To say Whole Foods downtown is a hot spot for Sunday morning brunch is an understatement. From ladies lunching after church to power couples taking a break with their pups from a run on Lady Bird Lake, WFM downtown is a the Sunday place to be… Especially if the weather is nice as it was this past Sunday, and even more so when the hot cup of Joe you’re nursing is in anticipation of meeting Alton Brown. He was in town for a book signing of his newly released cookbook, Good Eats, the Early Years, and I managed an invite to the media preview event, complete with a fresh copy of the book for signing.
You know, Alton Brown, the quirky Foodie-meets-Mad Scientist Food Network celeb from Good Eats? Or perhaps you’ve seen him narrating the harried hour of slicing, dicing, sautéing, grilling, poaching, steaming, and plating as top chefs duel it out on Iron Chef America? Alton Brown is for cooking what Bill Nye the Science Guy was for kids learning about science. Yes, Good Eats may be high on the cheesiness factor, but no where else have I learned such valuable tidbits. i.e. adding salt to coffee grounds while brewing takes the bitterness out; tomatoes weren’t introduced to Italian cuisine until the 19th Century; or that contrary to popular belief, a real Caesar Salad never contains anchovies, except for what content their may be in the Worcestershire sauce.
I’m happy to say the new cookbook offers many of the same clever tips and helpful history… and it has a whole host of recipes from the first 10 years of the show.
So did I learn anything from the famous food geek? Well, no. Believe it or not, all I was able to manage was a firm handshake and introduction, before my mind went blank and I was, well… star struck. He ended up asking all the questions: Do you like to cook? How long have you been a writer? Who would you like me to sign this book for?
Answer 1: Yes.
Answer 2: As long as I can remember, but professionally for a few years.
Answer 3: Me, of course! ; )
With such a line behind my I figured this wasn’t the time to get up close and personal anyway. But I will say Mr. Brown was all about business, but not in a fussy way. Convivial. Friendly. Even charming. I may not have opened the door to a budding friendship, but I do have a signed copy of his cookbook, and a quick snapshot to document the whole experience. Next time I’ll be more prepared. ; )