Behind the Bird Transcript

[Usually Alton speaks in the first person in the transcripts. However, in
this episode he appears as the "guest" with Blair McGuffin as the host.]

Good Eats Graphic

    [voice over] Tonight's episode of Good Eats will not be shown so that we can bring you the following special presentation.

The Kitchen

    Hi. I'm Blair McGuffin. Last fall I was granted permission by the producers of Good Eats to film a documentary called Romancing the Bird: A Good Eats Thanksgiving. Storm clouds were brewing in the North Eastern sky as my crew and I arrived in Atlanta. But none of us could have foreseen the crisis we would soon endure. Although we did cover the actual shooting of the special a very real and very unexpected drama unfolded after director Chris Gyoury called the final cut.

Outside Steps

GUEST: Alton Brown
            Chris Gyoury
            Susan Boyles

AB: This is Good Eats. See you next year.

    After a tough week, the well-oiled Good Eats machine has just put the final shot—or in film jargon, Martini Shot—in the can.

SUSAN BOYLES: That's a wrap and NO martinis.
AB: Yes, Marty? Great. Well have him call me right away. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Hi. Did you get everything you needed, Miss McGuffin?
BLAIR MCGUFFIN: I don't mean to trouble you, but we'd love some follow-up interviews.
AB: Well, you know, you'd better hurry. Most of these people have flights out although I'm really not sure I'd want to fly in this sky.
SB: No, but I hope my flight to Saint Thomas isn't delayed.
AB: Oh, Susan, don't worry. It never snows in Atlanta for long.
SB: Yeah, right.

Den / Kitchen

GUEST: Marsha B., Part Time Decorator
            Susan B., Script Supervisor
            Cousin Ray, Unemployed

    Although an inch of snow paralyzes Atlanta, the Good Eats set is an island of good times.

MARSHA BROWN BRADY: ... I bet it tastes better, too. Give that a try. Oh, hah. Well, hello. I'm Marsha. And when I roast marshmallows, I like to do it with a little flare. So, we've made these decorative borders to decorate our marshmallow roasting forks with. Let's see, um ... I seem to ... Alton!
AB: Yep.
MBB: Have you got any lace?
AB: Nope.
MBB: Satin ribbon?
AB: No.
MBB: Old buttons?
AB: No.
MBB: Fishing wire?
AB: Garage. Oh, good. Lock it. Lock it when she goes out.
SB: The airport is closed and they're ... the forecast is expecting another half an inch by morning. We could be stranded here for days.
AB: Okay, this could get bad. Listen. I know we've got enough leftover turkey and fixings from the show, but you'd better go downstairs and inventory everything just in case we have to ration.

    Let's follow him.

CR: [comes up behind SB]
BM: Hi, Ray. What do you think of the storm?
CR: Très romantique, don't ya think?
BM: Excuse me?
CR: You don't have to pretend with me.

Day Two
The Kitchen

GUEST: Cameraman

    Day two of our snowy siege comes to a close. Part-time caterer, designer and event planner, Marsha Brown Brady, has created some extraordinary turkey sandwiches for the Good Eats technicians.

MBB: Yes.
  BM: Marsha.

MBB: Hi. I'm Marsha. And today, I've created some delightful finger sandwiches for those big-boy appetites. We have leftover turkey and daikon in a pickle-chestnut mayonnaise. Mm, hmm. And for for a relish, I've got these festive little green ... What are you doing, Alton?

Definitely not at

  AB: Trying to save you from humiliation. You got to remember, Marsha, most of these guys still eat standing over the sink.
MBB: Mm, hmm. Well, you just wait. I bet these sandwiches come flyin' off the plate.
[Marsha and technicians shouting off camera]
  AB: Ooohh. You might not want to stand there. [sandwiches come flying and hit BM] Never mind.
  BM: Did you get that?
    C: Yeah, I got it, I got it.
  BM: Okay.
  AB: Hmm. It looks like she was right after all.
  CR: Uh, Cousin A. B, I'm afraid the technicians have opted to retain Cousin Marsha until such time as you deliver them some decent turkey sammiches.
  AB: Ray, why are you talking like that?
  CR: I have been elected group representative.
  AB: Well, you know what? Keep her, big guy.
  CR: Keep her.

