Before I do a review, let's cut to the chase. Should you buy Good Eats: The Early Years? If you're a Good Eats fan, you probably already own it. If you're a good eats fan who doesn't own it yet, then absolutely get it. For the rest of you…
Good Eats: The Early Years is a companion book to the first 80 episodes of Good Eats. It goes episode by episode, in order, and it gives overviews of what was covered, recipes, behind-the-scenes information, and food science facts.
For the recipes, these are often updated from what they were in the original show, and there are new recipes that weren't in the show at all. This gives a little additional value over just popping over to Food Network's site and getting the recipe from there.
One of the situations's I've found myself in while attempting to recreate a Good Eats recipe is that the shows are so much more than the recipes. Often he'll discuss some interesting technique that isn't really covered by just the recipe. This would necessitate re-watching the show under normal circumstances. Now, however, you can just flip to that episode in the book and check out the "Knowledge Concentrate" sections, with so many of the little tidbits of information from the show.
So, by and large, I say yes, you should buy this book. If you aren't a big fan of the show, well, it's not going to be as good of a book for you, but there's just so much useful information that it's worth reading through. For the fans, though, it's not even a question. Get the book and love it, if you haven't done so already.
This was, incidentally, a review copy sent to me for being the kind of guy I am (which probably has to do more with me being a food writer and less about me being really cool). I certainly would have bought it had I seen it in the store before it hit my doorstep, but it surprised me, and I'm pleased about that.