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Feasting on Waves

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Anyone watch? What did you think?

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  1. I preferred Feasting on Asphalt, but this wasn't bad. This program struck me as having to be very subtle and nuanced if they want to differentiate themselves from week to week.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Phaedrus

      I agree with Phaedrus, much prefer Feasting on Asphalt but I did enjoy the 1st episode.Maybe because I'm a motorcyclist and can relate more. I've always liked Mr Brown and he has good taste in motorcycles so I'll keep watching the wave shows.

    2. Oh man I completely forgot about it. I was having a Dog Whisperer DVD marathon via my DVD player. Oh well, I'm sure it will be repeated some time this week or next weekend. I do love Alton's "Feasting" seriesl

      1. it was a snooze.

        2 Replies
        1. re: steve h.

          i wasn't crazy about it but i'll try it again hoping it's just gotta find its stride. the scenes where AB held the camera were kinda pointless. they would zoom in on something for a closer look, then purposefully blur the image so you felt you were seeing it thru alton-cam. while i love everything he's done to date, for the first time i thought he could have said less. he seemed a little frantic and i would agree with the other comment here that he needs a real vacation. no cameras.

          1. re: MaxCaviar

            hi max,
            love sailing the ec. life at five knots is very cool. my take is that ab just doesn't get it. pity, the place is chock-a-block full of good food, great sailing and cool stories. wish i could have planned his sailing/food itinerary. the story line would have been lots more fun for him and lots more interesting for viewers.

        2. The sugar cane segment was poorly filmed. Half the shot was taken from such a distance that it didn't hold my attention and is it my imagination or does Alton appear to need a REAL vacation. He really looks over-cooked!

          1. I liked it -- I think it highlights Alton's skills and appeal at their best. He's good with downhome local chefs, brings out their heart and sentiment without being condescending. But I do agree that four episodes (I've only seen the first) all confined to the Carribean does not promise the variety and quest that the coast-to-coast along Highway 66 (Feasting on Asphalt 1) or up the Mississippi (2) provided as a journey and premise.

            1. Given the title of the show -- "Feasting on Waves" -- I was almost hoping it would be about making gourmet meals on a boat, given the intrinsic limitations of prepping and cooking on the open waters.

              Oh well.

              2 Replies
              1. re: ipsedixit

                totally agree. trailing a line from your sailboat in the ec practically guarantees good eats. grilling on the transom is a good thing.

                1. re: ipsedixit

                  Like the gourmet meals Alton made while riding his motorcycle in the first series? Once he got proper power he was able to bake a meatloaf in a hot box.

                2. I guess it depends on where your coming from, since I would expect a lot more regional variation from caribbean isle to isle than on the legnth of the Mississippi....But that said, while I enjoyed the first episode, I thought Alton sounded a little condescending when talking to some of the proprietors. I guess that is just a little of how he is....

                  Having been to six islands, I thought the variation in food between them was pretty marked, especially between the different cultures--Go from Martinique to Barbados...I mean, totally different. So I'm pretty excited to see the rest....

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: dagoose

                    It's the regional foods that I'm watching for, I haven't been back to the Caribbean in 30 years and his point about searching beyond 'cruise ship cuisine' strikes home. Here in the 'States as he mentioned it's almost impossible to get mutton. What he didn't mention is that the majority of our population want all meats to taste "just like chicken" and so the New Zealand lamb has had all the flavour bred out of it to suit the market.
                    If some of the Caribbean cuisine has escaped 'Americanization' then I'll wager that 90% of the people who see the series of episodes? Will be hearing about foods and components they've never encountered here.

                  2. I loved it! Of course, anything Alton does hooks me. :)

                    I learned a lot about different foods (having never been to that part of the world). That's fine if the sugarcane segment didn't hold your attention, HillJ, but I think it was shot at a distance to showcase the sugarcane and how it engulfs the land... but I could be wrong ;)

                    I didn't find him condescending to the cooks and owners at all.

                    9 Replies
                    1. re: MiseEnPlace07

                      I also enjoyed it (TiVo-ed and watched last night). The "Feasting On" concept is very workable (I'm hoping for a "Motorcycle Diaries" trip to South America). In the context of the Caribbean it should provide an understanding of how African traditions merged with the European slave-owner cultures and included indigenous (and not-so-indigenous) ingredients. I hope that carries through the series.

