Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking

Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking

Michael Ruhlman / Jun 19, 2019

Ratio The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking Michael Ruhlman s groundbreaking New York Times bestseller takes us to the very truth of cooking it is not about recipes but rather about basic ratios and fundamental techniques that makes all food co

  • Title: Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking
  • Author: Michael Ruhlman
  • ISBN: 9781416566113
  • Page: 186
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Michael Ruhlman s groundbreaking New York Times bestseller takes us to the very truth of cooking it is not about recipes but rather about basic ratios and fundamental techniques that makes all food come together, simply.When you know a culinary ratio, it s not like knowing a single recipe, it s instantly knowing a thousand.Why spend time sorting through the millions ofMichael Ruhlman s groundbreaking New York Times bestseller takes us to the very truth of cooking it is not about recipes but rather about basic ratios and fundamental techniques that makes all food come together, simply.When you know a culinary ratio, it s not like knowing a single recipe, it s instantly knowing a thousand.Why spend time sorting through the millions of cookie recipes available in books, magazines, and on the Internet Isn t it easier just to remember 1 2 3 That s the ratio of ingredients that always make a basic, delicious cookie dough 1 part sugar, 2 parts fat, and 3 parts flour From there, add anything you want chocolate, lemon and orange zest, nuts, poppy seeds, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, almond extract, or peanut butter, to name a few favorite additions Replace white sugar with brown for a darker, chewier cookie Add baking powder and or eggs for a lighter, airier texture.Ratios are the starting point from which a thousand variations begin.Ratios are the simple proportions of one ingredient to another Biscuit dough is 3 1 2 or 3 parts flour, 1 part fat, and 2 parts liquid This ratio is the beginning of many variations, and because the biscuit takes sweet and savory flavors with equal grace, you can top it with whipped cream and strawberries or sausage gravy Vinaigrette is 3 1, or 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar, and is one of the most useful sauces imaginable, giving everything from grilled meats and fish to steamed vegetables or lettuces intense flavor.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 of cooking 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.As the culinary world fills up with overly complicated recipes and never ending ingredient lists, Michael Ruhlman blasts through the surplus of information and delivers this innovative, straightforward book that cuts to the core of cooking Ratio provides one of the greatest kitchen lessons there is and it makes the cooking easier and satisfying than ever.

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    About "Michael Ruhlman"

      • Michael Ruhlman

        Michael Ruhlman born 1963 in Cleveland, Ohio is an American writer He is the author of 11 books, and is best known for his work about and in collaboration with American chefs, as well as other works of non fiction.Ruhlman grew up in Cleveland and was educated at University School a private boys day school in Cleveland and at Duke University, graduating from the latter in 1985 He worked a series of odd jobs including briefly at the New York Times and traveled before returning to his hometown in 1991 to work for a local magazine.While working at the magazine, Ruhlman wrote an article about his old high school and its new headmaster, which he expanded into his first book, Boys Themselves A Return to Single Sex Education 1996.For his second book, The Making of a Chef 1997 , Ruhlman enrolled in the Culinary Institute of America, completing the course, to produce a first person account of the techniques, personalities, and mindsets of culinary education at the prestigious chef s school The success of this book produced two follow ups, The Soul of a Chef 2000 and The Reach of a Chef 2006.


    653 Comments

    1. Michael Ruhlman has much valuable information to communicate; the ratio concept is clearly crucial if one wants to fully understand and experiment with baking in particular. However, he is not a very skilled prose stylist. The book is too busy; it continually throws out disorganized and poorly focused extra information. The intention seems to have been to stay nonthreatening by adopting a casual, spontaneous, and personal tone. However, when combined with the more mathematical aspects of the rat [...]


    2. I loved the cover. Totally loved it. Make it a poster and I will buy it and stick it on my kitchen ( *hinthintnudgenudge*). And it is a great idea for a book, they had me at the blurb. And some of the recipe variation ideas given are good and interesting.But that is basically all I liked. I have many many opinions about this book, this is going to take me a while, and sadly, I found a lot here to dislike:- The writing is clumsy. I had to reread paragraphs and sentences to figure out the meaning. [...]


    3. This book changed the way I approach cooking. And really, that's what it's meant to do. Before this book found its way onto my kitchen counter, I was completely recipe-bound. I could throw a few things together for a decent meal, but nothing too fancy. Most of the time, I would have to search for a recipe to accomplish it. Well, this book will break you of that. As it explains, it all comes down to ratios. As long as you can master those, the whole kitchen will open up to you. Before too long yo [...]


