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Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking [Paperback]

Michael Ruhlman
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 18.99
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Book Description

Sept. 7 2010
Michael Ruhlman’s groundbreaking New York Times bestseller takes us to the very “truth” of cooking: it is not about recipes but rather about basic ratios and fundamental techniques that makes all food come together, simply.

When you know a culinary ratio, it’s not like knowing a single recipe, it’s instantly knowing a thousand.

Why spend time sorting through the millions of cookie recipes available in books, magazines, and on the Internet? Isn’t it easier just to remember 1-2-3? That’s the ratio of ingredients that always make a basic, delicious cookie dough: 1 part sugar, 2 parts fat, and 3 parts flour. From there, add anything you want—chocolate, lemon and orange zest, nuts, poppy seeds, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, almond extract, or peanut butter, to name a few favorite additions. Replace white sugar with brown for a darker, chewier cookie. Add baking powder and/or eggs for a lighter, airier texture.

Ratios are the starting point from which a thousand variations begin.

Ratios are the simple proportions of one ingredient to another. Biscuit dough is 3:1:2—or 3 parts flour, 1 part fat, and 2 parts liquid. This ratio is the beginning of many variations, and because the biscuit takes sweet and savory flavors with equal grace, you can top it with whipped cream and strawberries or sausage gravy. Vinaigrette is 3:1, or 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar, and is one of the most useful sauces imaginable, giving everything from grilled meats and fish to steamed vegetables or lettuces intense flavor.

Cooking with ratios will unchain you from recipes and set you free. With thirty-three ratios and suggestions for enticing variations, Ratio is the truth of cooking: basic preparations that teach us how the fundamental ingredients of the kitchen—water, flour, butter and oils, milk and cream, and eggs—work. Change the ratio and bread dough becomes pasta dough, cakes become muffins become popovers become crepes.

As the culinary world fills up with overly complicated recipes and never-ending ingredient lists, Michael Ruhlman blasts through the surplus of information and delivers this innovative, straightforward book that cuts to the core of cooking. Ratio provides one of the greatest kitchen lessons there is—and it makes the cooking easier and more satisfying than ever.

Frequently Bought Together

Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking + The Flavor Bible: The Essential Guide to Culinary Creativity, Based on the Wisdom of America's Most Imaginative Chefs + On Food and Cooking
Price For All Three: CDN$ 68.88

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Review

"Cooking, like so many creative endeavors, is defined by relationships. For instance, knowing exactly how much flour to put into a loaf of bread isn't nearly as useful as understanding the relationship between the flour and the water, or fat, or salt . That relationship is defined by a 'ratio, ' and having a ratio in hand is like having a secret decoder ring that frees you from the tyranny of recipes. Professional cooks and bakers guard ratios passionately so it wouldn't surprise me a bit if Michael Ruhlman is forced into hiding like a modern-day Prometheus, who in handing us mortals a power better suited to the gods, has changed the balance of kitchen power forever. I for one am grateful. I suspect you will be too." -- Alton Brown, author of "I'm Just Here for the Food"

About the Author

Michael Ruhlman is the author of twelve books, including the bestselling The Making of a Chef and The French Laundry Cookbook. He lives in Cleveland with his wife, daughter, and son and is a frequent contributor to The New York Times and Gourmet as well as his highly popular blog at Ruhlman.com.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Indispensible April 22 2009
Format:Hardcover
I would recommend this as a first cookbook for someone who is interested in the how and why of cooking. I would also recommend it for a confirmed cookbook Junkie (I own well over one hundred cookbooks and couldn't wait to get my hands on this one).

Ratio is perhaps the best combination of pure and applied cookery science that I have ever read - not as cutesy as Alton Brown, more practical than Harold McGee. Be warned, however - no glossy photos of food.

Readable, but set up for quick reference - this is a new book, but I think that in five years you will be able to tell whether someone is, or aspires to be, a serious cook (or baker, for that matter) by whether they have a stained copy of this book in their kitchen.

Highly recommended.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Free yourself from cook books and get creative ! Nov. 30 2010
By Mylène Bergeron Francoeur TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Michael Ruhlman will tell you all you need to know about cooking. Therefore, he will discuss ratios with you.

This is no fancy book. There are no spiffy looking pictures along the way. This is basics at their best. Everything is brought to their smallest common denominator.

In part one, he'll show you the many doughs and batters one might want to use while cooking. This is the largest section. Part two consists of stocks and how to deal with them properly. Part three is the meat. Part four shows you the fat-based sauces (very interresting) and we end up with the custard, and it's different states.

Everything is very straight forward. Mr Ruhlman DOES encourage you to be creative, but AFTER you've learned the base. For quick reference, all the ratios are conveniently presented on one of the first few pages. Every ratio, once explained, is followed by a basic recipe. Then, creativity ensues: following recipes are variations on the freshly explained ratio.

Don't be fooled by the small volume of the book: the absence of lavish pictures made it easy for the author to cram in LOTS of information, tips, variations and recipes. You won't, at first, rely on this book instinctivly. But I assure you, leave it where you can see it, sometimes flip a few pages, it's going to grow on you.

I'm very happy with this book, the price was awesome (for a hardcover !), the knowledge is simply unbeatable, yet simple and straight to the point. A MUST get for everyone !

On my end, I'm looking forward to creating my own recipes with the help of this book, especially concerning cakes and other leavened items. Also, it helps a great deal when you want to scale up or down a recipe.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars making sense of baking Dec 26 2009
Format:Hardcover
I am a culinary arts teacher in a high school and I also run a Skills Baking Club through Skills Canada. This book has enabled me to explain to students why baking works the way it does. As students all work on an individual programs basis, they also frequently have to reduce recipes. All they have to do is memorise the ratios and sequences for different products and then they can start to get creative. For myself, I like the stress on measuring by weight, this eliminates the need for measuring cups.
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5.0 out of 5 stars excellent book Jan. 18 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is simply my favourite cook book. It does not give straight up recipes but instead assumes you have a base in the kitchen and your own palate. This book can guide you through the ratio of a recipe and also tells you how to make it your own.
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Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Actually its a gift to my son as he loves cooking. I was told by my son that there are lots of interesting info. I would certainly recommend to anyone who likes cooking or baking.
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5.0 out of 5 stars best book I ever bought Nov. 15 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If you are serious about cooking you should not miss this book. The best reference book ever and easy to use.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I love this book! Aug. 2 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is fantastic! An absolute must-have for every aspiring chef or home cook! Once you understand ratios you are equipped for anything! I plan to give this as a gift to others!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Comment April 14 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is excellent! After mastering recipes, this is the next step. It is a compact but very useful reference.
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