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Paperback Alton Brown's Gear for Your Kitchen Book

ISBN: 1584796960

ISBN13: 9781584796961

Alton Brown's Gear for Your Kitchen

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Format: Paperback

Condition: Very Good

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Book Overview

Dedicated viewers of Alton Brown's acclaimed Food Network show Good Eats know of his penchant for using unusual equipment. He has smoked a salmon in a cardboard box, roasted prime rib in a flowerpot, and used a C-clamp as a nutcracker. Brown isn't interested in novelty, he's just devoted to using the best--and simplest--tool for the job. Alton Brown's Gear For Your Kitchen offers honest, practical advice on what's needed and what isn't, what works...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Informative, Entertaining and Ever So Useful

Don't buy this book if you're looking for recommendations on which brands of applicances to buy -- even Alton Brown would admit that you're better off checking out "Cook's Illustrated" or "Consumer Reports" for that. What this book is brilliant for is the explanations of what the most commonly used kitchen tools do and don't (and can and can't) do and how they work, along with the practical tips for picking the items that suit your needs best. Alton Brown does, from time to time, make specific recommendations, but he tells you why he likes those items so that you can accept or reject them on the merits. Also it should be noted that some of his recommendations run contrary to what he recommends for baking in "I'm Just Here for More Food," so if you bake a lot, you might want to read that book as well before shopping for items such as scales and mixers that are used in both cooking and baking. "Gear For Your Kitchen" covers items used in both, but emphasizes cooking. Alton covers each type of equipment thoroughly, explaining, for instance, what types of pans are good for different types of cooking applications, and what are the various properties of the different materials out of which they are made. So not only do you end up understanding the diffference between a sauce pan and a saucier, you can figure out whether clad metal or copper is your best bet. This same type of treatment is given for knives, small appliances, etc. But my favorite part of the book has to do with sanitation and storage. The explanations of why certain sanitary measures need to be taken are coupled with easy ways to do it. I couldn't get a frozen enchilada smell out of my microwave oven until I mixed water and bleach in the proportions Alton recommends in a plastic spray bottle. So simple and obvious and yet... While reading this (cover to cover in practically one sitting -- it's that readable) I found myself enjoying Alton's humorous descriptions, numerous photos and drawings. But I've found myself going back to the book as a handy reference for ingenious ways to use items I already have and ideas for shopping more intelligently. Since buying this book I've cleared out and reorganized my kitchen and even though I bought a lot more stuff after reading this book, I have more space and am able to use it more efficiently. Thanks Alton!

Three words: buy this book

My fellow reviewers who agreed that this book is worth 5 stars have probably said what I feel better than I could. In a nutshell, this is an excellent resource to have on hand to learn which tools you really need for YOUR kitchen....not Alton's. The six-month "purge" in the beginning of the book is worth the price of the book alone. It's such a simple technique but it's laid out in such logical detail that anyone who does this will know immediately how much space and money they've wasted on kitchen trinkets, cheap and expensive alike. The section on cookware is an excellent resource for people who are scraping by on whatever cookware they got from their mother or from the local superstore. It'll help you choose the cookware (and individual pieces) that are best suited for YOU. I also found his information on cutlery selection to be valuable. Also, Brown doesn't automatically lean toward the idea that "expensive is better". In fact, he seems refreshingly honest when he tells you that superior tools can often be bought cheaper than at a restaurant supply store. One example is that he opts to use a trowel from the local hardware store rather than buy an expensive "pie server" from one of the houseware vendors. In other areas, he's candid enough to say, "Hey, this is going to last you a lifetime and if you buy the cheapo, you're going to regret it." Overall, I thought it was refreshingly honest, thorough and -- well, just plain fun to read. Regarding the the person who said that "$28 was too much" for a book that "wasn't very big", I'm not sure what the complaint was. Although the book is 200+ pages, well-written and wonderfully designed, that's not even the pragmatic point of the book. It's this: knowing the information in this book will save you a heck of alot more than $28 when buying the RIGHT kitchen gear instead of wasting money on stuff you don't need or shouldn't own. If it does that.....well, in my opinion, it's done its job. Plus, even if someone knows alot of this stuff, it's a good gift item for the chef/cook in YOUR life. Buy two and give one as a gift!

