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Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking [Paperback]

Michael Ruhlman
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
Price: 9.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

2 Oct 2010
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 an innovative and straightforward book that cuts to the core of cooking. Instead of spending time wading through the millions of recipes available in books, magazines, and on the Internet, just remember 1-2-3. That's the ratio for cookie dough: 1 part sugar, 2 parts fat, and 3 parts flour. Biscuit dough is 3:2:1 or 3 parts flour, 2 parts liquid, 1 part fat. Change the ratio and bread dough becomes pasta dough, cake becomes muffins, and popovers become crepes. Vinaigrette is 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar, and is one of the most useful sauces imaginable, giving everything from grilled meat to lettuces intense flavor. Distilling dishes to their essence-using a few simple techniques and even fewer ingredients-is what every professional or home cook needs to know. Broken down into thirty-three ratios and suggestions for enticing variations, preparing food goes from craft to art...all without a recipe. Providing one of the greatest kitchen lessons there is, Ratio gives readers a starting point from which a thousand variations begin-making cooking easier and more satisfying than ever.

Frequently Bought Together

Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking + Ruhlman's Twenty hc + The Elements of Cooking: Translating the Chef's Craft for Every Kitchen
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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Simon Spotlight Entertainment; Reprint edition (2 Oct 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416571728
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416571728
  • Product Dimensions: 21.4 x 14.2 x 1.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 112,127 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"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"

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ratio is a great book but it contains an error 15 May 2011
Format:Paperback
The concept of using ratios in cooking is extremely useful and I very much welcome it. As engineer with cooking as hobby it is logical and I wonder why it wasn't made public in UK before now.
There is however an error in Michael Ruhlman's excellent book which frequently trips people up and could lead to a serious distortion of the ratio and thus failures in recipes.
On page 91 the statement "A pint's a pound the world around" is incorrect. In the UK and in some of the countries in the common wealth that still use the pound, the statement "a pint of water weighs a pound and a quarter" is true because there are 20 fluid ounces in a pint, unlike the US where a pint contains only 16 ounces.
This also means that a UK or Imperial Gallon is larger than the US Gallon by 20%.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great concept, muddled execution 21 April 2009
Format:Hardcover
This highly anticipated book could have been ground breaking in showing people how to cook using ratios of ingredients (e.g. one part sugar to two parts fat to three parts flour = a basic cookie dough) rather than slavishly following recipes that always seem to be different from each other. Traditionally, cooks used this sort of knowledge all the time but most home cooks nowadays seem to have lost it.

So, the concept for this book was great. Ruhlman's engaging text and delicious recipes, his tips and advice, all make parts of Ratio valuable. He clearly explains the strength of concentrating on relationships between ingredients rather than individual quantities, and doesn't pretend that understanding ratios makes you a good cook -- he reminds the reader that making good food comes down to experience and execution.

Unfortunately, the good bits are overshadowed by text that I felt was confused, inconsistent and highly repetitive. There was a lack of clarity in explanation and that stood out as a failure in such a conceptually important work. There are no diagrams beyond a sort of "wheel" of ratios. Most ratios in the book are based on weight, but Ruhlman is inconsistent about this as the book progresses, and in the recipes. Through it all, I longed for the knowledge of cooks experienced in the old ways of cooking by ratio/proportion/quantity, rather than a chef's spreadsheet (the inspiration for Ruhlman's book).

I've written a much longer review on my own site, so I'll just round off here by saying Ratio is a great concept but I feel it is best suited for readers seeking inspiration rather than clarity or careful explanation.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Some annoying features 9 May 2013
By Kalido
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This provides some useful information, depending on your level of expertise. The paper used for the paperback edition is very poor, so I returned it and got a Kindle version. I bought it knowing it was American in origin from other reviews, so just had to put up with that. However, what I found most annoying was that the author used different measurement approaches in various recipes, not sticking to the concept of ratios. I don't think I will refer to it that often, and therefore might have been better just to get it from a library.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My Eureka Moment 15 April 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is so informative I wonder how I've ever managed all these years without it. It distils the knowhow of professional chefs who do this stuff by training and instinct into a few pages which are well written and easy to read. All of a sudden, recipes have lost their mystery and fear and I find myself actually knowing what proportions to use and what to expect. I find myself now reading recipes and comparing their proportions of ingredients to the ratios Michael Ruhlman recommends. My pastry has improved dramatically, I made perfect Yorkshire puddings following the popover formulation. My Crème Anglaise was to die for and my béarnaise which I have hitherto split every time was perfect and delicious. And that is in the first 10 days of owning the book. I am delighted with this purchase and have subsequently also purchased Ruhlman's Twenty which is another excellent addition to my library.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book, but for a US market 21 May 2012
By Jason
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The book is great, and explains things well, but be warned: it is written solely for the US market. If you can't get your head around pounds, don't buy your eggs in ounces, can't measure an inch, have an oven that is set in degrees Celsius and are not sure what a cup measurement is, then you may find it hard work to follow.

I will say it does base all the recipes (and formulas) around basic ingredients that will be available anywhere in Europe, so you won't be scratching your head over food product trade names.
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