                      I also didn't think him to be particularly condescending -- he seems genuinely interested and you are only seeing a brief edited version of his time with local cooks. The bit about trying local fish instead of salt cod could have been developed. Cod from the North Atlantic became the staple food of slaves because it was cheap and plentiful. The odds and ends left over from processing in the Northeast were shipped down to the sugar-growing islands in casks as food for the slaves in exchange for molasses, so it's a leftover acquired taste of the slave culture.

                      1. re: MiseEnPlace07

                        Misen, because the sugar cane shot was shot so far back I couldn't tell what it was...it didn't engulf the land for me. When they stopped to discuss the cane, taste it, etc. the information was much for interesting.

                        1. re: HillJ

                          It's unfortunate the land can't be used for a more lucrative crop -- or at least they haven't yet developed a plan.

                          1. re: ferret

                            I agree, it was disheartening to hear that the island cant' compete when the production history of the island is so valuable.

                            1. re: HillJ

                              From what I've read they've considered producing rum or even ethanol. Unfortunately it's been three years since the last harvest and the root structures pretty much fall apart if the cane doesn't get cut regularly so even if they wanted to there's no going back.

                              1. re: HillJ

                                The whole cessation of production thing seemed really bizarre, how much are labor costs down there anyway? Brazil is larger but can it be that much cheaper? When the cook said they now import sugar because none is made there floored me.

                                1. re: Scrapironchef

                                  It's an economy of scale issue. St. Kitts total area is 65 square miles. Brazil alone has 8 million hectares (and growing) of sugar cane crop - a staggering amount relative to St. Kitts. From what I've read St. Kitts' sugar business was deeply in debt starting in the '80's.

                                  1. re: ferret

                                    I get that, but you'd think they could at least produce enough for their own needs.

                                    1. re: Scrapironchef

                                      Well, it's there for the taking, but

                                      (a) I'm not sure processing small amounts of anything is cost effective. It's just not geared to small-scale production (i.e. there are no "boutique" sugar refineries like you might find with olive oils or microbreweries).

                                      (b) they already get most of their food products shipped in from somewhere, so it's not like they have to specifically import dirt-cheap world market sugar, it's just another item on their lengthy offshore grocery list).

                        2. One thing I have been thinking about is how much I enjoy the historical and cultural aspect of all of Alton Brown's shows. Good Eats does a pretty decent job in tracing the history of the food they present, while Feasting On Asphalt and Waves are both travelogues and anthropological studies of certain geographical areas, areas that I have not been to. Understand that I am NOT saying that these are the main intents of the show, nor do I mistake Alton Brown as a food anthropologist, he just gives a very nice tutorial on the subject.

                          The main frustration that I have is that there is such a lack of details and the explanations are so very brief and somewhat cursory, not as cursory as other FN fares like Unwrapped etc. but it still is pretty lacking. I will usually go to books if I am particularly interested, I just think it would be nice if there is a series focusing on the food traditions of different countries, focusing one the reason why some of food traditions came into being.

                          Of course I'm a geek, so don't mind me.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Phaedrus

                            A.B.'s shows tend to focus on food, history and culture and target an audience who think that that is the reason for their tuning in. Since Scripps Network bought them (and HGTV) the predominance of their focus seems to be some abortive culinary 'reality TV'. when I hear a rush for a show and the part they focus on is some lame vowing that he'd like to punch someone in the face? The first thing I do is turn off the program. If that's what turns you on? I can point you at a USMC recruiter ... don't waste your time on TV shows -sigh-.
                            Net result is that at least part of the time now (whenever they aren't in "pledge drives" on PBS) I end up watching "America's Test Kitchen" and some of the other culinary shows offered over there.

                          2. I enjoyed it very much, reminded me of our time in St Lucia -hope he goes there!

                            1. I like the whole concept of Feasting on Asphalt/Waves, however I found this first show a little boring. I don't think the topic is boring, just this first show. Hopefully later shows will be more interesting. IMHO, the first year of Feasting on Asphalt was much more interesting than season 2, and this season I believe should also be more interesting than season 2.

                              I don't think Alton Brown acts condescending as a rule, though I'm sure there are exceptions. I don't think he acted this way in this first episode.

                              1. I just watched the first episode via DVR. I like it more than FOA. The reason being I really like the cuisine of the islands more than the typical American road food featured on FOA. Keep the donuts and dinner food, give me lobster, shrimp, fish and conch.

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: scubadoo97

                                  Got to agree with you! I used to cringe at all that diner food. Anyone notice that mole on Alton's face seems to be getting larger? Or is the makeup staff just not "on board"?

