Successful cooking is not magic, unknowable and unattainable to all but a select few. That was the emphasis in the Food Network show "Good Eats," which kicked off in 1999 and ran for 16 seasons. Cooking is an art, but one that uses science, and best results are achieved by knowing why something happens and what technology is needed to make it so. Providing background knowledge was essential within episodes, like showing how to prevent a roasted turkey from drying out; unusual ways to use salt; how to best sear a steak; what leavener makes the best biscuits; and how to make a smooth roux.
Alton Brown, the creator and host of "Good Eats," brought a mixture of goofy fun and approachability as he investigated origins of ingredients and explained techniques. He used skits to teach food science. Where else on television can you see a giant onion or life-sized gingerbread man? This mixture of fun and information made "Good Eats" one of Food Network's top shows, averaging 20 million viewers monthly. That's not a surprise. After all, who wouldn't want to see "real" elves sitting in trees explaining the process of cracker production?