August 30, 2010
This weekend, while amidst my experiments with adapting AB's Mooless Chocolate Pie to other flavors, I thought of rushing to my iMac and writing about the wonderful outcome this project gave me and how what just happened is, at its very core, everything Alton says he wants viewers to gain from watching Good Eats--more than a recipe but honest to goodness culinary knowledge. I wanted to celebrate this and what my culinary teacher gave me.
That knowledge AB always says he is giving us came to bear with my tofu pie project; however, with everything that has happened recently from his alleged donations to another blog, to his open announcement of his dislike for blogs (calling them tar babies) and the snide comment that we bloggers lack employment has honestly change how I feel about keeping this site. Why bother celebrating someone who thinks what I do is a waste of time, is some sort of trap and is only here to do bad things?
All of the excitement I find in learning and accomplishing something in the kitchen is what makes me want to share with others. Talking about my latest culinary success, thanks to something that AB taught me, was the first and foremost reason behind starting this site. I have loved to cook since I was a kid. I'm a writer at heart and bringing that together was a no-brainer for me. Like AB says he's really a filmmaker at heart and makes little movies about food. Same outlook. Same passion.
Unfortunately, the medium I chose to showcase this is something that Mr. Brown scoffs at and, by that, wrongly believes blogs are lowly, a waste of time his time and operated by people without jobs who are just trying to do bad things.
I'm a food writer, how controversial can I be?
I'm a fan and admire him for doing something he loves, why would I ever want to paint him in a bad light?
I've thought of scraping the whole fansite and turning to just writing about cooking and food on another site, the passion to share cooking successes is still there even if my opinion of Mr. Brown has changed. Being just another food blogger, I could concentrate on cooking and discovering rather than trying to uncover information about him on top of everything else. Truthfully, that uncovering of news made my journalist side ecstatic, still answering the bell even though I’m not a member of the 4th estate by employment.
In not writing for a few days, but still cooking, I have realized how much communicating my love for cooking and telling those stories are something enjoyable and meaningful. But, I realize no matter what I do, how well I do it, because of his shortsightedness Mr. Brown will never see as this site as good. I honestly hoped he would, at the very least, see that and if not change his whole outlook on the blogosphere, change his outlook on one blog run by a fan who admires the heck out of him, learns a lot from his projects and shares a similar passion to communicate that love of cooking and teaching with others.
I'm wasting my time believing that will ever happen.
I have received a lot of emails thanking me for the site and the information about tours dates and shows times. I thank everyone who has written, it is nice to know others appreciate this site. However, if Mr. Brown doesn't see fit to provide that on this own site then why should a lowly blogger do it for him? I know his site lacks information and I have debated if I should keep providing this for fans. I don't know how to answer that since he seems not to care to have his own site updated.
As for the tofu pie experiment, I successfully converted it to a peanut butter pie, which my mom loved because she’s a serious peanut butter junkie. I need an unbiased opinion on it, however, before truly knowing if it was good. I don't trust her, lol. The other flavor, coconut cream, needs a bit more tweeking. The flavor was there but the coconut milk made the base a wee bit loose. I have an idea on how to remedy it. So, another project for another weekend.
August 26, 2010
The festival is October 16 and 17. There's not a date of his appearance but according to the Austin Statesman he will be one of the authors at this year's event.
More on the event in this article.
BTW, debating with one's self is never fun because you can't win! But thankfully I had all day to think about whether to publish the info on this "tar baby" while at that job I have.
I'm still not sure about what will happen for the site, but I do want fans to get this information since it probably won't be on his site for awhile.
August 24, 2010
Anyway, on the second clip of Mr. Brown taking calls (about the 1:25 mark), he started on the topic of blogs/blogging with a caller. Here's the complete list of clips from the show.
There were a few statements that hit home with me:
"It's a complete and utter waste of time."
"Blogging is the tar baby of modern America. You hit and you get stuck in it and pretty soon you're all tangled up in it wasting all of live long day on people who use to have to work but now they stay home and have blogs."
Well, Mr. Brown I am a proud blogger (a writer in actuality). I have a full-time job. And, oh, I am a fan of yours. If not for having said full-time job, I wouldn't be able to effort to buy tickets to your events, your DVDs and your books. So, thanks for saying what you did about all bloggers.
I wish you didn't have this undying prejudiced against everyone with a blog.
I wish you would see that everything has both good and bad, including the blogsphere.
I wish you would look at the other side, Mark Bittman, Michael Ruhlman, Sunny Anderson and Ree Drummond (aka The Pioneer Woman) all have blogs and are working in the food field, do you include them in the blogger riff-raff?
This site started as away to help fans support and celebrate what you do. The fact so many people enjoy it shows that blogs can be good and productive. Unfortunately, Mr. Brown just cannot see that with the blinders he chooses to wear.
