Kinda Blue Transcript

Whole Foods Market
Atlanta, GA - August

GUESTS: Shoppers #1, #2, and #3

    [AB teleports in on top of a modified doctor's scale with smoke and lighting sparks, wearing goggles and a colander hat, he checks his settings] Summer. August. [laughs maniacally]

AB: [to a shopper] You! When is it?
SHOPPER #1: What?
AB: What season is it, man?
S#1: Chill, dude. It’s summertime.
AB: Summertime? [becomes even more excited] It is?

    [he begins running around the produce section] Oh, look, look. Look at the produce. Beautiful, peaches, nectarines, apricots ...

AB: [to S #2] They’re beautiful.

... plums. And everything’s here. Oh, look. Look at the tomatoes. Heirloom tomatoes. Avocados! It’s nice.

AB: [to Shopper #2, holding the avocado he's examining] Not a bad price, either.

    And of course, the berries. Oh look at them all! Beautiful raspberries, boysenberries, marionberries, those round things over there. And of course, blueberries bursting with aroma, flavor, and a color found nowhere else in the food spectrum. Equal parts tart and sweet. Each berry, a tiny little time bomb of juicy goodness, waiting to go off. So what, you say? Huh, let’s try a little experiment. [returns  to his machine, adjusts the dials to Winter and January and transports himself]

Whole Foods Market
Atlanta, GA - January

GUESTS: Shopper #4

    [after transporting, most of the produce disappears except for a few poorly stocked displays, examines dials and laughs knowingly]

AB: [runs up to a S #4 now dressed for cold weather, but still talks to us]

    Look! A scarf, coat, hat, sniffles, a little bit of a fever. It has got to be winter, and yet, look around. Peaches are plentiful! Squash, citrus, plentiful. And tomatoes, plentiful. As for the blueberries, however, not so much. I mean, sure, there are a few off-season foreign-born blues available from places like Chile. But there are a relatively new crop outside the U.S., and therefore, extremely expensive. [tasting] Do you get what you pay for? No, because blueberries picked, packed, and shipped from half a planet away are going to smell, feel, and taste like the wee little blue marbles that they are.

AB: [to S #4] Feel better.

    [returning to the time machine] So, if we could figure out when to find them, where to find them, and what to do with them to maximize their culinary potential, we will never have a case of the blues. And now, time to go back to the ...

[“Good Eats” theme plays]

Happy Berry Farm
Six Mile, SC – 10:15am

GUESTS: Many Children
                    Deb Duchon, Nutritional Anthropologist

AB: [on a ladder talking into a hand-held megaphone] Okay, kids, I know you were looking forward to a field trip to the aquarium, but the aquarium was ... Well, it’s closed, so you’re going to pick berries for me instead. Now, we are looking for blueberries that are firm, dry, and wrinkle-free, okay? Size doesn’t matter, but color does. We’re after deep indigo blue, and they should be coated with what looks kind of like a silvery frost. It’s called fruit bloom. It’s a natural waterproofing. It also appears on grapes and plums and what-not. Now, hop to! Get to it! Get to picking! Let’s go!

    Due to the relative ease of harvest, and human-sized bushes, You-Pick blueberry farms dot much of the countryside during the summer months, at least here in the eastern United States. Now since blueberries are American, it makes sense that they would appear with great frequency and with considerable variation. Oddly enough, blueberries only became commercially available in the last hundred years or so ... [descends the ladder]

DD: [at the bottom of the ladder] ... thanks to Miss Elizabeth White.
AB: What are you doing here?

    Alright, which one of you at home said “nutritional anthropologist”?