                                  1. re: Suzieg

                                    It could also mean that he is getting old, middle age?

                                    1. re: Phaedrus

                                      I like it a lot, it's an entertaining and educational look at a lot of cuisine we haven't already been inundated with.
                                      In introducing his team I noticed he has a diver onboard and as a diver myself I'm looking forward to underwater segments.

                                    2. re: Suzieg

                                      oh my, that mole, I can't believe I actually thought the very same thing. Hopefully that's not the case and it's just lack of makeup.

                                  2. Do I think Alton Brown is incredibly entertaining? Yes
                                    Has his ego gotten a little bit large? Unfortunately, yes.

                                    However, I find this show something that I look forward to watching and there still isnt a show better than Good Eats IMO although the older episodes are still better.

                                    If he keeps making shows, Ill watch em.

                                    5 Replies
                                    1. re: yankeefan

                                      I'm honestly curious, at what do you point to say his ego has gotten a bit large?

                                      1. re: ccbweb

                                        I don't understand that criticism either. He seems about the same as always. I also don't understand the "condescending" comments. He always seems deferential to his hosts and I thought he was very cordial and genuinely curious in the segments on the family-run beverage company and the other family whose dinner he watched being prepared.

                                        1. re: ccbweb

                                          Dont get me wrong, I like the guy.

                                          If you compare old episodes of Good Eats to new ones you see it. If you see him on Iron Chef, he can bit slightly condescending.

                                          But most of all, if you watch him on the Next Food Network Star, he just flat out came across as cocky. Again, I like the dude but he has developed one.

                                          1. re: yankeefan

                                            Is this about the San Marzano thing again? Geez. That was so obviously a set-up. They just "happened" to have San Marzano tomatoes as part of the demo and Alton just came up with the question out of thin air? It was a contest (testing, among other things, their range of knowledge about food) and that was an obvious test question along the lines of "do you know what makes the ingredients in front of you unique and can you communicate that to the audience?" The contestant who was being tested had no clue -- that doesn't make Alton Brown condescending.

                                            I worked as a kitchen designer many years ago for a high end retailer and at one of the interviews I was asked to list the top 3 appliance brands I could think of. I drew a blank and ended up listing some obviously mediocre names. They weren't asking me to show how superior they were they just wanted to know my baseline level of knowledge.

                                            1. re: ferret

                                              Again, I like the dude. Best food character on the network still- hope he has more shows.

                                              and I like the fact that he indoors doesnt wear sunglasses on the back of his head.

                                      2. i owe my interest in cooking to alton brown. the guy is close to an idol as i have. i think he's just a really awesome guy.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: beelzebozo

                                          I agree. His food chemistry bits have really helped me to become a better cook (as has reading Robert Wolke's books).

                                          1. re: beelzebozo

                                            I have to agree- I really envy this guy for the most part.

                                            His schtick is funny yet informative- Ive learned more from watching his shows than all other food shows combined.

                                          2. saw anguilla show. wasn't happy.

                                            i feel same way as i do about the new mario vehicle in spain:
                                            "i felt the whole thing was very forced, or that [he was] trying too hard. it made me uncomfortable to watch, somehow; i didn't enjoy it at all. i may try again, but i was not favorably impressed."

                                            1. There didn't seem to be much there. The "there" that is the show, that is. From one comment he made in the final episode, it sounds like he and his crew were there for weeks. I'm puzzled about why they cut everything down to only 4 episodes. I felt like there was only significant interaction shown with one person or family per episode and there wasn't a lot else covered. The scenery was great and some of the food was a bit interesting but overall, pretty empty.

                                              1. Over all not too bad. It is an improvement from what FN normally airs.

                                                Odd that he went to St. Kitts (developed) and not to Nevis five minutes away and undeveloped. Haveing had th pleasure of visiting Nevis. AB really 'missed the boat' on that one.

                                                1. i found it boring. the islands just feel too similar.

                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: cakacookie

                                                    Agreed. Given the wild variation from island to island, I thought he chose alot of islands that were similar. Either that or he didn't show us the differences. Having once been on a boat that spent a day each in Barbados, St. Vincent, Bequia, Martinique, Grenada and St. Lucia, that would have of been plenty of variety--all very very diferent...It was interesting that there was so much similarity.

                                                    1. re: dagoose

                                                      I'm not that familiar with the area, but didn't you travel in totally different set of islands? Generally larger ones to south?

