Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking (Hardcover)
By Michael Ruhlman
Ruhlman, who explained the basic ingredients, tools and cookbooks essential to the home chef in "The Elements of Cooking" (2007), now offers an illuminating read on the magic numbers that lie at the heart of basic cookery. He divides the book into five parts (doughs, stocks, sausages, sauces and custards). In each section he explains what essential properties make the ratios work and the subtle variations that differentiate, for instance, a bread dough (five parts flour, three parts water) from a biscuit dough (three parts flour, one part fat, two parts liquid). While making his case that “possessing one small bit of crystalline information can open up a world of practical applications” gets a little repetitive, it’s certainly a lesson worth taking to heart. This revealing and remarkably accessible read offers indispensible information for those ready to cook by the seat of their pants; with a handy grasp of these ratios (and a dash of technique), willing chefs should have no excuse to remain tethered to recipe cards and cookbooks.
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