a beginning baker in a fancy Atlanta bakery, ruined one hundred and fifty pounds of dough early one morning. In order to hide this from his boss who hadn’t arrived yet, he carried it out to a dumpster in three garbage bags behind the store. Several hours later in the hot Atlanta sun, the dough had risen to fill the entire dumpster and oozed out over the sides of it (the story now having an accompanying video of yeast sock puppets on a giant overhead screen with much burping and flatulence).
Several of the things on his top ten list included things like “Chickens Don’t Have Fingers”. A pet peeve of his is his daughter always wanting to eat chicken fingers when he has told her repeatedly that they really don’t have fingers. She asked him to prepare them for a sleep-over she had once while in the fifth grade so he went to a Korean meat market in Atlanta and bought two dozen chicken feet. He boiled them (leaving the toenails on them in case the girls wanted to use them as toothpicks when they were finished eating) and presented them with a flourish (presentation is EVERYTHING) to a group of shrieking girls. He received four phone calls the next day from angry mothers of traumatized little girls.
Another item on his list was “Buy American Food”. He is not a believer in oranges from Chile or veggies from China. The United States has better quality control and if you eat seasonal foods there’s no need to ever buy foreign food.
He’s also surprisingly against paying more for organic and free range food (unless you’re a farmer doing all of this yourself). His reasoning is that these definitions are still rather vague and people sell all kinds of stuff with these labels just to get a bit deeper into your wallet.
His most important point of the whole evening was “The Most Important Thing In A Kitchen Is The Table”. Food is about bringing people together to enjoy it. Friends and family gathered around the table will create more lasting memories than anything even the most accomplished cook can prepare.
So, for a thoroughly enjoyable evening find a venue close to you while Alton’s still on tour. Just don’t ask for chicken fingers.
For more posts by The Father-in-Law, please check out The Old Man Cave.
Question of the Day: Who is your favorite celebrity chef? Would you rather eat chicken fingers or chicken feet?