The Interview
Alton's Bedroom

    I'm so excited. I have finally grabbed him. He's alone, I'm sure he will talk to us. Who cares if it says "Keep Out"?

Alton Brown
Keep Out Pleeze!

BM: Mr. Brown?
AB: Hmm? Oh.
BM: Hi.
AB: Oh, Miss McGuffin. Um, ...
BM: We're not disturbing you, are we?
AB: No. Come in, come in, come in. Please. Have a seat ... that stuff ...
BM: Oh, those are cute pigs. Heh, heh.
AB: Nice pigs, yeah, those are my slippers.  Hey, you want an apron? You want one of these aprons?
BM: No, I don't really ...
AB: Ah, go ahead. I've got a trunk full of them.
BM: Okay.
AB: Mom bought three. I can't get rid of them.
BM: Thanks. What do you think about all of this that's going on with Marsha and ...
AB: Oh, Marsha. Heh, heh. You know ... shhh. Heeh, you don't hear anything. Ha, ha, ha. They probably got her mouth taped up!  They're going to kick her out in, like, half an hour because the crew hate Marsha and they've been with her a week!
BM: They hate her?
AB: Oh, my gosh. [mimicking Marsha]  "Di-di, di-di, di-di. You could do this with your hair. You know your outfit would really be nicer with that in." Hey, are you hungry?
BM: I'm starved.
AB: Yeah, me too. You know, let's just go ahead and make the sandwiches. We'll make some sandwiches. Come on. Come on.

The Sandwiches
Basement Kitchen

GUEST: Cybil B., Recipe Coordinator

    Hurry. Faster. Something smells great.

BM: What is that?

CYBIL B: Hey. This is the cranberry dipping sauce from the show. I had a couple of cups left over so I'm going to put, like, a half a cup of ginger ale in it and a cup of sugar—ooh, it's bubbling up—and I'm going to make a jam for the knuckle-dragger sandwiches.

2 Cups "Good Eats"
    Cranberry Sauce
1/2 Cup ginger ale
1 Cup sugar

BM: Wow, that looks so easy.
CB: It's simple. Just simmer it down until it's like a loose jam and then be careful because it will thicken as it cools. And remember, keep the heat low or it will burn like crazy.
BM: Can I try it?
CB: Yeah, but be careful. It's real hot.
BM: Mmm.
CB: Yummy, huh?
BM: I can't wait. Where's A. B.?
CB: Oh, he's in the prop room with W.
BM: But, I didn't know she was here.
CB: That's where they keep her.
BM: The prop room?

Prop Room

GUEST: "W", Equipment Specialist
            Paul Merchant, Toaster Enthusiast

BM: Hey!  [surprised]
AB: Gosh, you startled me, Miss McGuffin.
BM: Oh, my God!  She's a ...
AB: W? Oh, she's a cyborg.
BM: Aah.
AB: You didn't ...
BM: I love, W.
AB: ... wired command interface ... You know, real people, real people don't talk like she does. I mean, come on. But, she is pretty useful. We keep about 12 gigs of memory on her, most of our product information stuff, and I needed a little bit of data on toasters. Hey, Paul. Let's go with the Cuisinart and the Krups, okay? Did you know that up until about 10 years ago there hadn't been any real advances in toaster technology since, well, the days of Albert Marsh?
BM: Who's Albert Marsh.

