This happened back in January and I’ve been meaning to write about it ever since! It turned out long and detailed. You’ve been warned.
Skip & I communicated secretly for months and surprised Valerie with tickets to “Alton Brown Live” in Kansas City for a Christmas gift. I put together an elaborate card with hints, which she read while we were out to Sunday lunch with various siblings and Anna & Derek. We were pretty excited to give her that surprise and see the look on her face!
(Back story: Val grew up baking, cooking, and watching Good Eats & Iron Chef from the early days. Safe to say she’s a fan.) (And yes we realize that we were all nerds for being so excited about this and going to it and such.)
Finally the day arrived for our trip. Events unfolded in a very true-to-form manner: we had to stop and get gas, then wait in line at McDonalds drive through because “some of us” were growing rather hangry (hungry + angry), then get out of Omaha during rush hour. I was watching the GPS and my phone for the weather and sneaking glances at the speedometer wishing Val would speed a little bit, because there was just. no. way. My best case scenario for us was 15 minutes late.
I have no idea how we did it, but we made our way to downtown KC as the snow was just beginning, through traffic & construction, found a spot in the parking garage, hustled into the theater, and found our seats a couple minutes before it began.
The show itself was purely wonderful! Alton Brown did it all in his own eccentric, zany, ridiculous, sarcastic, genius style. Impossible to really describe, but it was a mix of comedy, food wisdom, inventions and music. His stories were brilliant and I have adopted several of them as my own to re-tell, probably for the rest of my life. I scribbled notes on an envelope to remember:
- Chicken fingers! Literally.
- His custom electric guitar decorated with his Twitter post-it notes! (Alton Brown mostly uses pictures of Sharpie doodles & writing for his twitter account, it’s funny.)
- He described the audience as “Well scrubbed and Midwestern and such.”
- Direct quotes: “I’m not Darth Vader. I’m more like the Emperor- I enable meanness in others.” “I know the back way to Flavortown, ok?”
- “Son of Son of Blob” describing a bread dough in dumpster on hot day situation.
- Him saying that the most important thing in your kitchen is: the table. Because unless you have people to enjoy food with, even the most elaborate gourmet dish is meaningless. As if he had to add to his hero status with Val and I!
- He did his in-the-fridge camera thing from Good Eats, only live.
- Heavy metal song about how Santa never brought him an Easy Bake oven when he was young.
When he was a kid, he drew a picture of an invention: the “Mega Bake Oven.” And now as an adult with a roadshow and a budget… he has realized that dream. It was incredible. An Easy Bake oven has 100 watts. His Mega Bake oven has 54,000 watts. And a ship’s wheel. And a giant “on” switch. And as he pointed out, it can be seen from space. Seen. from. space. He made a pizza thing with a volunteer from the audience and baked it in 4 minutes.
We wandered downtown in the snow, thinking of getting hot chocolate or something, basically it was pointless because nothing was open, oh well. Then we went to the hotel (side note: Val calls everything a motel).
The next day we went to the Union Station. We got fancy lattes and took pictures of them, obviously. Then we spent a long time exploring Science City. Val and I were giddy about introducing Skip to this place, we went there with our Bible Quiz friends when we were in high school. And guess what it was so fun yet again! Take your kids there! Take your friends who are grownups there!
We ate bbq for lunch, I forget where but it was so good. So good. And we were so happy. And we tried each other’s food like we usually do. Then we drove back to Omaha, very satisfied with ourselves.
I don’t take it for granted- I have wonderful friends! And I was majorly blessed that my best friend married someone who is also a great friend! We have much fun. I’m thankful for this memory!