DD: [pointing as if she can see into the camera] That guy there. Naugahyde chair. Green pants.
AB: Yeah. [through the megaphone] Well, thanks a lot, Mr. Talks-To-His-Television.
AB: Alright, I guess I have to bite. Who's Elizabeth White?
DD: She’s the woman who almost single-handedly started the whole commercial blueberry business. Her friends called her “Lizzy”, by the way. You see, up until the early 20th century, blueberries were sort of a fringe fruit, because nobody could figure out how to propagate them.
AB: Okay.
DD: So then there’s this U.S.D.A. scientist named Frederick Coville, who was doing research it. Lizzy White, who was a cranberry farmer in New Jersey, contacted him and she supplied all these pickers who went out in the woods, and they found the best and the biggest blueberries that were growing wild. And he developed them into a high bush blueberry that had big berries and was easy to harvest. And that’s where most of our commercial berries come from today. Their first crop was in 1916.
AB: Okay, sounds good.
DD: But I gotta admit, in my experience, the best blueberries are the wild ones that grow on low bushes out in the woods.
AB: Well, can you still find them?
DD: Oh, sure. They’re in the woods around here.
AB: Really?
DD: If you’re willing to go out there and look.
AB: Oh, that’s not a problem. [back on the megaphone] Alright, blue team, red team: I want you to grab your snakebite kits and head over to the wood line. We’re going to pick in the forest. Let’s go! Great field trip! We’re all having a fantastic time!

The Kitchen

    [at the refrigerator] Store your blues in a sealable container, unwashed, to discourage any mold that might attempt to set up housekeeping. They’ll keep up there, eh, a week, depending on the exact variety. Of course, that doesn’t exactly help you in January, does it? Don’t worry; just about every kitchen in America has a time machine built in.
    Due to their size, shape, texture, and sugar content, blueberries take very well to the freezer. Now the trick is to freeze them as quickly as possible. That will result in small ice crystals, and the smaller the ice crystals, well, the less they’ll damage, and that means less weeping when the berries are thawed.
    My method? Simply arrange the berries thusly, in a single layer, on a metal sheet pan and place inside the freezer. Now the metal, of course, is a conductor. It will help to move heat out of the blueberries as quickly as possible and quickly freeze them. Once they are hard as a rock, you can simply move them into the storage vessel of your choice. Me? I like zip top freezer bags, which, of course, are easy to label.
    Now, you’re looking to get maybe three to six months of top-quality blueberry bliss here. But to be quite honest, if you keep them down in the bottom of the freezer, you’ll get a year out of them, easy. Cool, huh?
    [looking through a dictionary] Let’s see, Buchenwald, buck, bucks, bucket ... Ah, here we go, "buckle - a clasp, consisting of a rectangular or curved rim...” No, wrong one. Here we go, here we go. “To bend, warp, bulge, or collapse.” And then, further down, “An early American form of coffee cake, usually baked with fresh fruit.” Now, riddle me this, America? Why would any baker want to name a tasty treat after a structural failure? Patience, grasshopper.

Native Americans called the blueberry “star-berry,”
due to its ruffled, five-pointed calyx.

The Kitchen

GUEST: The Chicken

    Fetch forth your favorite 9” x 9” glass baking dish and liberally lube said vessel with no-stick spray. That should do it.

    Now, we will turn our attention to assembling the dry team. And I’m going to do the flour, at least, by weight. We’re going to need nine ounces of cake flour. Now, if you’re a volumetric kind of cook, we’re talking about two cups here. But remember, cake flour is a fine mill and it will compact a great deal and that will throw things off. So, I really would weigh if I were you. There. That’ll do. 9 Ounces Cake Flour
    We’ll follow that with one teaspoon of baking powder; not baking soda, baking powder. Half a teaspoon of kosher salt, and half a teaspoon also, of ground ginger. Now, whisk to combine. 1 tsp. Baking Powder
½ tsp. Kosher Salt
½ tsp. Ground Ginger
    The wet team begins with two ounces of unsalted butter in the work bowl of your mixer, paddle-attached. We will then add five and a quarter ounces—that’s about three quarters of a cup—of granulated sugar. We will apply medium speed for about one minute or until this mixture is nice and fluffy. 2 Ounces Unsalted Butter,
    Room Temperature
5¼ Ounces Sugar
    Now, if you are a faithful “Good Eats” fan, you will easily recognize this. Is it A. The Sponge Method, B. The Muffin Method, or C. The Creaming Method?
    That’s right: C. If you said “A” or “B”, perhaps you should stop reading so many comic books and watch more television!

