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I have a confession. For the 13-some odd years I’ve had a copy of Alton Brown’s first book, I’m Just Here For the Food, it’s lived more than half its life in my downstairs bookcase. I haven’t cooked from it religiously. I think I made the chili once. Already in the 10 days I’ve had his latest, EveryDayCook, I’ve made roasted chickpeas; Thanksgiving salad with roasted carrots, parsnips and quinoa; and TWO batches of pizza dough, while earmarking half a dozen more.
EveryDayCook is Alton Brown’s most accessible collection of recipes yet – less about the science and more about what’s good to eat every day.
Make no mistake, this book isn’t about shortcuts or 30-minute meals. The techniques can be simple, roasting chickpeas, for example, but Alton brings in sumac and cayenne to season them. In EveryDayCook, Alton is broadening horizons in more subtle ways, while keeping things simple and delicious.
You can look at the list of dishes I’ve made so far and say, psssh, I can Google that or figure it out myself. But as usual with Alton, the devil is in the details. And that’s the reason to buy this book. There’s a level of consideration that’s gone into each recipe that you need to experience for yourself before going off script. I generally use cookbooks as a reference rather than a strict guide, but on first make, I’ll follow the recipe as written. Find out what Alton Brown intended for you, then decide if you want to make it something else next time.
Alton came through Seattle earlier this week with a stop at Costco in the ‘burbs, and a more intimate event at the University Bookstore. As I was standing in line waiting to buy a book for my mom, a man in a line over was trying to explain Alton Brown and what he’s given the home cook. Even if you know Alton as the host on Next Food Network Star or Cutthroat Kitchen, there are still a lot of people who think of him as the Good Eats guy. The man next to me summed it up, “He’s the Bill Nye of cooking.”
And boy, is it good to have some new food from him.