Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking Hardcover – Apr 7 2009
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"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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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.
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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I'm no true baker but. For example, his muffin ratio called for 1 part butter:1 part egg: 2part flour: 2 part...Read more