A. Sponge Method
B. Muffin Method, or
C. Creaming Method

THE CHICKEN: Bu-baaww.
AB: [pulls an egg out from under the plaster chicken] Ahh, thank you, chicken.

    One egg right into the mix, and return to medium speed.

1 Whole Egg
    When the eggs have been absorbed, and the mixture is nice and creamy, turn the mixer down to its lowest setting, and we’ll start adding the dry team in small doses. It’ll take about three installments. And we’re going to alternate that with three installments of one-half cup of milk. Why bother with the installments? Because it will result in a smoother batter. And a smoother batter will make for a better buckle. ½ Cup Whole Milk
    [after mixing] Time for the blues. Fifteen ounces, or three cups, of either fresh of frozen blueberries. Stir them in gently. Now when I use frozen berries for this, I like to add them in their frozen state because they’re less likely to burst. And then I just pan up the batter, and let it sit for half an hour so that they can thaw in the cake. 15 Ounces Whole Blueberries
    Now one of the things that distinguishes coffee cakes, including buckles, is a crisp topping called a streusel. We combine three and a half ounces of sugar—it’s about half a cup, there—one and a half ounces of cake flour—that’s about a third of a cup— and half a teaspoon of nutmeg. And yes, I always do this fresh. I keep one of these in my pocket just for these occasions. There. 3½ Ounces Sugar
1½ Ounces Cake Flour
½ tsp. Freshly Grated Nutmeg
    [at the refrigerator] Next, we need two ounces of unsalted butter. Oh, cubed, please.

AB: [hands it to T in the back of the fridge]
THING: [returns the cubed butter to AB]
AB: Thank you.

    I love this refrigerator.
    [back at the kitchen counter] Work the butter into your dry ingredients using either a fork or just your fingers.

2 Ounces Unsalted Butter,
    Chilled & Cubed

    Say, is this the A. The Cookie Method, B. The Biscuit Method, or C. The Strudel Method
    That’s right. It’s “B”, the biscuit method. You have been paying attention. I’m proud of you.

A. Cookie Method
B. Biscuit Method
C. Strudel Method

    There, that’s a good texture. Now just sprinkle that right on top of the cake. Do not pack it down. You want it nice and loose. There we go. Perfect.

    [at the oven] Park in the middle of a 375 degree oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until golden, brown, and delicious.

375° Degrees [sic]

    [after baking] There, you can see all the little nooks and crannies that give the buckle its name. You know, I just can’t think of anything better for breakfast. Unless ... Pie!

The first buckle recipe on record is from Elsie Masterton’s
1959 Blueberry Hill Cookbook.

Whole Foods Market
Atlanta, GA – 2:15 pm

    If Americans had to vote for a national dessert, my money would be on pie. It’s the clear winner. I mean, sure, cake is nice. But even the simplest incarnation of it speaks of sophistication. Cake is somehow uptown. Pie, on the other hand, is Huck Finn, Aunt Bee.
    Of course, apple pie is nice. But you know, apples are from Kazakhstan. Blueberries are from here. Now, unfortunately ... ah [spots what he wants in the freezer case] ... most American’s aren’t going to go through the trouble of making fruit pie, which explains the presence of all of these boxes of frozen pie [opens up a box and shows]. The truth is, I’m a fan of frozen pie. I’m also a fan of homemade pie. And no, that’s not a contradiction. [puts the pie back, and surreptitiously replaces the box in the freezer case]

The Kitchen

    So here’s my pie plan. I have 20 ounces of blueberries here, just rinsed and patted dry. 20 Ounces Fresh Blueberries

    Now divide this into two batches, like this. And one batch—say, this bunch over here—is going to remain whole. This bunch over here, not so much. We’re going to mash those up [mashes with the bottom of a loaf pan]. Now mashing is going to release a good bit of flavor, but it’s also going to release powerful jelling agents called pectin. They’re responsible for making blueberry jam set up. They’re definitely going to help our pie. But they won’t be enough to thicken it entirely. For that, we’ll also need some starch.

