Alton Brown’s last cookbook really is basically his show Good Eats in written form, down to the use of footnotes. Good Eats 4: The Final Years is basically the recipe (both actual how to make and creation history) catalog from Good Eats: Reloaded and Good Eats: The Return (including the “lost” planned but never made season 3 of The Return).
For most all recipes there’s a lot of segmented information to work through including the narrative of the episode and some thoughts thereon, the history of either the actual recipe or key components, and possible notes and expansions, the software (ingredients), the tactical hardware (gadgets, sometimes diy), and the procedure(s), and any relevant notes and side-bars. There are also a lot of pictures and diagrams. The ’behind the scenes’ plus science and actual cookery really does end up felling like tv personality Alton; one footnote opens with “I’m putting some key information down here to check if you’re reading this”.
I like Alton’s general appreciation of science with some allowance for art, but the diy gear is the reason why I’ve never really become an acolyte of his actual cooking. Gathering the parts and assembling the device, assuming it all works the way it did for him seems about as much a waste of time for something I may not be using again any time soon as buying a low-level whatever it is would be a probable waste of money.
For me personally, the one section I’d be tempted to work through a good chunk of is Good Eats: The Return, season 1. For example, episode 2 “Every Grain Old is New Again” focuses on chia, amaranth, and quinoa, things I actually use reasonably often, and no diy equipment. There’s the general cultural history and nutrition background, then a couple of recipes. “Quinoa and Broccoli Casserole” is a tad mislabeled, as it’s almost more of a broccoli cheese quinoa crustless quiche, not what I’d call a casserole. Make quinoa, add broccoli to steam, cook mushrooms and onions, add spices, combine, add custard mix, and layer with cheap cheddar shreds (there’s a footnote that specifies this and explains why (generally higher moistures content). “Chocolate Chia Pudding” is apparently close to the childhood snack cup treat, but a good deal better for you. It does involve avocado and coconut oil though (ie- not the most healthy but probably better than childhood thing), and the coconut oil panel is kind of inexplicably (but probably for space reasons) actually on the opposite page with the conclusion of the previous recipe. The final recipe “Amaranth cookies” are maple-orange in nature, and this sounds really good. The only problem would be sourcing both the whole grain and amaranth flour, and “popping” the whole grains, 1 T. at a time, for a half cup.
The fermentation episode looks interesting and I do like kimchee, kombucha, and siracha, and ok the cold brew episode looks good too, but the time and even basic equipment and space would be challenging. That’s kind of the question with a lot of Alton Brown’s stuff; it sounds like a good, interesting project you could totally feel accomplished for achieving, but once you take it off the page into the real world, the practicalities become kind of questionable.