I am now the proud owner of two cooking books, each personally signed by Alton Brown, guy in the "Good Eats" shows. He's a really nice guy, and rather witty; his on- and off-camera persona are identical, and the same style as his books are written in. It was worth the 1.5-hour wait in line, after 20 minutes of parking searching, after the 40 minute drive to get to San Francisco. (He's making a tour across America, so you might be interested in seeing him.)

The reason I love his books / show is because he doesn't just tell you what to do or how to do it, but he explains the why of cooking. That is, why a steak that tastes great when grilled tastes gross when boiled. Or why eggs are important in meatloaf. Or why the microwave is fantastic for making popcorn but not so good for other things. It's almost really a scientific way of teaching cooking, and perfect for minds like mine.

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