British WWII pilots were said to have better night vision because
they ate jam made from blueberry’s close cousin, the bilberry.

The Kitchen

    [at the pantry] Behold, most of the common culinary starches. Now we know that starches thicken, but how they perform in a given application depends on how much of the two forms of starch they contain.

Bread Flour
Brown Rice Flour
Tapioca Flour

    Now a starch high in amylose, which would look like this if you had an electron microscope [shows a spiral prop], will create a strong gel, but across a relatively narrow temperature range, okay?


    On the other hand, a starch high in amylopectin [shows another prop that is very irregular] will not create a gel that is quite as thick as amylose, but it will tolerate temperatures well below freezing. So, for my frozen pie filling, I will go with amylopectin-packed tapioca flour.


    So, we begin with one and a quarter ounces of our tapioca flour. That’s about five tablespoons. To that, we will add four ounces of sugar. It’s about half of a cup. One teaspoon of freshly-grated orange zest, a pinch—well, eighth of a teaspoon—of kosher salt. And we’ll whisk that up just to get everything combined. 1¼ Ounces Tapioca Flour
4 Ounces Sugar
1 tsp. Orange Zest
⅛ tsp. Kosher Salt
    Then, one tablespoon of freshly-squeezed orange juice, and all of the berries [whole and mashed]. I’m just going to scoot everything right out. I find that a plastic bowl scraper is the perfect tool for this. 1 Tbs. Freshly Squeezed
    Orange Juice

    There. Let this sit for 15 minutes so that the pectin and the starch can get to know each other a little.
    Meanwhile, line a nine-inch pie plate with aluminum foil. Then fill it with your blueberry mixture and stick it in the freezer for six to eight hours. When it is set up rock-hard, peel it out of the pie pan—the foil will make it easier—place it in a zip-top bag and store for another day.
    Alright, kids, it’s pie time. Let’s review the workstation, shall we? Hardware: one metal ruler, one nine-inch pie pan, one basting brush, one fork, one pair of clean scissors or shears.

    Software includes one egg yolk beaten with about a teaspoon of water, some all-purpose flour standing by to prevent stickage, and 15 ounces of pie dough, divided into two, and rolled into 11.5-inch rounds. Yes, homemade dough would be best, but I’d rather you make your own pie with store-bought dough, than to not make your pie at all. 1 Egg Yolk + 1 tsp. Water
Pie Dough For 2 (9 Inch)

    Move one of the rounds to your pie pan, push down the corners, crimp the edges nice and neat, and then dock with a standard kitchen fork. In this case, the work “dock” comes from the same “dock” as in “dock your pay”, meaning “to abbreviate”. Old word. In this case, it’ll let the steam out, which is good. Now just drop in your frozen fruit disk, and turn your attention to the next piece of dough.
    You need to create strips, so use a ruler that’s an inch and an eighth wide, and just kind of crawl it across the dough, pushing down, to make these strips. We’re only going to use seven of these. Position four of them across the pie, leaving about an inch in between. There. Now fold back strips one and three and lay in your first horizontal strip. There. Now replace one and three and pull back two and four, add your second strip. Replace two and four and pull back one and three one last time and add a third strip. There, it’s pretty simple. Just seven pieces of dough. Now, crimp everything together, so that the pie doesn’t come apart, and trim the edges with a pair of scissors.
    Next, the egg wash. Just on the doughy parts will contribute to browning.

    Place your pie on a sheet pan, just in case there are any boil-overs, and park on the bottom rack of a 325 degree oven for one and one-quarter hours. Now if after that time you think that your pie needs a little more browning, broil it for one to three minutes. But make sure that the top of the pie is no less than six inches from the bottom of the broiler.