Basement Kitchen

PM: [yelling] Just the greatest man who ever walked this earth ...
AB: Shh, shh.
PM: ... who in 1909 invented ni-chromium, a nickel-chromium alloy capable of repeated heating through electrical current.
AB: Okay, okay. Thanks, Paul. Thanks. You know, the problem with toasters all these years has really been consistency. I mean, different pieces of bread have different levels of moisture in them, right? And a toaster can't know that. So, you put one piece in and you put it on 3 and it comes out looking one way and you put in another piece on three and it comes out burned. That is until recently. Because re ...
PM: Yeah. Today's new generation of toasters, uh, utilizes ...
AB: Keep calm, keep calm.
PM: ... quartz technology. Uh, they have heating bars, they have micro-coils, uh, sensors.  They can think for themselves.
AB: Yeah, well.
BM: I thought toasters had two slots.
PM: Uh, but the single slot is far more flexible. You can toast up to three bagels, a large slice of rye, ...
AB: Keep calm.
PM: ... pita halves, pound cake, waffles, [getting more excited] flounder, even ...
AB: Okay, okay, okay. Just stand here a second.
PM: Okay.
AB: Stand there. There are a lot of features in today's toasters. But if you're really shopping for one, there are a few things you definitely want to look for. For instance, see this? That's a cancel button in case you change your mind. You just hit that, it's all over with. Uh, I like to have a defrost feature, you know, for frozen foods, frozen waffles, things like that. Oh, a cool-touch chassis so it won't heat up even after repeated toastings. Oh, a good set of ejectors is nice. And a place to coil up ... I got it, Paul ... a place to coil up the extra cord on the bottom. And most of all, you want to have at least 6 to 7 browning settings.
PM: I made this one. It goes to 11.
BM: Why not just make 10 higher?
PM: But, it goes to 11.
AB: Okay, hey, hey. You know what? Time out, Paul. Time out.
BM: Why do they make such a big deal about toast, anyway?
AB: Well ... sorry for that ... you know, when it  comes to sandwiches, toast is great for a lot of reasons. One's just the texture contrast, two is the flavor. It's got to do with this thing called the Maillard principle. It's how sugars ... well. Most of all, though, I think it's about structural integrity. You know, the sandwich was actually invented to be kind of self-supporting. I'd love to tell you more, but ...
PM: [from his time-out location] But I'm not a Nutritional Anthropologist!

The "Sandwich" was born in 1762 when the 4th Earl of Sandwich, placed roast beef between 2 slices of bread, so that he could eat and play cards simultaneously.

Basement Kitchen

BM: Is there anything else you can do to make a sandwich more stable?
AB: Oh, besides toasting, sure. Actually, just by putting on a layer of that high-sugar jam or some of this mayonnaise which happens to be mostly fat, you're actually creating a kind of impermeable, waterproof layer that's going to protect the bread from getting all gushy. But you got to make sure you cover completely. Yeah, that's good.
PM: And the more flexible the bread, the smaller the meat has to be so it doesn't punch through the actual bread surface.
AB: Ah, yeah, what he's trying to say ... you want to hand me that bread over there ... is say you take some big old chunks of turkey that you haven't been careful to carve and you build a sandwich, and then you pick it up and it punches through like that and it gets nasty. So, if you're going to make a sandwich out of that kind of bread, you're either going to have to chopped this up and make it into a turkey salad or you can use slices, like ... can you believe how moist this still is?
CB: Oh, my gosh. It's the bomb.
AB: This stuff is the bomb.
BM: What's the bomb?
AB: [begins to answer but then blows it off]
PM: It also depends on the cut.
AB: Well, yeah. And the crust.
BM: The cut?
PM: It's, uh, basic sandwich science.
AB: Yeah, you know. But we're doing a sandwich dynamic show next year so let's save a little of this for later, Paul.

Sandwich Building Tips:
• Toast bread for flavor, texture, and stability
• Prevent sogginess with butter, mayo, or jam.
• Fillings are less likely to fall out if sandwich is cut corner to corner.

Day Four
Stairs / Bedroom / Bathroom

    Day four finds us still besieged by the snow and Marsha still being held captive by the technicians in exchange for food. Their representative just came and demanded hash for breakfast. Can you believe that? Hash. This is getting better every minute.

