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on November 30, 2010
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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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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on December 26, 2009
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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TOP 100 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 July 31, 2009
This is a good reminder of basic cooking principles for experienced cooks, and a wonderful place to start for those wanting to expand on basic cooking skills
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on August 21, 2015
Well ,have not started reading yet ,just opened it from the mailbox . I suppose I should have used the " look inside " before ordering , I know I will like the concepts but how many countries use ounces and pounds ? One ?This should have had both U.S. measure and metric , now I have to think just a bit . I don't bother with any cookbook off the shelf if the recipes don't have grams and oz's listed , just metric is fine with me ,a lot easier to move a decimal point than do division.
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on August 30, 2015
It's a great concept but I like to add my nit pit.

I'm no true baker but. For example, his muffin ratio called for 1 part butter:1 part egg: 2part flour: 2 part liquid.

I agree that flour tends to be the same as liquid, however, that's 50% butter to flour which is a LOT of BUTTER. I would just keep butter to 1/5 or 20% the most. Please try this with some common sense. that's all.
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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 September 1, 2015
A fantastic buy for any kitchen duffer. Bread, sauces and sausages can be a finicky business, and Michael Ruhlman's book goes a long way to demystifying the secrets behind these surprisingly rudimentary processes. Not through elaborate recipes, but from base mechanics that can be modified to suit any number of tastes!
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on October 11, 2015
This a book about the science of cooking, the foundation of all recipes, which is excellent if you decided to make your own recipes from scratch. Around 50 small B&W photos. It does have a few recipes, but I would not necessarily describe this as a cookbook.
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