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Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking (edition 2009)

by Michael Ruhlman

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571717,406 (4.14)9
Member:brightcopy
Title:Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking
Authors:Michael Ruhlman
Info:Scribner (2009), Edition: First, Hardcover, 272 pages
Collections:Your library, To read
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Tags:cooking

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Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking by Michael Ruhlman

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Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
Ruhlman has created a book about the basics of cooking that is based on using ratios to quantify the ingredients. There are a few things American cooks would probably prefer be measured in units more commonly used for cooking. For example, he tends to measure flour in ounces rather than by the cup. However, the basics in this book make it a great gift for someone just starting out. The book is new enough to include mentions of some more recent things like Nutella. He explains the differences the order of preparation can make using pounds cakes and sponge cakes as examples. While he doesn't offer every conceivable variation of the ratio, he does offer several choices in most cases. One vinaigrette he did not include is the popular balsamic vinaigrette. This book would make a great wedding shower gift accompanied by a few kitchen tools. ( )
  thornton37814 | Apr 5, 2014 |
The book uses an interesting method of conveying recipes using ingredient weights and ratios to one another. It takes a little getting used to, but makes a lot more sense of some of the really old cookbooks I've tried to decipher. I think the book is worth keeping on my kitchen shelf for future reference! ( )
  Sundownr | Jan 26, 2011 |
I was fascinated with this book. Ruhlman can go on at times, but overall it was a well-written exploration of one of the most fundamental concepts in cooking: ratios. Guided by a simple spreadsheet bestowed on him by one of America's premier chefs, Ruhlman explains how ratios connect our breads and donuts, quiches and ice creams. Even sausages and stocks come under close scrutiny. Even if you aren't moved to start making your own slurries, the information in the book will give you a better understanding of the art and science of cooking. ( )
  gmmoney | Sep 8, 2010 |
The author's main point is that everything is interconnected. By altering the ratio of egg : flour : fat : liquid, and by altering the order in which you combine them, you can change any type of cooked food into any other type of cooked food. In other words, a crepe batter really isn't that different from pasta dough.

Of course, I already knew that a crepe batter wasn't really terribly different from pasta dough.... I was hoping for specifics on what tied them together. I was looking for chemistry! ("Additional egg does this; more beating does this; butter vs. shortening changes the texture of your baked goods in this way....") However, although it contains that information interspersed through the book, the book isn't focused on (dare I say?) that slightly more sophisticated level. Instead, it's focused on Ruhlman's gospel, which is not more complicated than the refrain "it's all the same thing; don't be so intimidated!."

In any event -- glad to have read this one. ( )
2 vote pammab | Jun 30, 2010 |
I'm very intrigued at the approach this book takes: that understanding the basic ratios in many "core" recipes allows one to improvise freely in the kitchen. This is a bit of a misnomer, though, since in some things the basic techniques are equally important (such as the differences between pound and sponge cakes; the ratios are the same, it's the technique that makes them different). I'll admit, though, at this point I have not yet tried cooking using the reatio system- though I'm looking forward to doing so- and may edit my review after I try a few different ratios. ( )
  cissa | Oct 6, 2009 |
Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
Ruhlman guides readers through the ratios for a variety of doughs, batters, stocks, sauces, custards and sausages, explaining their chemical and culinary basis in clear, earnest prose and providing tasteful recipes that lay out the technique for each formula.
 
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A culinary ratio is a fixed proportion of one ingredient or ingredients relative to another.
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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 ofcooking: 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.… (more)

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