325° Degrees [sic]

    [after baking, the pie is in a glass case.] Unh, unh, unh. This pie must cool for one and half to two hours before consumption. If, in an act of craven greed, you were to breach the crust, and accost the cooling mass below, you would be punished. Because if it shifts even a little while it’s hot, the filling will not gel and you will be left with blueberry soup. How do I know? Trust me, I know. [looks at his watch mournfully]

Tapioca flour is a starch made from the root of the
cassava or yuca [sic, the English spelling is 'yucca'] plant.

Atkins Pharmacy
Marietta, GA – 4:15 pm

GUESTS: Customers #1, #2 and #3

    [AB is behind the pharmacist counter dressed as one] Besides being low in calories, high in vitamin C and fiber, blueberries are in demand for their anthocyanins. Those are the pigments that give blues their hue. They also provide chart-topping antioxidants power. Antioxidants, of course, are the free radical chomping substances that play a major role in guarding the body against a host of degenerative diseases and disorders.


Film Coated
Rx Only
500 Tablets

AB: Can I help you?
CUSTOMER #1: I think I’m worried about memory loss.
AB: Ahh, blueberries can help fight the oxidative stresses that lead to age-related brain disorders. [hands the customer a bottle of blueberries]
C #1: Oh, thank you. I think I’m worried about memory loss.
AB: Maybe you should take two. [to C #2] Can I help you?
CUSTOMER #2: Doc says I need to work on my heart.
AB: Mmm, reverse the cell damage with a daily dose of blueberries. Hah hah. [to C#3] Can I help you?
CUSTOMER #3: Yeah, you got anything to help me keep me looking young?
AB: Be wrinkle free with blueberries. Truth is, if everyone ate just a serving of blueberries a day, we might just put those greedy old drug companies right out of business.

    Now, if you’ll excuse me, saving mankind has made me a little thirsty.

The Kitchen

    A wise man once  asked,  “Where is the blue food?”* Well. I ask, “Where is the blue beverage?” Can’t think of one? Not to worry. Simply rinse and drain four cups of blueberries and place in a medium saucepan with two cups of water. And then bring to a boil over medium-high heat. When said boil has been attained, drop the heat to low, and simmer for 15 minutes. 20 Ounces Fresh Whole
2 Cups Water

    When the simmering is done, kill the heat, and drain your berries into a cheesecloth-lined colander, sitting over a nice, deep bowl. Since manual manipulation will be required in the next step, you might want to let this cool down for 15 minutes before proceeding. When the mixture is cool enough to handle, gather up all the corners of the cheesecloth, and give it a good squeeze. You want to get out as much of the juice as possible. There we go. There, I think that’ll do it.

    Next, we return the juice to the saucepan. Add seven ounces of sugar, the juice of one lime—that’s about one fluid ounce. Turn the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. 7 Ounces Sugar
Juice Of One Lime

    After two minutes of boiling, your new syrup can be poured off into a heat-proof vessel. Let this cool on the counter for at least an hour before lidding up and moving to the refrigerator.
    [at the refrigerator] Safely sealed in a glass jar, your syrup will keep in here somewhere between six months, until the next Ice Age.
    [tasting the buckle, pie and raw blueberries] Mmmm. To enjoy, simply combine one quarter cup of your blueberry syrup with eight ounces of carbonated water or seltzer. It’s refreshing, delicious, and nutritious.
    Be it winter, spring, summer, or fall, there is no reason you can’t enjoy fresh, or nearly fresh, blueberries all year long. And honestly, I could eat these things every gosh darn day, and given their ranking in the health food community, I probably should. See you next time, on Good Eats. [drinks his blueberry spritzer, with great enthusiasm]

[closing credits]

The Kitchen


YOUNG AB: [finishing his blueberry spritzer, the camera pans out to show that AB is now a little boy] Now THAT’S what I call a time machine.

*Possibly from a George Carlin standup routine:

Transcribed by Michael Roberts
Proofread by Michael Menninger

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Last Edited on 08/27/2010