20 Techniques, 200 Recipes, A Cook’s Manifesto
This weekend I’m excited to read Ruhlman’s Twenty. The prolific author, and “ghost” writer, continues to explore cooking from the view of a journalist. In this book he outlines his premise- that if you cook by a recipe you will miss out on the simple fundamentals of what makes food and recipes great. Most of us who spend a lot of time in the kitchen look at recipes as a “guide” but find that a pinch of salt is 1/8th a teaspoon (do people really measure that amount), and we develop an eye and a taste for what is needed. Apparently pastry chefs are exempt from this, thinking what they do is pure chemistry with exact measurements.
Ruhlman has a series of 20 techniques – Think, Salt, Water, Onion, Acid, Egg, Butter, Dough, Batter, Sugar, Sauce, Vinaigrette, Soup, Sauté, Roast, Braise, Poach, Grill, Fry, Chill. These come with the great photography of his wife, illustrations, and of course recipes.
The best part of reading Ruhlman’s latest book (award winning by the way) is I get to cook my way through it!
Do yourself a favor- if you want to get his book, do not just order from Amazon, but go to his site, and order directly from him so he can autograph it for you.
Michael Ruhlman can also be found on twitter, and will interact with you @ruhlman.
Thomas McNamee, The Man Who Changed the Way We Eat: Craig Claiborne and the American Food Renaissance, Free Press, 2012.
Alice Waters and Chez Panisse was a well written biography by McNamee, and I look forward to reading about Craig Claiborne. His new biography of Craig Claiborne brings us back to the East coast, during the time when food in America was evolving.
My first serious cookbook was Claiborne’s New York Times Cookbook, and to this day it is the one I pull out when I want to go to some fundamentals. The later cookbooks by the New York Times just don’t quite make it. McNamee’s insights into the man who helped change cooking in America.
The idea of a restaurant critic, going into a restaurant, being incognito, paying for it – all were Claiborne’s intention. The other type of restaurant critic – who calls ahead to announce their coming and providing a list of their favorite beverages, is the antithesis of food reviews.
Claiborne “discovered” many famous TV personalities, such as Child and even Pepin. His life, however, was complex- as all of ours are. Still, as someone who still remembers who Claiborne was (twenty years after his death) it promises to be a great read.
Dr. Terry Simpson
Dr. Terry Simpson received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Chicago where he spent several years in the Kovler Viral Oncology laboratories doing genetic engineering. He found he liked people more than petri dishes, and received his MD. Dr. Simpson, then became a renowned weight loss surgeon, and a leading advocate of culinary medicine. The first surgeon to become certified in Culinary Medicine, he advocates teaching people to improve their health through their food. On the other side of the world, he has been a leading advocate of changing health care to make it more "relationship based," and his efforts awarded his team the Malcom Baldrige award for healthcare in 2011 for the NUKA system of care in Alaska. A frequent contributor to media outlets discussing health related topics and advances in medicine, he is also a proud dad, husband, author, cook, and surgeon “in that order.” For media inquiries, please visit www.terrysimpson.com.