Perhaps it is now time to end the site because his constant insults to bloggers, like me, is nothing I wish condone nor hear. At the very least, most certainly is it time stop with posting until I can talk with Mr. Brown about his opinion on blogging at another time.
August 19, 2010
This time, however, must say this knowledge presents a major dilemma for me.
Because I cannot confirm this donation, which, allegedly, would be the third one he’s made to that blog, I cannot say definitively that AB did do this. In the same vein, I cannot deny that he did not make donation either. This makes quite the quandary.
Yet, the broader issue itself is if, in fact, Alton did make another donation to that blog what exactly is he supporting and why? Does he have an ulterior motive?
Moreover, by making these donations, which it is his money and can do with whatever he wants, he is unfortunately sponsoring a blog that has personally attacked me in the past and whose operator publicly professed her dislike for me. How, then, how do I support him when he enjoys a blog operated by someone who is willing to public state her dislike for me?
It is upsetting to be attacked and for someone to make false statements about you for no reason whatsoever. The only thing I have done to that blogger was to write commentary on my own site about the first donation. Being in disbelief that Alton would contribute to a blog knowing from personal discussions of his disdain for them, I was in shock that of all sites he could select it would be that one. I have not said anything to her or done anything to her outside of emailing her to confirm the original donation claim in May. I have had absolutely no contact with this woman in the subsequent months. Last year, I did send an email to her sympathizing that she could not obtain an interview with the contestants of TNFNS because I was attempting to get an interview with Alton and facing a similar brickwall.
I once was a member of her blog's forum, before she made a denigrating comment about me on her blog for a statement, in a Wall Street Journal article, I made last October about AB remembering me at the events. Moreover, she allowed her readers to post nasty and slanderous comments about me.
Yet, she cannot stand me? Oh well, no great loss.
I sympathize with Alton for being attacked himself in the blogsphere over the years. While I am a proud blogger and uphold journalistic standards, I know there are others who do not. Given Alton’s adamant stance that bloggers lack integrity and personally confiding to me that he has had trouble with websites in the past, this sudden donation spree to a blog lacks validity.
This unknown need for Alton to become that blog's benefactor and making a third "insanely generous" donation smells fishier than a four day old open can of sardines. I want to believe this is some massive hoax, that AB hasn't aligned himself with such a blog. Knowing his stance toward blogs and bloggers in general, knowing what he personally told me on two occasions (once in front of my mom no less) and hearing feedback from others (both who are long time fans and impartial non-fans), this action makes no sense at all. Maybe I should call shenanigans on the donations.
However, if the worst case scenario be true, which I pray is not what has happened, and Alton is financially supporting that blog (perhaps she has compromising photos of him baking Pillsbury biscuits, drinking store brand grape juice and using iodized table salt) he is, then, backing someone who dislikes me. This opens a flood of questions.
Does his support for a site whose owner dislikes me then make him guilty by association?
By telling me in a face-to-face conversation that he does not read things about himself online, that he would not make an exception to that policy even for my site and that he vehemently believes bloggers lack integrity, but is now throwing money at a blog, should I question his integrity? Was he lying to my face when he told me those things?
After the recent debate AB had with another blogger, The Passionate Foodie, why then did he change his outlook on blogs and give monetary assistance to one?
All of this is difficult to reconcile.
While I cannot call him a friend, colleague or even acquaintance, I do respect him greatly, appreciate all of the knowledge he has as imparted, enjoy his projects immensely and am a fan. In meeting him at events, I have always experienced a very warm, friendly and genuine man. By all accounts, personal and from others, Alton is very appreciative of his fans. But, in giving support for that blog to continue operation (by the way, website operational costs are not that expensive, no more than most hobbies), he is also supporting a person who has made a false claim against me, slandered my character and has fostered others to do same.
If this is true, then I cannot with good conscience support him. I cannot say he would be worthy of my respect and admiration.
As I said, quite the pickle.
If, by some miracle, Alton is reading this I would pose a few queries: First and foremost, did you do it?
If yes, then:
Is that the type of behavior you want to condone?
You are so concerned about blogs lacking integrity, why do you want your good name associated with a site that doesn't have much integrity of its own?
Do you think she has the right to attack your fans and allow others to as well?
August 15, 2010
I only ask you, Alton, if you are in need of a new webmaster, because it seems odd that the site bearing your name is, well to it put bluntly, not that good. Perhaps, your webmaster only does this gig part-time and is overwhelmed with other duties you have assigned. Maybe said person is on a permanent vacation.
Whatever the case maybe, I find it sad that your own website still lists in the "Where's AB" section your appearance from February and that less than two months out from the start of your fall book tour those dates and locations are nowhere to be found on your own site. How our your the fans going to know about the tour?
