We had just 15 minutes on the phone with Alton Brown, the quirky, antic, whip-smart Food Network star (“Good Eats,” “Iron Chef,” “Cutthroat Kitchen”) who will be in Portland Nov. 12 to perform his Edible Inevitable Tour.

At least he talks a blue streak. Ready, set, go!

As Brown sipped coffee (does this man really need stimulants?) and watched Indiana roll by out his tour bus window, Food & Dining asked him about bow ties, songwriting and his impressions of New England. Alton has spent most of his life in Georgia, but studied cooking at the New England Culinary Institute in Montpelier, Vermont. Our conversation, lightly edited:

Q: We were surprised to read you started your career behind the camera. We’d fingered you for an actor.

A: The only reason I ended up in front of the camera in “Good Eats” (his first show) is because we couldn’t find anyone else to do it. On the first day of taping, I showed up and thought to myself, “I’ve never been in front of the camera before. Can I do this?” But it was way too late to do anything about it. I still would argue that I’m not too good at it.

Q: We doubt anyone would agree with you.

A: That’s because standards have slipped. Look at YouTube. People think cat videos are compelling.

Q: What’s with the bow ties?

A: If you wear expensive ties and you eat a lot, you drip food on your tie.… For me, it’s a practical thing.

Q: We understand you’ve written and are performing food songs on your Edible Inevitable Tour.

A: I’ve been a musician since I was a kid (playing saxophone and guitar). I put it aside for a number of years. When I realized I wanted to do a culinary variety show … well variety shows have music. I abuse many musical forms. The show now opens with a rap song. There’s a punk rock song – if you can play punk on an acoustic guitar. There’s a country song. And a lullaby. So I’m all over the place.

Q: A country song about food?

A: It’s about airport shrimp cocktail, getting food poisoning at the airport and having to get on the plane. True story.

Q: That must be a first. A country song about food poisoning.

A: You’d be amazed how perfectly it suits the genre.

Q: We read an interview in Garden & Gun that focused on Alton the Southerner, which made us wonder about your impressions of New England.

A: Before I went to school in Vermont, I’d never seen snow on Halloween. Or Mother’s Day. But I adore (New England). I like the people and I like the food. As long as I can avoid the black flies. You have a lot of seasons there. Black fly season, leaf-peeping season, stick season, mud season. A lot of seasons to be aware of.

Q: Stick season?

A: It’s a Vermont thing. Or maybe I made that up. Anyway, Vermont is a lot colder than Maine. In the winter, people in Vermont go to Maine just to warm up. The best thing about Maine is I can eat my body weight in lobster, and I intend to as soon as I get there. Not before the show, but as soon as the theater is over. I am going to weigh myself and see if I can eat that much lobster. And I can.

Peggy Grodinsky is the editor of Food & Dining. She can be contacted at:

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Twitter: @pgrodinsky