Alton Brown’s Unhinged YouTube Channel Is My Antidote to Quarantine Anxiety

Alton Brown is providing much needed food entertainment while the world grapples with the spread of COVID-19.

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“I like Duke’s [mayonnaise], and I can say that because this is YouTube and not Food Network,” television personality, chef, author and veritable food god Alton Brown says on his new Youtube series.

Brown is known for “Good Eats,” the Food Network show he hosted in which he used science and comedy to educate the masses on everything in the kitchen. The show was controlled chaos — wacky, fun, and in the end, useful. Alton Brown’s YouTube channel is like “Good Eats,” but without the skits and with a Brown who’s allowed to go further off the rails in the best way possible.

Brown’s current YouTube channel lineup can be broken into two main series: Pantry Raid, short recipe videos that utilize pantry staples, and Quarantine Quitchen, in which Brown and his wife Elizabeth Ingram livestream an unscripted adventure in their kitchen.

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Pantry Raid is the more polished series, filmed with a couple of production members in a tricked out test kitchen. Pantry Raid uses standard overhead shots of food that have dominated the recipe videos of late, but the videos are anchored by Brown’s personality and knowledge of food. Brown uses the freedom allotted by YouTube to speak freely, with fewer instances of sticking to a script.

If Pantry Raid is the more refined series, Quarantine Quitchen is basically just hanging out with Alton Brown. In one episode, viewers can find the Browns playing music together, popping a bottle of Broc Cellar’s Valdiguie pet-nat and making carrot hummus. The two personify what can happen after weeks in isolation; Ingram, the one who’s holding it together, and Brown, the one who’s slowly going mad and bouncing off the walls.

“It’s a dip and it has tahini in it, therefore it’s hummus. Does anyone want to disagree with me?” Brown asks, imitating a threatening glare. The Brown-Ingram dynamic is akin to some sort of yin and yang in which the Browns somehow achieve harmony despite two seemingly conflicted personalities, make a delicious dish and provide our current chaotic world with a form of entertainment and wholesome joy.

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