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4.6 out of 5 stars
Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking
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Showing 1-10 of 20 reviews(5 star)show all reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
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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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on April 22, 2009
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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Very rarely do I find a cookbook that I think could replace all my others and, while Michael Ruhlman's Ratio doesn't quite make me want to purge my culinary reference collection, it certainly makes me consider doing so. By way of thirty-three ratios and suggestions for variations, Ruhlman teaches cooks how fundamental ingredients (water, flour, butter and oils, milk and cream, and eggs) work together. Change the ratio and bread dough becomes pasta dough, cakes become muffins and pancakes become crepes. I think this passage sums up the essence of the entire book: "Batters are almost incestuously linked to one another and show an exceptionally delicate balance between one another. The loosest of the batters is crepe, and we move up with increasing proportions of flour to popover, pancake and fritter, muffin, cake, and so on in potentially infinite variations until you hit the point of the fulcrum and tip over into dough: pasta, pie crust, cookie, and bread...I think that people who are gifted pastry chefs have simply seen the crepe-bread continuum more clearly for longer, rather than seeing crepe equaling one set of instructions, bread another, and so have been able to improvise; they understand how small adjustments in fat, flour, egg, and sugar can result in satisfying nuances of lightness and delicacy or richness in flavor and texture. It's all one thing." I borrowed Ratio from the library and will be making copious notes before I return it. The only reason I wouldn't purchase the book is that its large middle section provides ratios for stocks, forcemeats (sausage etc), mousselines (meat/cream/egg fillings) and fat-based sauces - nothing I'd realistically be producing in my kitchen! Really, it's the baking section that interests me but I do believe that you'll soon be able to pick out the serious cook in the crowd based on who has a stained copy of Ratio close at hand.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
TOP 50 REVIEWERon November 15, 2010
Strangely enough I took a course in cooking in Jr. High and have a book case if various related books from the beginning of writing to today, yet none of the books and literature does have a ratio approach.

This animal is an eye opener. I finally feel that I have a handle on the art. I tried a few simple things but working my way up.

I bought this book before the Kindle. So I will also go back and get the Kindle text-to speak version and re-read the book to see if I missed anything important.

Only a few black and white pictures. But formulas do not require pictures. People may have an issue with what the book is not. However no book can be an end all be all. With the basic understanding from the sample is the book it is potable to extrapolate and expand the theory to just about anything you put in your mouth.
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on October 28, 2014
I really like this cookbook. The approach is different than anything else I have seen.
If you are looking for a collection of magasine recipes this isn't it.
If you want to know what you are doing with food this is a good start.
Understand this simple little book and you will be able to make a meal out of almost anything.
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on January 18, 2014
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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on July 22, 2015
I haven't completely read this book, but as a chef by trade this is a very useful tool to have around. Purchased with The Flavour Thesaurus, together they supersede most of my recipe books.
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on April 13, 2013
This book is very handy to have! It gives you basic cooking principles for almost any recipe ratio you would need. There are no pictures, but I don't think a book like this needs any.
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on August 2, 2013
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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