CR: Oh, Miss McGuffin, are your feet tired?
BM: No. Why?
CR: Cause you've been running through my mind all day, baby.
BM: A. B., what do you think about that demand?
AB: Ah, good morning, Miss McGuffin. I'm relieved, frankly. I think it's great.
BM: Well, isn't hash really involved?
AB: Nope. Actually, it's the original ... help me, hand me that towel over there, ahh here it is ... it's the original tour de frigo.
BM: What's that?
AB: Oh, it's French for refrigerator tour. It kind of means leftovers. I mean, here's the thing. The word "hash" comes from the old French, hacher, to chop or mince. It just means chopping up a bunch of stuff from a leftover meal and binding it up with gravy or wine, broth, something like that. In fact, you know, during the 19th century, hash was so popular that there were actually Hash Houses in the United States where you could go in and order high-class hash, medium-class hash and low-grade hash. And they're messing with the wrong guy because I do high-class hash.
BM: Wow. Come on. Hey, A. B.

The Hash
Basement Kitchen

  AB: I'm afraid we're going to have to talk while we cook, Miss McGuffin.
MBB: [on monitor] MMMMMM!   MMMMMM!
  CB: Yes. I love it. I love it.
  AB: Oh, my gosh. You know, guys, I like her better like that, too. I know, I know. But we're going to have to cook for these knuckle-draggers, okay? Man the refrigerators. It's hash time. Okay, you see I've got a nice, big, heavy pan over medium-high heat already. That's great. We're ready to go. Cybil, what do you got for me?

CB: I've got half a pound of breakfast sausage, sir.

1/2 lb. breakfast sausage

AB: Ideal. Bring it. Right in the pan, Miss McGuffin. Right in the pan.
BM: [takes a few seconds doing it and leaves wrapping on stove]
AB: You haven't spent a lot of time in the kitchen, have you? Don't ever put that on there. Okay, what we're going to do is we're going to render this. That means we're going to let the meat cook until some of the fat cooks out and liquefies. Then we're going to use that fat to sweat the other ingredients. It'll just take a couple of minutes. And I like to do this in a black cast-iron skillet because basically we're going to be adding a lot of things from the refrigerator, leftovers. They're going to be cold which means they're going to want to cool down the pan. By using a cast-iron skillet, it holds on to heat really well and it'll redirect its heat and that'll make the cooking go a whole lot faster. Hey, Paul. Talk to me.

PM: I got what looks like a half a onion and some minced jalapeño.

1/2 onion, chopped
1 jalapeño, minced

AB: Bring it. Bring it. Bring it. Aromatics. Ideal. Dump right in there. I'm going to give just a little bit of oil to this so we can speed things up a little bit. Now we're going to sweat these which means we're just going to cook these until they soften, give up some of their flavors, some of their aroma. Cybil.
CB: Yep?
AB: What's ya got?

CB: Half a cup of red peppers here, sir.

1/2 Cup chopped red pepper

  AB: Ideal. Perfect timing. More aromatics. They're going to bring a lot of flavor and, believe it or not, color. Don't be shy. Get it in the pan, Miss McGuffin.
  CB: My mom would be better ...
  AB: Your mom would be ... well, I hope. Doesn't look like you spend much time cooking with her.
  AB: Uh, Paul?
  PM: Anchovies?
  AB: Anchovies. You know, maybe later, big guy. Cybil, help me out here.

CB: I've got a cup and a half of cubed red bliss potatoes here.

1 - 1/2 Cup cubed,
cooked red potatoes

AB: Are they cooked?
CB: Yep.
AB: Drain them and bring them.
CB: You got it.
AB: Usually a third to a half of hash is always going to be starch, usually leftovers. Now, I got no idea where these things came from but it makes perfect sense. In they go. Now, we're going to turn the heat up to high because we want to take some color on these. We want them to brown a little bit. What was that?
BM: Why aren't you cooking upstairs?
AB: Upstairs? Are you kidding? Listen, these refrigerators have locks on them. That's the only reason there's any food left in the entire house. Paul.
PM: Black beans?
AB: How many?

PM: I don't know. Maybe a few hundred. Oh, maybe a cup and a half.

1 - 1/2 Cup cooked black beans

  AB: Okay. That's a can's worth. Fine. Drain them and bring them. Okay, black beans. So, we're going to take this hash kind of south of the border, but that's okay. That's okay. In the pan. In the pan. In the pan.
  AB: Excellent. Excellent. Excellent. Excellent. Cybil?

CB: Yep? Two cups of corn bread pudding left over from the show.

