Please enjoy a post from the Father-in-Law.

Belt RW

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.

DSC_0977 RW

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.

Dirty Veggies RW

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.

– Father-in-Law

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?


  1. I love Alton! He’s a bit cerebral and actually knows more about food than how to take a picture of it or yell at reality show contestants, so I enjoy him (although “Cutthroat Kitchen” is still kind of a weird show to me.) Anyway, that’s so cool that you got to hear him talk and spent some time around him. I would like to see a few different celebrity chefs, just for craps and giggles–Rachael Ray, as annoying as she is, simply because she’s built such an empire; Rocco DiSpirito because he’s hot, Michael Simon because he’s funny, etc.

    As for chicken parts, as a vegan, I think you know my reply 😉

    • Thanks for the comment Abby. I became a fan of Alton’s through his motorcycling series a few years ago “Feasting On Asphalt”. If it has motorcycles and roadside hamburger joints in it count me in! Also, since I am an engineer his knowledge of science and the periodic table always appealed to me. A local newspaper reviewer found fault with his singing ability. Since this wasn’t billed as a concert, I thought Alton did a great job by incorporating his love of music into the show.

  2. I haven’t heard of Alton, so maybe he hasn’t broken into the vast Canadian market yet (although I don’t watch many food shows). Loved your post! Hadn’t heard from FIL in a while. Chicken feet are on my list!

    • Thanks Ann. Actually, I thought octopus suction cups would be on your menu too!

      • Obv I was tired when I wrote that comment without mentioning the suction cups. I wonder if they’d stick people’s mouths together like peanut butter? Now you know what my tentacles will be searching for next at my weird grocery store

  3. That sounds like a funny show! I laughed out loud from the stories. I have never eaten chicken feet, but they are pretty scary looking. 🙂 I think Jacques Pepin is my favorite celebrity chef. He makes everything sound both easy and fancy at the same time.

    • Hi Aly, Alton did have some good stories. He even took a sideways swipe at Rachael Ray during the show. He was looking for some cooking oil on a table on the stage and said “oh no, I’m out of EVOO, Rachael will never speak to me again.”