Alton Brown

Cookery to me is more then just receipts and ingredients.  There are so many aspects to understanding food.  Alton Brown is one of those chefs that takes a look at those ingredients and shares as he explores the many aspects of a particular food or receipt.

Mom's 123

My mother, son and I went to see Alton Brown a few Wednesdays past at the Smithsonian.  We were unsure what his book tour lecture would be like.  We were pretty sure whatever it would be it wouldn’t be disappointing, and we were correct.  We were laughing so hard while also being reminding what food is and should be.  Unlike the woman in the front center row, I did not take notes, shame on me.  But I can tell you he is not a foody but is passionate about how food and cooking is perceived.  His book tour is “10 Things about Food  I Feel Pretty Darn Sure About”.  Like one was how we need to stop and think, remember our children’s perceptions of food is how and what we expose to them.  He never said if he is part of the slow food movement but he definitely speaks like he is.

As a food historian or historical cook, we always must think of what food is in season, what foods are available and how to obtain it when preparing for an event or lecture.  However, as a modern eater, I can walk into a grocery store and find items all year long that 50+ years ago were only found seasonally and not think twice.  But is it good for us?  Alton made me think.  Should I not live seasonally even when able to get strawberries all year round.  Would it not be better for me?

With my love of historical cookery, my son has been exposed to things that most kids haven’t.  He knows where his food comes from and how it is cooked.  I loved when Alton talked about “chicken fingers”.  We as a society have distanced ourselves from our foods’ origins.   Adults know that “chicken fingers”  are not made from the fingers of chickens, but when faced with a live chicken and told that it will be dinner, I believe many would forgo.  In a world where we have been sanitized from the down and dirty parts of the food process we have also lost the truly integral part of food.  That is the gratefulness.  I believe that food has been taken for granted much like air.  I too am as guilty of this.  The generations that came before us who struggled for just one meal would wish that we understood more how precious ingredients can be.   I have tried in my lectures to never sugar coat the squeamish parts of food history, like butchering.  Do I like butchering?  Well no, but I accept it as a part of food and am thankful that there are those who are able to do it for me know.

Alton has lost weight.  He looks fabulous.  One of the 10 things he spoke about is eating slower.  The slow cooking movement is about taking time with making the food but also about enjoying it.  Eating used to be a social thing.  Great Banquets with many food courses and entertainment would span some hours.  Not that I am proposing that we have great banquets but that we take time.  Alton did say one of the things that helped him loose his weight was slowing down his eating process.   Eating slow helps you feel fuller faster.  Now, I am a fast eater, always have been.  My husband is a slow eater.  I am finished way before he has eaten half of his dinner.  So, I have for sometime now tried to eat slower then he does…try as I might, I have never succeeded, till last night!  Food is needed to survive but social contact is needed to thrive.  Those banquets were for socializing and keeping alliances.  We can use the slower times to eat to rekindle our alliances with our family and friends and who knows maybe take off a few pounds.

Alton Brown talked about a few more things but like I said I didn’t takes notes.  Plus, this lets you go see his book tour to find out the rest.

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Published in: on November 15, 2009 at 10:21 am  Comments (2)