I don't like the new Cuisinart either

I'm a hobby cook and also a gadget-junkie, so I was delighted to discover this book by one of my favorite people on the Food Network. Brown covers much more than simply can-openers and veggie-peelers, though. His topical chapters cover pots and pans, storage containers, small miscellaneous utensils, safety items, "sharp things," and "small things with plugs," and perhaps the best way to read the book is to browse from the beginning and then read his descriptions, comments, and opinions on certain items as they come to mind. I'm a regular reader of the consumer tests in COOK'S ILLUSTRATED, too, and I think Brown and Christopher Kimball would agree in many ways on what makes a particular tool useful and what features to look for among the products available. Brown's judgments are admittedly personal but he explains them very clearly. Not everything must be specially purchased, either; he recommends a length of dental floss for cutting slices of soft cheese, and he boils eggs in an electric kettle that automatically turns itself off when it reaches a boil. (Great idea!) The book's page design is also quite nice, with good photos and drawings of the tools he discusses, side discussions and tips highlighted in color, and lots of open space. All his sources appear at the back of the book. I certainly hope he does a revised and updated edition in about five years.

Great Resource for Cooks of Any Caliber

"Gear for your Kitchen" provides a fairly in-depth discussion on the whys and hows of choosing various sorts of kitchen implements, from cutlery to pans to small appliances. Alton Brown uses his sense of humor to help present this information in a book that is truly easy and pleasurable to read. There is another book of this nature, a very large and diverse treatise, which attempts to showcase all the various sorts of kitchen gear available to the home cook. But unlike "Gear" it doesn't provide the information that we really need to choose our cookware.What is great about this book is that in addition to giving actual suggestions of specific products for various sorts of implements, it also goes into great detail to show you how to choose items that will work for you. Brown is careful to highlight areas where paying more money isn't likely in your best interest (e.g. the non-stick fry pans as mentioned in another review, for instance) and where it is (e.g. cutlery). The goal of having the smallest set of kitchen wear to do all the cooking you need to do is a running theme in this book. In addition to a suggested exercise in minimizing your current kitchen implements, there are many suggestions on how you can use items for tasks other than they are intended, instead of buying specialty pieces (e.g. using the bottom of a heavy fry pan in the place of a meat pounder). This book is a great resource for cooks of all sorts, from beginners to those with years of experience. It will make a great gift for those people who are just starting out on their own!

Fine Tune your Kitchen and add fun to your cooking

The top five (5) reasons for reading Alton Brown's GEAR For Your Kitchen are:1. The tabulation of types of `Pots and Pans' materials, their advantages, disadvantages, and relative costs. This chapter alone is worth the price of admission. This section will not save you money except for its advice on non-stick pans. All sources I've seen from Mario Batali to AB agree on not spending a lot for Teflon ® lined pans, except be sure to get them with oven proof handles for making frittatas.2. The thoughtful discussion of knife design and how different design features are important, or not important for different cutting tasks. This section will save you money, unless you are a knife freak.3. The discussion of most major types of gear, which give you the features you should find most desirable. You may not agree with AB's choices, but he tells you how to make the choice which is best for you.4. The essay on kitchen sanitation. This is one of many areas where the home cook can learn from professional chefs' practice. I'll bet that even Martha Stewart is not as careful as Alton recommends, and I plan to begin following his recommendations immediately. Note that one can make a little game of finding all the oblique references to Martha Stewart in the book. I've found four (4).5. The explanation of accuracy versus precision in evaluating measuring devices, especially weighing devices. Being a former chemist, I would argue that AB gives too little credit to the role of the balance, although I concede that using it in the kitchen does require both extra space and special knowledge the average chef may not have.To the book's credit, it has a wealth of references to actual makes and models, while I have detected no bias to any one manufacturer, in spite of some gratuitous general kudos to OXO. AB's opinions are based on a thorough and thoughtful use of kitchen tools over many years, so his opinions are much better than your Aunt Ida, no matter how good her apple pie may be. However, I take some with a grain of salt. I would not dismiss springform pans unless I heard both Maida Heatter and Nick Malgieri gave them up.Another minor nit I would pick is in his use of the term multitasking. In computer science, where the word was born, it means the ability to do two things in parallel, not two different things in series! I would especially disagree with some of the uses to which he puts a rolling pin, as some secondary uses may lead to nicks which may harbor microbeasties and impair it function. The solution of sanding said roller may give it an uneven shape. Tsk Tsk.This book is much better than his first, since it addresses in a comprehensive way a subject which is only dealt with in a very piecemeal way by any other source, including Cooks Illustrated. His first book was just another collection of recipes with humor and some (occasionally) misleading science.
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