In the first episode of Brown Bag Wine Tasting, William Shatner hangs out with Alton Brown, our favorite food-fueled fact machine.
Alton makes biscuits, and Shatner asks him about the culinary figures that influenced him the most.
First and foremost is Alton’s grandmother, “Ma May,” a talented cook whose skill came not from a particular interest in cooking, but from the expectations of her role in society.
“She was raised in that generation of cooks where they didn’t think about it. It was something they had to do, you know. They weren’t like ‘oh, we’re into cooking.’ No — you were a wife and a mother — so you better make a damn pie.”
Good cooking, says Alton, “became ownership of something. You wanted to be good because it was a constant competition with the other wives.”
And those church dinners? “That’s not about God,” he clarifies. “That’s about competition. That’s about my cake versus your cake.”
Watch the full episode here:
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Karen Lo is an associate editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @appleplexy.