Oh wait, I think they have a place to find that information.
There's this one site that has complete listing of your fall book tour dates, information on other events (like the Fabulous Food Show), your upcoming show America's Best and that segment on Sesame Street. Yeah, that site has a lot of information on it. Maybe you should consider striking up a deal with the webmaster of that site to help you out.
Therefore, this is why I highly recommend myself for the position. As you can see from my work, I'm not half bad at this webmaster thing. I'm a Mac user, by the way, if that helps.
I'll even go one better and say I will offer to whip your website back in to shape for free. Yes for free.
AB, give me three months to get your site back up to par. If you like what I've done keep me around, if not tell me to hit the road. Or, relinquish control of your site's url and hand it over to someone who will give it attention to make it a valuable resource for you.
Anyway you go, Alton, you wouldn't lose any money and your fans will get an informative, fun site. Just a thought.
If you're interested, let me know you know how to contact me: email@example.com
August 13, 2010
That means I can cook more instead of traveling. Fortunately, I have recieved an offer to do a product review from CSN.com stores. The great folks who have provided items for some of the blog's giveaways. Big hand to them, everyone. YAY!
So looking through their 200+ online stores to find something I need and could review, I started with www.cookware.com/. What can I say, have a cooking equipment weakness like Imelda Marcos does for shoes.
Since AB did the paella episode earlier this year, that item has been on the top of my new cooking equipment acquisition list. Happily, I can report cookware.com has a wide range of paellas. I'm going with carbon steel, 13.375" model. I think it will be big enough to handle what is needed of it from me.
Since I've become more interested in coffee of late. A late bloomer in that department, I suppose. I was very interested in getting a coffee maker despite the fact the Alton told us in the coffee episode to rig up some contraption.
Anyway, stay tuned for details on the items. Especially that paella!
August 12, 2010
The winners will be on shows airing September 20-23 at 9 p.m. EST.
The shows are:
Top Ten Comfort Foods
Top Ten Destinations
Top Ten Sweets
Top Ten Regional Classics
August 11, 2010
I suppose this means Alton is in the top echelon of celebrity now. Four-year-olds across the country are going to be indoctrinated into the world of cooking.
Too bad I don't have a little one so I'd have an excuse to watch and set the TIVO on season pass. No info on the air date of AB's segment, however, season 41 begins September 27.
Word on the Street season 41 site has the rundown of the words and celebs. Click recipe for AB's word.
August 09, 2010
This post is generating a lot of interest since AB is now on every episode of FNS. For a current take on his role as a mentor on season 8, visit here: Not As Seen on TV
I had not caught any episode of The Next Food Network Star competition this season. However when I found that Alton Brown would be appearing, I knew that would get me to watch the show for certain.
Tuning in Sunday, I wasn't sure what to expect. Over the many seasons of TNFNS, I've watched in bit and pieces; mostly, when AB appears. I've never been much of a reality TV viewer, even one that may discover the next greatest Celebrity Chef just didn't appeal to me. I don't care for that style of program, so I basically watched TNFNS only to see what Alton would bring to the party.
In most of the seasons, I've been amused by his antics with the potential next big star on FN. However, this season I wasn't quiet certain how to take Alton as he and the Iron Chefs began the Iron Chef America mini-challenge.
The opening seemed a bit over-dramatic. The air Alton took on has he introduced the contestants to the up coming challenge was nearing being a pompous ass. The whole "I smell fear" line was just too much even for Alton. As I watched, listened to him I wondered what the heck was he doing? And who was he trying to be?
As a long time fan of AB's, I know he is often ripe with sarcasm. Even more so when outside of his own show, Good Eats. Yet what I saw in that episode made me think of AB's own take on the reality TV genre. In a couple of interviews he spoke of his disdain for them:
In a 2007 interview with blogger/journalist Andrea Strong for Strong Buzz
SB: Do you watch reality food TV like Hell’s Kitchen or Top Chef?In a 2005 interview with Channel Guide Magazine, Alton was asked about television and the reality TV genre. He replied:
Alton: I don’t like them. I think Gordon Ramsey [sic] is wussy. I’d like ten minutes in the back of a dark taxi with him. (Laughs.) I think reality food shows are made with people who don’t know or have respect for food whatsoever.
Do you watch much television?AB's take in that second comment is spot on about reality TV; however, it is exactly what I saw him doing to the contestants. Granted, making it to the next to last round of the competition should mean something. Perhaps, maybe, you possess culinary skills and knowledge superior to that of the viewers?
I like television. I still believe that television is the most powerful form of communication on Earth -- I just hate what is being done with it. The fact that we have now made up for our utter lack of imagination by pummeling everyone with these reality shows, I find to be the most sickening turn in American culture, and quite possibly a strong sign that American culture is in rapid and irretrievabl decline.