    4. I just started this and I am torn. On one hand I like the idea of a set of guidelines I can keep in my head and use to cook nearly anything by starting with a few basic ingredients and then adding a few others. And I also like the math of cooking very much. But another thing I enjoy about cooking is that it's a kind of communication between the person who wrote the recipe and me. They are telling me how to make something they liked or worked hard at or found interesting and when I make changes t [...]


    5. I liked this a lot! I'm only interested in cooking certain types of soups and breads, so half the book wasn't useful to me, but I LOVE this approach to cooking.


    6. Being a public librarian with access to an unending supply of books, it takes something really special to make me want to part with $27.00 just so I can call it my own. Ruhlman has found the secret code in Ratio and my copy should be in my mailbox by tomorrow.It a weird format for a cookbook in that Ruhlman buries his recipes in parts or chapters that explain the basic ratios for, for instance, doughs and batters. By explaining the how and why of the most basic dough, Ruhlman opens up doors for [...]


    7. What a great idea for a cookbook! Because, of course, Ruhlman is right. What is the point of burying yourself in a book and following its instructions to the letter? Where's the fun in that? Not to mention that it's completely uncreative. Do we really want to be producing exactly the same thing, every time, no matter where the dish is being made? We might as well just program a machine to make our food. Personalization and variation is the key.   [I]t's important to remember, as my first culin [...]


    8. Michael Ruhlman illuminates the mysteries behind all of those fancy french words you see on menus of fine dining establishments in this book. Pâte à choux? Hollandaise? Mousseline? Bread? It's really just a matter of understanding simple ratios of ingredients. Ruhlman hammers the ease of which one can master the list of ratios, eliminating the need for complicated recipes.Well, I'm not entirely convinced about "ease." At the end, Ruhlman relates that while both he and his wife understand the r [...]


    9. I bought this book years ago because I loved the concept (and Alton Brown is quoted on the back so how bad can it be?) . But then the book somehow disappeared into the depths of my bookshelves so I was excited when I finally found it a couple of days ago! Then in dawned on me why it wasn't as treasured as one might expect it to be. It so disappointing in its execution. This book could have been so much more felt unnecessarily rushed and poorly edited*. I want to rate this book 5 stars because I [...]


    10. I was a bit disappointed in this book. I was anticipating a basic how-to of creating your own recipes based on the titular ratios, which was only loosely the focus of the book. While reading it, I felt that there were so many caveats and addendums to each ratio that it would be difficult to memorize and utilize the ratios in a home kitchen. The author was probably going for flexibility, but lost some authority in the process. I didn't get much from this book, either recipes or knowledge, that I [...]


    11. This elegant book conveys the fundamental principles of cooking: how the proper ratio of basic ingredients (eggs, butter, flour, cream, and sugar, plus the appropriate seasonings) and the techniques to combine them will result in foods as different as cookies, quiche, caramel, creampuffs, and ciabatta. There are also sections on meat ratios, but these seem less useful. Making stock is simple; I'm not likely to make either sausage or mousseline (no meatloaf, oddly). What's missing is any mention [...]


    12. I think this has become my favorite non-fiction book, ever. Its genius is that it demystifies recipes, making the complex simple. For instance, I make a decent pie crust (not as good as I'd like, but I don't get as much practice as I'd like, either), but I always have to dig out a recipe when I do. Thanks to this book, it's reduced to a simple ratio: 3 parts flour to 2 parts fat to 1 part water, by weight. Once you know how much flour you need for a single 9" pie crust, it's brutally simple to s [...]


    13. I was given this book as a gift from someone who thinks I like Alton Brown and that analytical, scientific approach to cooking. I don't. It's my opinion that new cooks who eagerly embrace this concept and leap in unprepared are going to find themselves with culinary disasters on their hands and no idea how to fix them.I wrote a review on and was almost immediately crucified for my opinion. According to one anonymous person, I am bitter, not too bright, and unpleasant. Well, hey, fuck you very m [...]


    14. Neat concept, but apparently not actually enough material for a whole book because there was SO much filler and unnecessary repetition. Also it was pretty poorly edited- missing steps and ingredients, repeated steps, etc. - and I'm the type that gets too distracted by that. But that said I do imagine getting a lot of mileage out of the ratios includedarently he's got a iPhone app now. That may be a better format for the info. Haven't tried it, though.


