Sunday, January 20, 2008

Monday Night Good Eats: True Brew IV and American Slicer

Monday night features True Brew IV and, if you missed it the other week, American Slicer. True Brew IV covers making chicken stock, which is a good foundation episode for any cook. American Slicer, however, falls a bit short on its task.

Slicer starts out promising to teach core knife skills, but becomes awkward and, in my opinion,
unfinished. Sure basic cutting techniques are there, slicing, chopping, chiffonade, etc., but key points are left out. For example, he doesn't cover anything about knife sharpening or shopping for a knife; though I did spot an Alton Angle in one scene. The awkwardness comes in two
varieties; the first is the poorvoice over quality in some of POV scenes where the tone of his voice and volume are off. He sounded either bored or annoyed in the voice overs . The second, as Lewis from Table Bread pointed out, is where the action comes to a halt and directs you to the Food Network website to find the recipes. It's not the information little intermissions with catchy music that Good Eats fans are used to and throws the flow out of whack. This show really could have been done as either an hour long episode or in two parts.

P.S. If you love to bake stop by Table Bread. Lewis has some great articles, and lots of baking action shots, over there.


Lewis said...

Your absolutely right about American Slicer. I swear if they would have panned the camera back a little bit they would have found some Food Network Execs holding a gun to AB's head with a copy of his contract in their hands!

And thanks for the shoutout!

dave in Rocha said...

Wow, I couldn't disagree more with you about American Slicer. I thought he went about it as well as possible. He already covered knife shopping and sharpening before, and because there was so much to fit into the episode it didn't make sense to go in depth on existing recipes that are knife-centric.

As someone who hasn't had formal culinary training (like 97% of his audience), I'm usually somewhat mystified by the magical appearance of uniformly chopped/sliced/julienned/whatever ingredients, or the incredible ease of which Alton (and every other cooking show host as well) can carve up whatever he needs to. Actually being shown, step-by-step, how to go about doing these cuts was great to see. It was perhaps his most informative and instructional show in years.