2 Cups corn bread
pudding, cubed

AB: Alright. This is ideal.
CB: Take it.
AB: Come on, Miss McGuffin. Now see, this is leftover .... td-td-td-td ... from our Thanksgiving show. Smell. Smell.  What do you smell?
BM: Rosemary?
AB: Rosemary. It's going to work great with the black beans. There we go. Okay. We've got to finish it up with some meat. Uh, Paul. I think there was a little bit of meat leftover from Hero Turkey number 12. Do you have it?
PM: About a ...
AB: Do you have it?

PM: About a cup.

1 -2 Cups cooked turkey, cubed

  AB: Well bring it. There we go. Now, Cybil.
  CB: Yes?
  AB: Seasoning. Let's go with a nice splash-on of cayenne and a little salt and pepper.
  CB: You got it.
  AB: Now, ordinarily what I'd do is I'd crack some eggs on to this, maybe slide it under the broiler and let everything get crusty. But right now we only have time it get heated through.
  AB: Oh, boy. Here he comes.
  CR: Have you met the demands yet, boy?
  AB: Yes, I've met the demands. Here. You know, ordinarily I'd let it get hot, but in your case why don't you just take it like it is? And please tell your clients not to eat the pan.
  CR: Long live the revolution, brothers!
  AB: Aw, geez.

Recipes for the "Good Eats" Cranberry Sauce and
Corn Bread Pudding are available at

Day Seven
Basement Kitchen

    [heavy breathing]  It's predawn, day seven. The grips have been eating everything and I'm so, so hungry. I don't mean to take food from everybody, but I know where they keep the key. I love you, Mom and Dad!  [opens fridge door and eats some turkey]  Mmm. This is really good!  I'm definitely brining my turkey next year.

CR: [creeps up behind and grabs her]


The Soup
Basement Kitchen

GUEST: Stephanie

CR: [on the video]  So listen here. You have till noon to come up with a hot meal or Marsha's dog Fluffy, here, gets fricasseed.

PM: You know, the Donner party started with animals, too.
CB: That boy's just not right.
AB: Which one?
CB: Either of them.
AB: Alright, Cybil. What've we got?
CB: Well, right now we've got some bare shelves but I did find two quarts of vegetable stock, ...
AB: Yeah.
CB: ... about two cups of leftover turkey meat, ...
AB: Alright.
CB: ... a 10-ounce box of frozen mixed vegetables, ...
AB: Mm.
CB: ... dry thyme, a little bit of Old Bay Seasoning, half a cup of long grain rice, salt, pepper and this turkey carcass that I thawed out this morning.
AB: Well, I don't know guys. I'm all out of moves. Ideas?
BM: Not here.
  C: Hey, how about turkey soup?
PM: That's a good idea.
AB: Paul!  Time out.
PM: Yes, boss.

    Two quarts of vegetable broth were combined with the chopped turkey carcass, brought to a simmer over low heat, covered and left all morning.

2 Qts. vegetable broth
1 turkey carcass

AB: Excuse me.
BM: A. B. Why cook the bones so long?
AB: Um, because this kind of soup is really best when it's made with a stock. Hey, Stephanie.
BM: Is that like a broth? Ooo. I'm sorry.
AB: No. That's a popular misconception. You see, a broth is made from either meat or vegetable. A stock is always made from bones.
BM: Well, what's so great about that?
AB: Well, you see bones and connective tissue contain this protein called collagen, alright? And when you those cook those bones in a moist, you know, like water or whatever, for a long period of time, that collagen melts and becomes the stuff called gelatin which is what Jell-O used to be made of. And it brings a certain unctuousness, a weight on the tongue, it's called mouth-feel. You just can't get that out of a can. You know you can always tell when you've got a soup that's got a lot of gelatin in it because, like, when you put it away or refrigerate it, you know, like for leftovers it'll set up kind of like, well, like loose Jell-O. It gets wiggly.
BM: Wiggly?
AB: Wiggly.
BM: Is that a technical term?
AB: Yes.
BM: Did you ever hear of wiggly?
  C: No.

