Cookbook Reviews

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Cookbook Reviews

I'm Just Here for More Food: Food x Mixing + Heat = Baking

by Alton Brown

Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 336 pp., $32.50

Alton Brown is best known for his Food Network show Good Eats, but, for those who haven't seen him, he's closer to Mr. Wizard than Julia Child. As you might guess from the book's subtitle, his fascination is with heat. In his last book, I'm Just Here for the Food, Brown explained how to hook a blow-dryer up to a Weber grill for supercharging the coals, and how to use the burner from a turkey fryer to give you a jet-engine blaze for a wok. In his new work, he's calmed down a little and has focused his creativity not just on the recipes, but also on the design of the book. I'm Just Here for More Food is divided into mixing methods, with chapters on biscuits, muffins, straight doughs, modified doughs, creaming, egg foams, and custards. With one of those "why didn't I think of that" touches, each section has a small fold-out tab with the shortcut basics for the method positioned so they sit next to the ingredient list when you fold it over on a page. The book has an ample number of recipes, but it's really more about technique and science. Brown was named Cooking Teacher of the Year by Bon Appétit and has been hired by the labs at Los Alamos to train them in how to make complicated concepts simple. I'm Just Here for More Food takes one of the most knotty areas of cooking and makes it delightfully straightforward. For anyone who's interested in baking, even an expert, this book offers an enormous amount of useful and fascinating information.

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