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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 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 more satisfying than ever.

Topics: Mathematics, Cookbooks, How-To Guides, Prescriptive, and Informative

Published: Scribner on Apr 7, 2009
ISBN: 9781416566120
List price: $13.99
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The book uses an interesting method of conveying recipes using ingredient weights and ratios to one another. It takes a little getting used to, but makes a lot more sense of some of the really old cookbooks I've tried to decipher. I think the book is worth keeping on my kitchen shelf for future reference!read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I was fascinated with this book. Ruhlman can go on at times, but overall it was a well-written exploration of one of the most fundamental concepts in cooking: ratios. Guided by a simple spreadsheet bestowed on him by one of America's premier chefs, Ruhlman explains how ratios connect our breads and donuts, quiches and ice creams. Even sausages and stocks come under close scrutiny. Even if you aren't moved to start making your own slurries, the information in the book will give you a better understanding of the art and science of cooking.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I am not a cook. In fact, I mostly dread the whole menu planning, grocery shopping, cooking routine. It's just so endless. At least it was until I discovered this book. Ration: The Simple codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking has been an absolute revelation to me. It's as if everything I hated about cooking has been cleared away and now I can be ME in the kitchen. Why? Because I won't be spending untold hours sifting through reecipe web sites or countless cookbooks trying to find a recipe that looks as if it would embody the flavors on the tip of my tongue and running around in my head wishing for me to express them. Thanks to Mr Ruhlman now I KNOW how to translate the flavor/texture wishes into something I can eat.I've actually paused my reading of this book a little over half way through because I'm so excited to get in the kitchen and COOK! No looking for recipes or buying prepackaged mixes because I can do this. Me! I can walk confidently into my kitchen, pull out the basics I never used and put them to work.First up was a gnocchi browned in butter and roasted garlic topped with a sauce of roma tomatoes and spinach. YUM!!!Now I will read the remaining sections as I need them. If you've ever wished you knew how to just walk in the kitchen and make something, no mixes, no recipes, this is the book you need. My copy has a permanent place next to the stove.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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Reviews

The book uses an interesting method of conveying recipes using ingredient weights and ratios to one another. It takes a little getting used to, but makes a lot more sense of some of the really old cookbooks I've tried to decipher. I think the book is worth keeping on my kitchen shelf for future reference!
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I was fascinated with this book. Ruhlman can go on at times, but overall it was a well-written exploration of one of the most fundamental concepts in cooking: ratios. Guided by a simple spreadsheet bestowed on him by one of America's premier chefs, Ruhlman explains how ratios connect our breads and donuts, quiches and ice creams. Even sausages and stocks come under close scrutiny. Even if you aren't moved to start making your own slurries, the information in the book will give you a better understanding of the art and science of cooking.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I am not a cook. In fact, I mostly dread the whole menu planning, grocery shopping, cooking routine. It's just so endless. At least it was until I discovered this book. Ration: The Simple codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking has been an absolute revelation to me. It's as if everything I hated about cooking has been cleared away and now I can be ME in the kitchen. Why? Because I won't be spending untold hours sifting through reecipe web sites or countless cookbooks trying to find a recipe that looks as if it would embody the flavors on the tip of my tongue and running around in my head wishing for me to express them. Thanks to Mr Ruhlman now I KNOW how to translate the flavor/texture wishes into something I can eat.I've actually paused my reading of this book a little over half way through because I'm so excited to get in the kitchen and COOK! No looking for recipes or buying prepackaged mixes because I can do this. Me! I can walk confidently into my kitchen, pull out the basics I never used and put them to work.First up was a gnocchi browned in butter and roasted garlic topped with a sauce of roma tomatoes and spinach. YUM!!!Now I will read the remaining sections as I need them. If you've ever wished you knew how to just walk in the kitchen and make something, no mixes, no recipes, this is the book you need. My copy has a permanent place next to the stove.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I'm very intrigued at the approach this book takes: that understanding the basic ratios in many "core" recipes allows one to improvise freely in the kitchen. This is a bit of a misnomer, though, since in some things the basic techniques are equally important (such as the differences between pound and sponge cakes; the ratios are the same, it's the technique that makes them different). I'll admit, though, at this point I have not yet tried cooking using the reatio system- though I'm looking forward to doing so- and may edit my review after I try a few different ratios.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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