Not only is "Wiggly" not a technical term, it isn't even a word.*

Basement Kitchen

    The 10 ounces of vegetables, half a cup of rice, two cups of meat, Old Bay, thyme, salt and pepper were added and simmered for another 20 minutes. Then the bones were fished out. The finished soup was delivered to Ray.

10 oz. box mixed vegetables
1/2 cup rice
2 Cups cooked turkey, cubed
1 Tsp. Old Bay
2 Tsp. dry thyme
salt & pepper

BM: You think they liked it?
AB: Well, I think the fact that they haven't kicked the pot down the stairs at us is a good sign.
BM: Yeah, or AT me.
AB: Well, you know the thing is, once you've made soup, where is there left to go. I mean, it's the last culinary line of defense. What are we going to do? Are we going to toast them some baking soda? I'm afraid now all there is to do is wait for rescue.

[helicopter sounds]

BM: What's that?

AB: It sounds like a V-22 Osprey.

V-22 Osprey
[Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey]


GUEST: Mrs. Brown, Home Owner
            Lisa Rooney

[crew and Marsha are having a good time in the kitchen]
  AB: What is going on in here? Marsha!
MBB: Oh, hey, Alton. Hey, the soup's a hit and guess what? It stopped snowing and Ronco and I are getting married.
  AB: Oh, yeah.
MBB: Yeah.
  AB: You and Ronco? Ronco and you? Well guess what? This isn't The Newlywed Game. It's Good Eats, and the ink hasn't even dried on your last divorce papers. [drags Marsha to the front door]
MBB: Alton, please.
MRS: [enters front door]  Hello?
  AB: Mom?
MBB: Mommy?
CREW: Hi, Mrs. Brown.
MRS: Who can tell me why my new wreath was in the bushes?
  AB: No, no, no.
MBB: I put it up just like you asked, Mom, but your son didn't approve.
MRS: Alton.
  AB: Mom, where did you get a helicopter?
MRS: It's Emeril's. I called him. He's the nicest guy.
  AB: Emeril has a helicopter.
MRS: A V-22 Osprey.
  AB: [sigh]
MRS: Oh, don't worry, darling. You'll have your own one day. Now put your sweater on.
  AB: Ooh.
MRS: Anybody want a ride in a helicopter?
MBB: I can't wait to see what Emeril's done with that interior. Mommy, I have somebody I want you to meet. This is my fiancée, Ronco.
    R: Very nice to meet you, Mrs. Brown.
  AB: Aww. I've seen it all, now.
MRS: Oh, he's yummy.
MBB: Isn't he?
  AB: Go ride on the helicopter. I don't care.
  LR: Bye.
CREW: Okay.
  AB: Go ride.
CREW: Bye.
  AB: Ride in the Osprey.

Interior Steps

BM: Any final thoughts?
AB: Yeah. I want a helicopter.
BM: The experience.
AB: The experience. Wow. Well, geez. Seven days. One turkey meal. You know, I really think we pushed the envelope of turkey leftovers about as far it can go. Nah, I don't know. Will our viewers every be pushed to this kind of limit? I don't know. I doubt it. But it's nice to know that if they were to ever, you know, face a crisis of this magnitude, I don't know, maybe we'll be the thing that makes the difference. Hey, good luck on your piece.
BM: Thanks.

    Well, there you have it. Real people, real food triumphing over extraordinary circumstances. It sounds like a real happy ending.

CR: [comes down stairs] Alone at last.

    For some people.

 A Film By Blair McGuffin

Camera...Matt Stillman
Sound...Mike Russel
Lights...Phil Bright

Special Thanks to the crew of Good Eats:
Todd Bailey
Patrick Belden
Stephanie Boyd
Susan Boyles
Joel Brand
Cybil Brown
Sarah Burmeister
Steve Cox
Lester Dragstad
Ramon Engle
Jamie Grey
Chris Gyoury
Larry Krantz
Marion Laney
Paul Merchant
Marshall Millard
Dana Popoff
Lisa Rooney
Steve Rooney
Ted Sapp
David Traylor

This film was made possible through a generous grant from Food Network.

It most certainly is: wiggly

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Last Edited on 08/27/2010