It doesn't necessarily show the better part of human nature, does it?
We are now being encouraged to be as mean as we can be. And I
don't just mean "mean" as in nasty, I mean "mean" as in small.
Instead, we have one of the "final four" being stumped by AB's question on what is paprika. Yeah, I was jumping up and down shouting the answer. Therefore, I could see why Alton would express some disgust of someone not having solid knowledge especially with the fact said person could become a host of a cooking show to teach others yet she lacks basic culinary information herself.
If I were in the midst of AB's bid to rattle me as a contestant, of course, I would have not only answered immediately what paprika was but added the varieties it comes in-sweet, semi-sweet and hot-plus there is a smoked paprika as well. Yeah, I say that in the comfort and safety of my corner of cyberspace, sans staring down the Alton Brown glare of death.
I could even understand that he was trying to rattle them under the intense pressure to make certain the "survivors" of this challenge had grace under pressure and knowledge to go toe-to-toe with him on culinary knowledge.
However, there seemed to be an underlying nastiness to the whole episode. Not knowing much about the season's contestants, I had no favorite, no one to dislike or anything. I just watched to see what they could do in Kitchen Stadium.
First, it seemed that Aria was singled out a bit not only by Alton but by the Iron Chefs as well. I've always in enjoyed Iron Chef Morimoto, but his comment that her food was "diner food" really seemed snobbish. If I were standing there (and after seeing this I know that my food would never rank high enough to please the Iron Chefs so another dream dashed) I would have turned to AB and asked what he thought about that comment given that Feasting On Asphalt celebrated the average folks food, that he's made comments about his food not being gourmet and that we, as a society, have been caught up (in the past few decades) on making food to impress rather than serving from a hospitality standpoint.
It was also puzzling to me why these contestants needed to be Iron Chef caliber when Alton, himself, as admitted he would not do well in the situation. Understandably for the contestants of the Next Iron Chef but these people are trying to be the host of a regular cooking show. From what I gathered of their culinary points of view none of them were gourmet cooks either. Why throw this challenge or cooking quickly on the fly at them when having the knowledge (which granted AB did test them on during the commentary portion of the challenge) would have been a far better thing for them to go head-to-head with AB on.
The whole episode just hit home why I don't like reality TV. Too much mean and nastiness for my tastes. Maybe I'm a sheltered mountain girl, but I like niceness over petty and snarky any day. Sure we all can get a little full of ourselves from time to time. I'm the first to admit being sarcastic to people who deserve it.
But something just rubbed me the wrong way with this episode.
AB always says the guy you see on Good Eats is him. No fake persona. No acting. Well, I certainly hope the person I saw on TNFNS was a fake persona because that guy was verging on arrogance and pompousness. That doesn't suit my favorite cooking geek at all. Most certainly not the guy I've met and had many pleasurable conversations with about a host of topics. He is the epitome of genuineness, graciousness and humility. I like him better that way. Hopefully he won't be too pompous on the Next Iron Chef in the fall. ;)
August 04, 2010
One funny thing about gazpacho, I will always remember when I first learned of it. I was in a Spanish culture class in undergrad and we did a whole section on food. Color me interested for that unit! Yeah, my fascination with all things culinary goes way back... even further than college. Anyway, our professor, who lived in Madrid for awhile, talked about this cold soup they served during the oppressive summers. It always sounded interesting, but I never made it.
Fast forward a few years, then I heard AB talking about it. In fact several times over the years, he has three incarnations of this dish: one with grapes, one with bulgur wheat and one tradtional variation, and for me the traditional application from "American Slicer" had the most appeal.
Upon procuring in-season tomatoes (and really there isn't a good reason to have a tomato unless it is in-season), the gazpacho urge usually hits.
Start with 1 1/2 pounds of tomatoes. The most time consuming process in making the soup is prepping the tomatoes. Each tomato must be concassed, which starts by scoring the bottom with an X and dropping into boiling water for about 15 seconds. Aftert that, cool the tomatoes in ice water for about one minute. The skin will easily remove starting at the scored areas. Once the tomotes are peeled, core and cut in half at the fruit's equator. Remove the seeds and pulp, placing in a mesh strainer to catch the juice.
After the tomatoes are prepped, chop them coursely. Place the tomatoes in a large mixing bowl and add the rest of the vegatation:
1 cup cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1 small jalapeno, seeded and minced
1 medium garlic clove, minced
To the bowl add the liquid items:
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 lime, juiced
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon toasted, ground cumin
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Take 1 1/2 cups of the mixture and puree in a blender (or use a stick blender, which I do). Return the puree to the bowl and stir to combine. Chill for at least two hours, then devour with crusty bread!