The Dream Café

Steven Brust: “A masterful storyteller of contagious glee and self-deprecating badassery” —Skyler White

A koan


One day the sous-chef said to Alton Brown, “Master, how much kosher salt is the right amount for a rib roast?”  And Alton Brown said, “Dice two cloves of garlic.”  In this moment, the sous-chef achieved enlightenment.


Author: corwin

Site administrative account, so probably Corwin, Felix or DD-B.


  1. garlic often leads to enlightenment.

  2. The (Professional) Cook’s Mantra: Before enlightenment, mince shallots, clarify butter; after enlightenment, mince shallots, clarify butter.

  3. Also, garlic is usually minced, crushed or chopped finely rather than diced.

  4. “Garlic is to food what insanity is to art.”

  5. …which may, in fact, be part of the point of the koan.

  6. Alton Brown–Gosh I love that man. The geek references alone would be great, but the geek science is just too cool.

    Uh oh, I feel a touch of enlightenment coming on. I must away to dice something. 🙂

  7. Heh, reminds me of the “AI koans” from the old MIT AI lab.

    These are so old they are even before my time. But #3 is still pretty funny.

  8. corwin

    Miramon::7::I know those. I love them.

  9. Pity the disciple’s question wasn’t about ice cream. Then it could be a double-dipped koan.

  10. corwin

    Mark::9:: You may now strike yourself.

  11. The sous-chef should be grateful his enlightenment didn’t have to come from being knocked into a pile of schmalz by the master.

  12. I adore Alton Brown…

    I would let him enlighten me anytime. 🙂

  13. Since garlic is sublime, does that make it a citrus?

  14. Alton Brown is indeed awesome. I bought some girl-scout cookies from him once (he lives near here) he was selling them in front of a Kroger along with several moms and girl scouts.

  15. Alton Brown was selling moms and girl scouts?

  16. He has a daughter, maybe it was her troop. She was the bunny his “sister” handed to him in the donut episode.

  17. Dicing garlic is the only true way to make round eggs……

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