Alton Brown is pretty sure he’s sure about a few food things and at least two of them involve seafood.
That may seem a little flippant – of course it’s not fair to boil down an Alton Brown Live! show of more than two hours to that statement – but it was part of the storytelling, and part of the gut-busting belly laughter that erupted more than once during his visit to South Bend’s Morris Performing Arts Center on Monday, Nov. 3.
Brown, who created and starred in “Good Eats” and is now the host of “Iron Chef America” and “Cutthroat Kitchen,” made it clear that he was not on television that night. The whole point of his live show, he said, was to do things that network executives or advertisers wouldn’t let him. “The show is not designed for your pleasure. It’s designed for mine,” he told the crowd at the Morris Performing Arts Center.
He sang songs and played guitar and rapped while sporting a gold doughnut. He made ice cream with a rig that fired a carbon dioxide fire extinguisher against cream for 10 seconds and claimed to have invented carbonated ice cream.
He made pizzas with an audience member and baked them in his Mega Bake, a gigantic version of an Easy Bake Oven with 56 theater lights putting off more than 1 million lumens and 600 degrees of heat.
The show wasn’t heavy on education, but it was high on entertainment.
He praised Fiddler’s Hearth in South Bend, where he said he ate too much and enjoyed the cask-conditioned beer ”which is a food group all in itself.“
As for his list of things he’s pretty sure he’s sure about food, here they are:
- Chickens don’t have fingers. “I believe we have a real problem when we have an entire generation raised on something called chicken fingers,” he said, noting that children shouldn’t eat off children’s menus at restaurants because they only have a few unhealthy things.
- Trout does not belong in ice cream. He relayed a long story of eating trout ice cream on “Iron Chef America” and how it almost ended badly.
- Don’t leave out the NaCl. “The salt that is added to home-cooked food is not the issue,” he said of America’s sodium and health issues. The salt that comes from boxes, cans and drive-throughs is. He said that if home cooks include the salt that’s called for in recipes, they’ll end up using less salt overall.
- Never eat a shrimp cocktail in an airport. He loves shrimp cocktail. He ate it at LAX once and suffered on the flight home to Atlanta. The song he sang about this was hilarious. The story ends badly.
Two other great lines from the show:
”Nobody has ever had a smoothie who wouldn’t have rather had a milkshake.”
”I like to eat vegetables. I like to have an animal eat them first,” he said. ”I’m a second-hand vegan.”
The show also included a Twitter Q&A. Audience members submitted questions via Twitter. Brown happened to pick mine, asking which animal he’d eat for the rest of his life if he could only choose one.
First, he asked if my bow tie was a clip-on or tied myself. I told him I’d tied it and he asked me to untie it and retie it while he answered the question.
His answer was simple: pig. He’s from the South. Pig wins. I had nervously and without a mirror retied my neckwear and the show went on.
What was your favorite moment from the Alton Brown Live show?