By Alton Brown, Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 431 pages

Any self-respecting foodie worth his or her weight in foie gras is familiar with Alton Brown. The bespectacled, spiky-haired chef is a mainstay of The Food Network, hosting the wildly popular science-meets-food program Good Eats and the Japanese import Iron Chef America, among others. His humorous style and skillfully detailed food preparation instructions, liberally accompanied by a heaping serving of never-boring nutritional science, have made him one of the most likable celebrity chefs in the country. Brown has parlayed that success into a series of cookbooks spun off from his show; Good Eats 2: The Middle Years is, of course, the second in the trilogy.

Good Eats 2 is one of the most entertaining cookbooks out there. Written like a faux technical manual, each recipe is an “application,” the ingredients the “software,” and the cooking directions the “procedure.” This whimsical approach is never dull; each recipe includes photos, illustrations, and tips or tidbits that may center around the history of the dish, proper knife technique, or a mini food-related essay.

Coming in at a hearty 431 pages, plus an accompanying DVD, this cookbook has something for everybody, from the novice chef to the budding gourmet. If you can’t find a delicious meal to cook here, you just aren’t looking very hard!

Reviewed by Mark Petruska