iMeet iCook

Britt Allgood

Britt Allgood is a mad scientist by day and a foodie by night. He writes our weekly column iCook and is married to the ‘boss lady’. He loves to hunt, ride his Harley, and eat food of course. He’s not a fan of lima beans, but couldn’t live without black eyed peas. iMeet our fabulous iCook master…Britt Allgood.

It’s about time we found out more about you, Britt. Tell us about yourself...

I'm just an old country boy who grew up with a brother, mom, dad and a half-sister - unfortunately my sister passed away when I was young.  My hometown is Greenbrier, Tennessee, and my parents, brother and his family still live there. It's also where I attended school and played varsity football while following a college track in Chemistry.  Lots of math and science courses under the belt so to speak.

Tell us about your family...

I'm married to a wonderful woman, (and she’s not forcing me to say that). We have two Corgis (Rascal and Hermione) and a cat called Fancy.  You may have seen them on Facebook as they are all local celebrities. 

I don't have any children, but I’m happy to have a son, daughter and grandson by marriage. They all live in California, but we communicate regularly on the phone and via Skype. We try to visit as often as we can.

Tell us about your weekly column iCook....

I've been writing iCook for almost two years.  I always ask for suggestions on topics – so please send me some! iCook is a cooking column for everyone. I try to cover recipes and ideas about food, entertaining, and just about anything food related in short and easy to read articles. 

I love to cook and have been doing it since I was about 12. I continue to learn about all things culinary.  It's an effort to show people that you can create good food at home and share it with those you love.

Tell us about your day job...

I'm a mad scientist at my day job.  Actually, I work for Ashland Specialty Ingredients as a Chemist. My duties vary somewhat from day-to-day but I spend most of my time working with our Pilot operations to help bring new ideas to reality on an industrial scale, while insuring the safety of our people and high standards of quality, and safety in our products.

What do you like to do in your free time?

Although I don't typically have enough of that, I’m a Renaissance man and my interests are wide and varied. I really enjoy being outdoors even if it's walking my dogs. 

If weather isn't great, I enjoy reading, movies, chess, and being creative whether in the written word or more classical arts like sketching and painting. 

I hear you are a Harley guy...tell us about the appeal...

It makes me feel alive. Even some of the worst days can be turned around by jumping on my Road King and going for a ride. When you ride, you have to be aware of everything around you.

Describe the perfect day for you...

That's difficult. I take days as they come and try to make the best of them all as plans always have a way of changing. A perfect day would be spending time with my wife and our pets taking a long walk in the woods on a cool fall day and just soaking up nature around me.

We hear you like to hunt - what, where and how?

Actually I do love to hunt but not necessarily for the kill. I enjoy getting out in nature and seeing all manner of interesting things. Currently, I'm basically only hunting deer and turkey with rifle, bow, or shotgun. I have hunted rabbit, upland game birds, and squirrel in the past. I'm not a trophy hunter, but we eat what I harvest.  

How did you develop a love of cooking?

That's a long story that starts when I was about 12.  Everybody in my family cooks (paternal and maternal sides) and we always hung out in the kitchen.  My curiosity knows few bounds and I started asking questions and learning from everyone. 

I watched cooking shows and clipped recipes from magazines and newspapers (pre-internet). It really took off when I attended college and had to live on the ‘cafeteria plan’.  As soon as I got out of the dorms, I started cooking for better food and it was cheaper than trying to eat out all the time. 

Are there any foods that you simply do not eat or do not like?

I'm basically a human with a billy goat’s attitude toward food!  I'll try just about anything once.  There are some foods I don't particularly enjoy like lima beans, tripe, and brains but I've tried them all before.

If you could only eat three foods again for your entire life, what would they be and why?

That's a loaded question for a foodie like me. If I had to pick just three, it would be coffee, fish, and black eyed peas. I know, odd combination. I must have coffee or I would just fall over. Fish is a good lean protein and there are so many varieties that it doesn't get boring and black eyed peas are one of my favorite vegetables and remind me of home.

One thing you can’t live without in a kitchen?

A good sharp knife.  

If you were a spice, what would you be and why?

Cumin. It's a complex spice with smoky overtones and goes well with so many foods.

If you had to pick between Harry Potter or the St. Louis Cardinals, in terms of your fandom, which would you pick?

That's not fair!  I have been a Cardinals fan almost 40 years but Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was only released 20 years ago.  I love them both, but if I had to choose, I'm a Potterhead all the way.

I heard you just returned from overseas and had a helluva time getting home...wanna share?

Traumatic events are better left unsaid. I will say that it involved a cancelled flight from New Jersey, some inept customer service people in an airline that shall not be named, and a marathon cross country drive from New Jersey to Paducah, via Nashville that took about 18 hours in total.

Who's your favorite celebrity chef and why?  

My all-time favorite celebrity chef is Emeril Lagasse. He has a great presence and incredible knowledge of food and people. I also enjoyed Jeff Smith (The Frugal Gourmet) in my youth and still like Ina Garten and Giada De Laurentiis who all are great chefs as well.

Thanks for letting us get to know you, Britt.  Please send you topic suggestions for iCook to