    15. This book is my new best friend. I'm sure it has faults (fyi -- I don't buy his claim that yeast can activate in cold water, I tried it & it failed) but I have found it inspiring and interesting. The recipes -- er, I mean, ratios -- are so simple that I can basically go home right now and make bread AND pie AND mayonnaise. I would let you all borrow it, but go buy your own.


    16. In all honesty, I didn't finish reading this. I thought the concept was fascinating, and useful if I had the time for it.But for now, I think I'll rely on other people's recipe-making skills and just make my own blind modifications.


    17. Not the most engaging book, but one of the most useful in that I can now make a muffin into a scone just by switching the ratio of this and that. Everything is by weight and volume so when I get my Slovenian villa I'll just bring my gram scale and this book and hope the oven has Fahrenheit.


    18. Ugh, too much work to remember those numbers. It may never make me a baker extraordinaire, but I am sticking with good old fashioned recipes!



    19. I don't have much time to cook these days but I suspect I will return to this when I do. The idea of ratios being consistent in certain types of food in both cooking and baking makes a lot of sense to me and explains how all those chefs on "Top Chef" or "Iron Chef," etc, are able to concoct recipes off the tops of their heads without reference to recipes. Seems to me that every home cook should have a copy of this book.



    20. This book was on our "must read" list when I was in culinary school. So being the good student that I was, I bought it and then read it from top to bottom. This book helps you understand how ratios really do work in a recipe, especially in baking. Without the proper ratios a recipe can fail.A must read for any up and coming culinary student!


    21. As a child, I loved recipe books because when they were pulled-out I knew my mom and I would be doing something fun together for hours. All that joy and anticipation which can be found in many cookbooks still today is sucked clear out of Mr. Ruhlman's book. Instead of color and anticipation, you get a moody overview of measurements.How is this ANY more efficient or effective?!


    22. I always imagine that when you read a book on The Sims to increase your skill in cooking, it's a book like this. I've found it very helpful with advice and tips, and explaining how certain ingredients work with certain others. The style is clear and quite readable. It's interesting to see how some recipes are related to others, just with an ingredient substitution or the ratio changes, and the whole dish changes.


    23. this is an excellent go to book. i learned alot. his ratio for hollandaise is very very good. can now make it for one or a dozen people.


    24. Far from a perfect book. No useful pictures. Too much persnickity-ness on the quality of the ingredients. Again with the stock (I don't use canned ever, and I seldom need homemade, and really, a code for stock?). Not the best organization. But. Science, method, reason, math. Templates. Yes.But I am *so* excited to try, at the very least, the cookie code, that I actually bought my own copy of the book. Even though I've been cooking for decades, mostly quite successfully, the codes here are going [...]


    25. This has been on my list for a while and I finally checked it out at the library to preview prior to possibly purchasing it in Kindle format. I love the logical arrangement: Doughs, Batters, Stocks and Sauces, Farcir, Fat-Based Sauces, and Custards. A culinary ratio is a fixed proportion of one ingredient or ingredients relative to another. These proportions form the backbone of the craft of cooking. Ruhlman makes it sound uncomplicated and logical and helps to demystify processes that might oth [...]


    26. I love the concept for this book. And the whole idea of not being dependent on cookbooks, instead creating your own variations. So far, I've found the chapter on breads to be the most immediately useful (not making my own sausages here, folks!). Now that I've read the book, I'm left wishing that the charts in it were available in poster formey are pretty coolI'd frame them, put them up in my kitchen and refer to them. No need to revisit the book!I've not actually used these ratios much, beyond m [...]


    27. I rushed to purchase Ruhlman's newest book because I so strongly believe in the concept which drives it: that many recipes simply express the ratio of certain ingredients to certain other ingredients, such that, once discovered and mastered, knowledge of the ratios allows the cook to make any quantity of a particular dish without reference to a written recipe. A further elaboration of the premises is that many dishes differ only in the ratio of certain ingredients, such that there is a continuum [...]


    28. What would be your reaction if I told you that creme anglaise, creme caramel and quiche lorraine are all variations on a single theme? The difference is principally the ratio of eggs to other ingredients.If you find that interesting, then you'll like this book. The book provides what I like to call meta-recipes--that is, it shows you how a whole collection of recipes are really variations on a single theme.It's not a big book--just 238 pages--much smaller than the huge cookbooks we see today. Bu [...]


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