Good Eats – Man TV?

During a brief, but animated, post-lunch discussion of the various Food Network “stars” with several of my work colleagues today, it was posited that Alton Brown’s show “Good Eats” is popular with men, and men only, because it’s a show about gadgets.

For me, Alton Brown is one of the few non-annoying characters on the Food Network, combining, as he does, witticisms with interesting facts and anecdotes, creative explanatory methods with geekiness, and delivering it all in a humble, non-offensive manner, and because of this he is by some distance my favorite presenter. Being the best of a bad bunch however, is flattery with scant praise, and it’s a fact that there isn’t much competition for him on the network with likable characters at an increasingly high premium. (Do we really need one more non-professional, white-bread, middle-American housewife making weekday meals in a spotless kitchen? That’s right, I’m thinking of what’s her face, that thin-nosed, freckly-faced, boney slag who won the next food network star – now “The Gourmet Next Door” – ugh) But is Alton only likable to men? And, is “Good Eats” really a gadget show?

The fact that it’s not just another stand and stir show in which the host tells aggravatingly sacharine stories of how her father (who’s Sicilian – and therefore, implicitly, knows everything there is to know about food) used to make his own pizzelles or whatever, or how her nephew (insert peculiar unisex mid-Western name of your choice here) always likes to eat these tasty treats after an afternoon chasing the hog-skin around, makes it unusual in the Food Network schedule, and something unusual on such a sickeningly homogenous channel is like finding a dildo in your pocket. It’s kind of cool and exciting, but it’s also rather worrying and throws you off balance.

So, what do you think — is Good Eats only for men? Do you like Alton Brown? Should he be the next rat to jump the sinking ship that is TFN?


15 thoughts on “Good Eats – Man TV?

  1. Heck, no! Alton rocks not only with men, but also women and children. I would posit instead that his brand of science and cooking attracts people who are better educated and interested in knowing the “whys” behind the cooking magic. Add in the extremely bad puns and highly entertaining, if cheap, effects and humor, and what’s not to love about the man? I know several middle school aged children who watch the show to get inspiration for science fairs.

    That being said, it is true that my husband taped the brined turkey episode on one of our permanent tapes, and has been in charge of the Thanksgiving Day turkey ever since. So it is a “safe” cooking show for guys to love.

    It’s been so long since I’ve watched anything BUT Alton on the Food Network that I don’t know if he should jump ship. Frankly, I doubt he will.

  2. I’m a woman and I love Good Eats. Alton’s great because he respects his audience and teaches them techniques, rather than talking down to them and going one dish at a time.

    I think that Food Network execs *see* his show as being for men, largely because they keep making the disastrous assumption that women want to be talked down to. Just another reason FN is dying.

    I heard that Alton’s contract is up this year– apparently he signed it back when nobody knew his name, and barely makes any $$ from Good Eats, which is why he’s on all those reality shows. Let’s hope some network like Bravo snatches him up and gives him an hour a week to do his thing however he likes. He’s so talented and knowledgeable, I feel like he’s limited only by what the networks will let him do.

  3. I still can’t figure out how to log in as myself (amy) and not as my husband, Jonny. BUT, I’m going to respond to this as well. Babe, I’m a woman and you know I like Alton! No way is his show geared towards men only. I totally agree w/ Sarah (Real Potato) and Toddie – he’s liked by all types of people – especially the thinking food lover. He’s one of the ONLY food network figures to be able to make Iron Chef America as watchable as it is (let’s just put it this way – I can make it through a Cat Cora Iron Chef just because I want to hear Alton). He’s intelligent, sarcastic, witty and he doesn’t try to be anything but who he was from DAY 1. I kind of doubt Food Network will let him go because he’s one of the only good things left about the network. But I again agree w/ the Real Potato – he may be able to grow the way he wants to on another network.

  4. My Daughters 6 and 5 and my Wife loves good eats, course my daughters like to watch stuff explode as well, so i not sure how representative we are. I know many women who like his show.
    I had culinary training and I still learn form this show.
    anyone can show you how to cook a recipe but few can teach you how to cook.

  5. My fiance and I watch this show all the time. We love the way Alton makes cooking interesting. He makes me a better cook and gives the fiance ideas on what kitchen toys to buy me.

