Ratio by Michael Ruhlman

The more that I study why and how people cook at home, the more that I understand the importance of a book such as Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking (Scribner, 2009). Noted food writer Michael Ruhlman lays out a simple premise: If you understand the fundamental ratios for some basic culinary tasks ranging from biscuits to stock to vinaigrette, the less a cook has to rely on recipes. After all, … [Read more...]

How to Cook Without a Book

Along the same lines of Ratio, there’s How to Cook Without a Book: Recipes and Techniques Every Cook Should Know by Heart (Broadway, 2000) by Pam Anderson, author of The Perfect Recipe series. Each chapter focuses on a classic technique. Each includes a step-by-step narrative on the method, offers a recipe to demonstrate the technique and then provides multiple, yet simple variations. An unusual twist is that each chapter … [Read more...]

The Flavor Bible

The final entry is The Flavor Bible: The Essential Guide to Culinary Creativity Based on the Wisdom of America’s Most Imaginative Chefs by Andrew Dornenberg and Karen Page. In interviews with home cooks, one thing became a common refrain when it came to that moment of standing in front of the fridge, trying to figure out dinner, or the farmer’s market shopper who purchases beautiful golden beets without a vague idea on … [Read more...]