I don't believe in coincidence. And a few things lately have reinforced this...within the past month two separate friends (who have both already graced this blog) recommended books to me. [Disclaimer: I'm a wanna be foodie and a wanna be master chef] First, my friend, Brad, recommended the book, Ratio, The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking - which is a well written, compelling book about the fundamental ratios involved in most all cooking and baking; and then, my friend, Brian lent me the book The Soul of a Chef - which, I am only 2/3 of the way through but every time I pick it up I end up reading, and re-reading, it for hours.
I'm often reading a few things at a time but it was after a particularly engaging passage in The Soul of a Chef that I read last night that I decided the Author, Michael Ruhlman, deserved some recognition. Imagine my surprise as I started to look up links for him to find that these two books that had captured me so completely lately were BOTH written by him. Serendipity.
Here's why I think Michael is cool. First of all, he loves cooking and great food. Second, I often have trouble wading through cooking books because they usually end up on two ends of a spectrum - they are either dry, "academic" writings on the science of cooking and food - almost as if they are trying to validate or justify cooking as a higher art; or, they are whimsical fluff that tends to be trendy and hard to slog through while looking for any real value. Michael sits squarely in the perfect middle of this range. He writes in a voice that is captivating. His research is from the perspective who didn't just watch, he attended the Culinary Institute of America, he worked as a line cook for more than just a month. He's lived this world while maintaining the eye of a writer and he sucks you in to a perspective rarely shared of the world of chefs. Third, he's also from Ohio. (natch!)
I have mentioned before that I have the highest respect for those who can write. When I find someone who does it well it truly is AWE-some to me. Michael has the talent. He focuses on the food world from a way I, personally, haven't seen before, in an engaging way. I also have tremendous respect for the great amount of work and research that he has put into his writing. He's spent YEARS honing his information and perspective.
If you enjoy food, and if you respect the mind of a Chef, please pick up one of Michael's books. I can promise you that you won't be disappointed.
3 weeks ago