  6. I find it increasingly interesting to discover the vast number of people that enjoy watching Good Eats – men and women both. I’ve been a fan of the show almost from the beginning. Everyone from my year old nephew to a friend who is a high school chemistry teacher all watch the show on a regular basis. I think Alton fills a unique niche in the TV culinary world. He isn’t the typical “throw these things in a pan with some olive oil and garlic and you have dinner” chefs that are on FN. He’s a teacher. And you have to respect the fact that he’s gone out on a limb to teach a nation of TV brainwashed couch potatoes how to feed themselves. And to respect the equipment and ingredients you’re working with. He makes it interesting, he makes it entertaining, and he makes you think that maybe you yourself could cook a roast in a flower pot. The man’s a genius. And a little weird. But that’s okay, because he gets the message across. And just for the record – guys aren’t the only ones who like gadgets! Geez…talk about gender type-casting!

  7. I love Alton Brown and Good Eats but so does my husband! I am currently reading his “I’m Just Here For The Food” and so is my husband. I guess Alton appeals to the geeky and nerdy crowd, which most often are men. I guess that makes me a geek or a nerd 😛 Hey, that’s not bad in this day and age!

  8. Alton Brown is the favorite of every foodie I know, and most of my foodie friends are women. (He’s even liked by a number of non-foodies.) The thing about Alton is not the gadgets, but that he takes food seriously. He IS just there for the food.

    Besides, he’s really funny.

  9. Alton Brown is a god among cooking and science show hosts.

    Outside of the original Iron Chef, there is NOTHING else I have every wanted to watch on FoodTV – and all of my male and female friends feel the same way. And all of us cook from scratch. We do not hold to this instant mix nonsense so common nowadays.

    Though my husband loves watching Alton, he still won’t cook anything but spaghetti from dried noodles…

    I know for a fact that a large contingent of female science fiction fans were trying to convince a couple of the conventions that have science guests to have him as the science guest. He is both a masterful storyteller and cook. Who else can capture your attention for 30 minutes on the emulsification of egg whites?



  10. Alton Brown’s Good Eats is just about the only thing left to watch on Food Network these days.

    I wouldn’t classify it as a gadget show — sure he has gadgets, but his choice and selection have more to do with the science of cooking rather than gleeful gadgetyness.

    The Boy, Husband and I are all fans.

  11. I love Alton Brown. He is all about the interesting tidbit….the one little fact…which, combined with his advice, will make for a great cooking result! And I am female ( albeit, an information junkie). I watch ‘good eats’ all the time…sometimes, when it is something I do not like. After all, cooking is all about comfort..not neccesarily the actual food.
    If the food network is not compensating him, Alton should go to Bravo or somewhere else. I suspect that many of the people who watch the food network are not really serious about food.
    It seems that the food network has deteriorated into selling personalities ( and rather noxious ones at that). Most of the recipes are pretty good (if you have an educated eye) but it all comes down to whether or not you can stomach the delivery. Are you in the mood for unrelenting pep and unbridled enthusiasm? Then Rachael is your show. Are you of the ilk to believe that Giada actually eats the food she prepares and maintains such a svelte figure…then everyday italian is for you. Both actually provide some nice recipes. I must say that Rachael cannot possible write all her own recipes. As a person who really enjoys food, I must admit, I enjoy watching an expert who has information that I do not have. Jacques Pepin has interesting techniques…so does Alton sometimes..such as how to make your chocolate chip cookie crispy. Who else beside Alton Brown addresses issues such as this? Issues that are important to the average foodie. You go Alton…Go.

  12. Hi! My sister (JS) pointed me to your site.

    We like Alton! I didn’t even know there was such an idea that _Good Eats_ is all “man-ly”. It’s just good: filled with “actual” information and who can resist all that camp. ;D

  13. I’d like to add that Alton Brown has converted my daughter (soon to be 10)
    I think she started watching Good Eats because (as she says) he reminds her of me — I travel too much lately, so she’s looking for other guys who love to cook, and explain things clearly, and wave their hands about.
    Anyway, she has grown quite excited about cooking and wants to help me with everything I’m doing, from measuring salt or yeas into the bread dough, to planning her birthday dinner, when we’re going to try to follow Alton’s instructions for crown rack of lamb.
    Girl and kid — both find AB quite accessible and appealing, so does her dad.

  14. Another woman here, loving GE and AB! I love knowing WHY things work the way they do, and honestly AB’s recipes just plain WORK! I’ve made his brined turkey for two Thanksgivings in a row and both have turned out beautifully, among other delicious recipes.

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