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40 of 40 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ratio is a great book but it contains an error
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...
Published on 15 May 2011 by Mr. N. J. Houslip

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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great concept, muddled execution
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...
Published on 21 April 2009 by Duncan


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40 of 40 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
By 
Mr. N. J. Houslip (Solihull UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking (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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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great concept, muddled execution, 21 April 2009
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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ratio: Let Me Calculate . . ., 22 Jun. 2014
By 
Pat (Ireland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking (Paperback)
At one point in this book Ruhlman notes that metric measurements are so much more efficient in cooking. I ask now, why didn't he follow his advice and at least convert his numbers in this book from American to what the rest of the world uses??? I rated this book three stars because it would have been a miserable chore to sit with scales and tables to do these conversions as I read the work. Get with it, Michael, if this comes out in another edition (and I hope it does) please add the metric equivalents. I'll buy another copy; it's potentially that useful.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My Eureka Moment, 15 April 2013
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This review is from: Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking (Paperback)
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Some annoying features, 9 May 2013
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This review is from: Ratio (Kindle Edition)
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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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book, but for a US market, 21 May 2012
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This review is from: Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking (Paperback)
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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4.0 out of 5 stars Here's to the Second Edition, 9 April 2015
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This review is from: Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking (Paperback)
Having criticised other reviewers, I think it behoves me to give them something to criticise in return.
This is not a book for a beginner cook, but rather one for a cook whose recipe collection has run amok and needs to be brought back to something logical. Mediaeval alchemists (and I'm not talking about transmutation artists here, but the more workaday protoscientists giving recipes for cleansing arsenic from the water supply, for example) used never to put everything in their texts, to protect their trade secrets, and modern music fake books include deliberate errors which any competent musician will spot and correct, to avoid copyright. Many recipes similarly take the balance between their ingredients to rather imaginative extremes, and this gives a logical foundation for bringing things back to reality. I was in two minds whether to criticise other minor failings, and concluded that there is only one which is techncally actually flawed, the chapter on Roux, which to my mind must firstly be cooked out in combining the fat with the flour - if necessary by slowing the heat to slow the cook until the flour is actually cooked - and secondly (and most critically) the real art of the saucier, stretching the roux out by attentively adding a minimal amount of liquid at first, gradually and patiently increasing the flow exactly to the point where it will suddenly switch from a paste to a liquid. At that point, and only at that point, is it possible to throw it into a main dish and expect it to act as the thickener it is intended to be (with, of course, the relevant flavours). Do it earlier as he suggests and you'll end up with a lumpy sauce needing extra processing to distribute it evenly, which will split easily and cause no end of problems - this is another of the essential emulsifications alongside mayonnaise which must be mastered, combining fat and flour and then stretching it with water-based liquid. It's not the author's fault, it's a mistake long promulgated by hacks, but none the less it is an essential element in training a basic cook, at least in the European schools.
Structurally, the book could do with more editing, as it puts the custards into the deserts whereas there's a firm link into crepes and thence through the Yorkshire Pudding to the other batter puddings such as the Breton "far" and other flans, and eventually cakes. Similarly, as I just showed, there's a technical relationship between the mayonaises and roux which he misses, although he has the basics.
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5.0 out of 5 stars What your mother never told you, 15 Nov. 2010
By 
bernie "xyzzy" (Arlington, Texas) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Strangely enough I took a course in cooking in Jr. High and have a book case if various related books from the beginning of writing to today, yet none of the books and literature does have a ratio approach.

This animal is an eye opener. I finally feel that I have a handle on the art. I tried a few simple things but working my way up.

I bought this book before the Kindle. So I will also go back and get the Kindle text-to speak version and re-read the book to see if I missed anything important.

Only a few black and white pictures. But formulas do not require pictures. People may have an issue with what the book is not. However no book can be an end all be all. With the basic understanding from the sample is the book it is potable to extrapolate and expand the theory to just about anything you put in your mouth.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Not bad! Pate a choux recipe is especially good., 24 Dec. 2013
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This review is from: Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking (Paperback)
I bought this as a gift (but read it before I gave it...). Small, easily-readable book; finished it in three hours. I find the baking instructions easier than the savory cooking instructions. Pate a choux recipe is especially good - have used it about once monthly since buying the book and turns out great every time.

As a gift, though - it's not particularly impressive. Paper is thin and looks "recycled".
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5.0 out of 5 stars Cookert theory, 27 Sept. 2013
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If like me you have endless cookery books with loads of recipes then you'll love this book. It simplifies many recipies to the ratio required for the vital ingredients and thereby allows you to use your taste buds and imagination to embelish and finish off many dishes. ( also explains why some recipes just don't work!)
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Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking
Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking by Michael Ruhlman (Paperback - 2 Oct. 2010)
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