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Food For Thought

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We've all heard that the way into someone's heart is through their stomach. Now, this doesn't refer to some medical procedure. We're talking about food, and Alton Brown of the Food Network's Good Eats has managed to chop, mince, dice, broil, deep-fry, and bake his way into our hearts while teaching us a thing or two along the way.

Brown, with his witty quips and unkempt blond hair, is recognized as a culinary master. He is to food what Bill Nye is to science. He can tell us why cutting onions makes us cry and how to prevent it, and he knows the foolproof way to deep-fry a turkey. His show has become such a success that he's replaced icon Emeril Lagasse in the Food Network's prime-time weeknight time slot. Bam! Brown's "Feasting on Asphalt" series has also resulted in a book, Feasting on Asphalt: The River Run.

The book is a collection of recipes, fun facts, notebook entries, and stories from his motorcycle journey following the Mississippi River from Louisiana to Minnesota in search of the best roadside food. He stops at big-city eateries, mom-and-pop small-town diners, markets, inns, and even an alligator farm, all in order to "consume a large amount of fried food" and become familiar with the people who prepare and serve it.

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Brown made his way through Memphis, stopping at the Pink Palace Museum to see the full-scale model of the first Piggly Wiggly grocery store and at Jim Neely's Interstate Bar-B-Que to enjoy the barbecued spaghetti, dry-rub ribs, and pork cracklins.

Brown will be back in Memphis on Saturday for a booksigning, and he's likely to eat some good old-fashioned Southern food while he's here.

Alton Brown booksigning at the Pink Palace, Saturday, April 26th, 2:30-5 p.m. All books to be signed must be purchased at the Pink Palace.

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