                                                      1. re: paulj

                                                        Yes, a totally different set of islands, but my point is that you can do islands, going to only close enough together ones that the journey can be made with a different island each day--Perhaps this was just poor planning by them or perhaps it was that they just tended to show more similar parts from each island.

                                                  2. Does anyone know if he goes to the Dominican Republic in this series? I tried to search around for information on the FN website, without success.

                                                    Thanks.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: MMRuth

                                                      As best I can tell they started at St Kitts, and worked their way north into the British Virgin Islands.

                                                      Islands that I've heard mentioned include: St Kitts, St Barts, St Martin, Anguilla, Salt, Cooper, Peter, Jost Van Dyke; all in the northern Leeward Islands.

                                                    2. I'm not a big Alton fan. He's not nearly as original nor knowledgeable as people think, (other than what his staff digs up in other people's books), but he is a good entertainer, and brings some surface knowledge to the masses that don't read books. But I thought that this ending to Feasting On Waves was excellent food TV. It was good enough to remind me of Bourdain. His venture to the BVI and White Bay on Jost Van Dyke led him to the One Love Bar and Grill and its owner, Seddy. Seddy made a great fish stew that was obviously really special to Alton - he called it one of the best 5 things that he had eaten. This was an excellent way to end the series. When a host really loves a food and/or the cook, it comes through. It's not just a job any more - it's really interesting and enjoyable to them, and it translates to the screen.

                                                      The afterword was Alton being his silly old self - talking about what made Seddy's stew (and anything else) so good, being love. What a crock. Love doesn't make food good. Experience, knowledge and skill make food good. Love can make mediocre food more memorable - but it can't make it good. Seddy's recipe, passed on from his grandmother, was great because of the ingredients and technique he had learned from his grandmother and his desire to practice and make it as good as he remembered. But I'm glad Alton enjoyed the dish and the visit with Seddy and his family - it was a good wrap to the mini-series. Perhaps he should consider extending these 4/year shows to more of a Bourdain-like series that includes as much travel and culture as it does food. He's gotta be tired of his pseudo-science shtick, and ICA could use a little refreshening. I know - have Ruhlman and Bourdain take over the host and floor interviewer jobs!

                                                      4 Replies
                                                      1. re: applehome

                                                        applehome, i think your post puts my thoughts into writing better than i could. i almost thought alton was gonna cry. he seemed to really focus, too, on the love he felt in these groups of people -- for each other (and for him not as a celeb, but as a person).

                                                        recall the church potluck where he couldn't remember what he ate (hello? alton!) so he didn't talk about that food, but the love of the people. is he a lonesome guy? it seemed so. i think the good feeling he had about the folks there in the islands contributed to his statement that seddy's grandmother's stew was one of the five best things he'd ever eaten...in his entire LIFE.

                                                        this last episode made up for the anguilla one i saw.

                                                        now i've got to go get some of that island-cooking "secret ingredient," goya adobo seasoning. ;-) http://www.goya.com/english/products/...

                                                        1. re: applehome

                                                          Despite being a fan of Good Eats, I was grossly disappointed by Feasting on Waves. The coverage of the various islands and their respective cuisines was very poor. The most interesting part of the series was seeing how Alton reacted outside of his comfort zones (i.e. the US and his studio). I believe that Alton came off as condescending and abrupt, at times, with the locals he interviewed. This show did not live up to my expectations nor did highlight Caribbean cuisine. At this point, I am not sure if Alton should be blamed, given FN's shift toward appealing solely to Joe-Sixpack. In my opinion, all of the recent FN shows has been dumbed down to the tv equivalent of Hamburger Helper.

                                                          1. re: robcrab

                                                            Could you elaborate on the islands and their cuisines? What did Alton and crew miss? If you were traveling on a chartered sailboat out of St Kitts, what would you have covered?

                                                            1. re: robcrab

                                                              how did the series cater to "joe sixpack"? why do you consider it "dumbed down"? just curious.....

                                                          2. Still found the show interesting but I don't ever want to hear the term Johnny Cake again...

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: Withnail42

                                                              At risk of being censored by the moderators here, I will state that I loved this series and laughed out loud when Alton said to the ladies in Ep. 2 that he did not know who Rachael Ray was.

                                                              Also, am I plain old nuts or did the music producer of this series borrow from a certain Dire Straits song for one of the many themes of this show?

                                                              1. re: eller

                                                                Why would you think that the mods would cut out your comment? Is it because it's a positive comment on Alton? The majority of comments here about Alton are positive.