- Format: Kindle Edition
- File Size: 130 KB
- Print Length: 31 pages
- Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
- Language: English
- ASIN: B009ECEO16
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #548,914 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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The Main Dish (Kindle Single) Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)
While it is nice to benefit from the experience of your parents, I have much more admiration for the person who takes off in their own direction and figures it out as they go along and that is precisely what Ruhlman did. Seems like the struggles made him better. He writes this piece with the tone of someone who had a gris gris in his pocket and was granted all of his wishes. It almost seems as though he still doesn't appreciate the fact that he had enough sense to work hard and make some really good decisions that played a large role in his success. Very humble and leaves me with no regret about purchasing a large number of his books. I truly enjoy his writing style and always learn something useful from his musings.
I went to culinary school and then sommelier training after reading Making of a Chef at the old age of 42. I loved every minute of school but clearly, I am too old to start a career as a chef. And don't give me that line about how you are never too old to do anything, especially if you have never set foot in a professional kitchen in your life. It is a young person's game. If I knew when I was younger what I know now...sigh. Anyhow, my point is that after 21 years as a nurse, I am still trying to figure out how to use my culinary education to do what I love and make a reasonable living. Reading this short piece by my favorite food author has given me some ideas about how to create awesome opportunity of my own. Thanks, Ruhlman!
Today it's hard to remember when Food Network, the Cooking Channel, and cooking shows all across cable TV weren't so wildly popular. But Ruhlman began his writing career before all this, when it wasn't so easy to sell another cooking show on TV, much less a book about cooking. Trying to get permission to attend the Culinary Institute of America school in New York, and his harrowing drives through winter blizzards to get there were excruciatingly painful. Fortunately for all the foodies out there, he persevered and made it, with first The Making of a Chef (the CIA book that began as a book about cooking and morphed into the story of what you had to know to become a chef), followed by The French Laundry Cookbook, about cooking at a famous Napa Valley restaurant.
Along the way, Ruhlman left intriguing little tidbits about his life:
* At Duke University, in a writing course under celebrated author Reynolds Price, he learned about the key to home security systems (and no, I can't repeat it here!).
* As a 16-year-old, food had everything to do with losing his virginity.
* The part of a tuna you absolutely don't want to eat.
Today, with more than a dozen books about food to his credit, Ruhlman is at the top of his game, one of the best known food writers in the world, and it's hard to believe that he never intended to be a food writer.
Kudos for a fascinating account of a food writer's long journey.
In addition to focusing on the kitchen lifestyle or the world of cooks, Ruhlman describes the evolution of both his family life and life as a writer.In many ways, it serves as a nice "behind the scenes" to his other food writings. While in "The Making of a Chef" one reads a response to Chef Pardus' challenge to get to the CIA's campus in the midst of a blizzard, Ruhlman's profane and humorous recounting of the story in "The Main Dish" shows the resonance of the chef's message and it's lingering effect on Ruhlman's cooking philosophy.
On a purely practical level, it was strangely refreshing to read of Ruhlman's early days - from early financial troubles to traveling, family in tow, defying bodily damage on the snowy roads of the Northeast to simply get to the CIA. As a young cook balancing a relationship, finances, schooling, and a kitchen job, it helps to see both the high points (writing for Keller, a James Beard-award winning book) and the low points. Thanks to Ruhlman for another great (albeit short!) book!
The Main Dish follows our narrator on the dual paths of his life, cooking and writing. He recounts in interesting detail the steps that led him to his current status. He includes quotes from his various teachers. My favorite is from Reynolds Price, his very famous writing teacher. As Price helps him with the details of a book Michael is writing about a house break in, Price add some information he received from a policeman. You only need an alarm in the nearest bathroom because, "People who break into houses almost invariably ejaculate upon entering and have to clean themselves." (Ok this is clearly divergent from the main theme but I enjoyed it.) However Price also added Michael's underlying purpose in writing, "The need to tell and hear stories is essential to the species Homo sapiens-second in necessity apparently after nourishment and before love and shelter."
He began the depth of his food writing career in anger. He had noted the subtext of his conversation with a chef was that he was better than any school boy writer. He made sure to work in earnest, to prove himself to any chef about whom he wrote. In fact the basis of this story is to answer the question, "How did you become a food writer?'' While he credits accidents, I would say that his other point is the dominant answer, he showed up. This is a worthwhile single for anyone to read. I recommend it.