Good Eats: Teaching the Next Generation How to Cook

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday vacation. I spent a lot of time with family and friends relaxing and eating delicious food.

Speaking of food, I spent hours watching DVRed episodes of Good Eats. It stars Alton Brown and was on both the Food Network and the Cooking Channel. It is very entertaining (not to mention educational!) to watch. Alton Brown describes it best as a combination of “Julia Child, Mr. Wizard, and Monty Python” (Wikipedia).

Each episode focuses on a food and several methods and recipes to prepare it. However, the show isn’t just simply Alton Brown standing up there adding ingredients and whisking them together. Good Eats brings in the science of cooking with supersized props, field trips, 30 second lectures, and demonstrations. There are a multitude of actors in the shows, but those aren’t just hired actors, they are the production crew for the show. In fact, over the 16 season production run, every single person (with the exception of DeAnna, Alton’s wife) has appeared on camera in some form, whether it is a hand puppet, a supersized onion, a “family” member, or the Dungeon Master.

There are so many recipes that trying to remember it all can be confusing. There are now 3 books with recipes, techniques, and pictures from the set. Good Eats: The Early YearsGood Eats: The Middle Years (with bonus DVD), and Good Eats: The Later Years all can be bought at B&N or Amazon.

Unfortunately, I have not been able to find the DVDs available for purchase on Amazon. There have been some old editions that have popped up here and there, but the prices are astronomical. Thus, I have been DVRing as many episodes as I can. I don’t know how well that will work in a classroom environment. However, there is a beacon of light!

Recently, Netflix added 39 episodes of Good Eats to its collection, titled Good Eats: The Collection. It seems Food Network and HGTV did the collection thing with a bunch of their hit TV shows at the start of December 2014. But, as some of you may know, how long they will be available on Netflix is a mystery. I hope they add more soon!

But what if you don’t have Netflix? No worries, you can purchase individual episodes for $1.99 from Amazon (sadly, even prime members must pay!) A cursory glance through the seasons on Amazon appears that all episodes are available for purchase.

Here are a few scenes different episodes from Good Eats! To change the episode, click on the “playlist” button.


Take a Look, It’s in a Book!

Earlier this summer LeVar Burton and Reading Rainbow created a Kickstarter to raise $1 million dollars.  There were two goals: everywhere on the web and free subscriptions to 1,500 classrooms who want Reading Rainbow but can’t afford to pay for it.

Burton set a timeline of 35 days.  It wasn’t necessary.  He was fully funded in 11 hours.

The campaign stayed open for the full 35 days and when it ended on July 2, the Kickstarter had raised $5,408,916.  To top that off, Seth MacFarlane, the creator of Family Guy and American Dad, “promised to match every dollar pledged following the $4 million mark to the $5 million mark if the campaign reached $5 million.”  In other words, if the Kickstarter made it to $5 million, MacFarlane would match the last million, making the $5 million dollar benchmark all the more sweeter (by turning in into $6 million).  Since Kickstarter has a $10,000 limit on donations, MacFarlane’s donation is not added into the number seen on the Kickstarter site.  Thus, the final total that the Kickstarter raised is $6.4 million dollars.

The Reading Rainbow Kickstarter is the 5th most funded campaign on Kickstarter.  According to, “The top four are: Pebble ($10.2 million), OUYA ($8.5 million), Pono ($6.2 million) and the Veronica Mars movie ($5.7 million).”

There is one record that the Reading Rainbow Kickstarter broke: the most backers.  Over 105,857 backers pledged to bring Reading Rainbow to all mobile devices, consoles, and OTT boxes as well as 7,500 classrooms who can’t afford it.

If your book adventures took you away to magical places and were unable to join the Kickstarter, you can still donate through Reading Rainbow’s site.  You can $5, $10, $25, $50, $100, $125, $175, $375, or $5000.  While all the packages have names based upon the dollar amount or rewards you can earn, the last two are special: $375 is the perfect amount to pay for a “adopt” a classroom and $5000 will allow you “adopt” a school.  If you really want to know exactly where you money is going, those two cannot be any more specific.

The Reading Rainbow Classic Series is available on Amazon Instant Video (free to Prime subscribers) and on iTunes (video).

The Reading Rainbow app is available for iPad and the Kindle Fire.

Though time has passed, Burton has aged, and the books have gone digital, the fact remains that Reading Rainbow is still enchanting as ever for the next generation of readers.  Then again, LeVar Burton always sticks around for The Next Generation.

BONUS: LeVar Burton, Reading Rainbow, and Star Trek: The Next Generation