Skip to main content

Easy as 1-2-3

Now that the Nashville Public Library has released it from its annoyingly-long hold/reserve list. I'm presently reading Ratio by Michael Ruhlman.

The book's tag line is "Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking." But what it really should say is "The Math Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking."

Scott and I are both liberal arts graduates, meaning we don't do the math real good. Like, at all. Anytime the two of us discuss something remotely related to science and math, be it why the defroster in my car won't work or how to divvy up the credit card bill this month, we wind up with the foggiest answers. It's hilarious and mildly disconcerting/alarming at the same time.

The first chapter of Ratio delves into the "simple" measurements of making dough: five parts flour, three parts water. I see the words "measurements" and "parts" and I am already worried about having to remember my multiplication tables and long division. Let's see...you borrow and then carry over the 1...

A review on Amazon.com calls this an "anti-cookbook" and though I am only the first chapter in, I can see why. Ruhlman says that when you learn ratios for items like baked goods and sauces, you don't need to haul out your cookbooks or recipe cards. You know the basics and how they work together - whatever else you choose to add in is just the gravy or the icing on the cake.

I'm curious to see if I can try out what Ruhlman suggests. As I tend to "eyeball" ingredients as I cook, I recognize that kind of carelessness won't fly with the need for precision in baking. That's a basic rule of chemistry right there - and I won't even tell you what I made in that class my junior year of high school.

-----------------------------------------------------------

Follow up: 1/13/10
I ditched Ratio last night after coming to terms with this notion...I just love cookbooks. A lot.

I won't be able to remember the formulas for making gnocchi, focaccia, sausages *shiver*, or shortbread cookies, unless I have a cute spreadsheet to print and frame in my kitchen, so what's the point?

For me, it's back to cookbooks. I presently have The Produce Bible and 660 Curries in house for inspiration. It's on!

Comments

  1. I love cookbooks, too. I always liken them to "kitchen porn"....I mean, those photos!!!!

    You get the picture.
    :)

    L

    ReplyDelete
  2. I love cookbooks too, and also this blog:

    http://smittenkitchen.com/

    Oh, and this one too:

    http://closetcooking.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  3. LOL! Erin, I am an engineer and I don't use cookbooks. I am more into ratios and the methods or logical steps. Ratio, and Alton Brown's methods work best for me. As for my b-day present, I asked the man to get me an autographed copy of Ratio.

    I love that both ways of cooking can get everyone to the same end, a delicious home cooked meal, or a disaster and a nice dinner out! LOL!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Closet Cooking is fantastic, Shelby - thanks for sharing, dearheart.

    And Lannae, more power to you. I hope you got your autographed copy!

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

The Best Way to Keep Cannoli Fresh and Other Baltimore Stories

My mom and step-dad were up visiting for Thanksgiving and after gorging ourselves on turkey and the sites of D.C., I took them on a day-trip to Baltimore.

After a visit to my mom's favorite museum (she's a mosaic artist), we aimed for lunch at Rocket to Venus in Hampden. It was closed for lunch, but our trip up Charles St. wasn't for naught - we stumbled onto residents of 34th St. setting up their Christmas displays! This street is Christmas at its best, or worst, depending on your tolerance/interest in all things Christmas. Erin teases me for being a scrooge, but I have to admit, lights and what-not are nice at this cold and dark time of year.

After a brief walk through Hampden, we aimed for lunch at Kooper's Tavern in Fells Point. The tavern was most certainly open, with rowdy sports fans packing the bar and even spilling onto the sidewalk for fresh-shucked oysters. (My friend Gideon would have camped out right there for their Chincoteagues!) After some deliberati…

Adventures in Gardening

We're back with another edition of "Hey, we used to be bloggers." I am not so sure who reads blogs much anymore (hi Moms!) but hell, if e-newsletters are in again and the '90s "flatform" shoe is making a comeback, maybe we have a shot.

As I nurse a gin and tonic made of nothing but the finest (here's to you, cheap Chek tonic cans from the Mount Pleasant, SC Bi-Lo - sometimes you just buy things to get the job done, especially when you're en route to Vacation Weekend after a slight detour to fix a flat tire on I-26...), I'm mulling over what's happening so far in our garden plots. 
We went Tomato Crazy this year, planting 6+ mixed varieties in our raised beds that kinda-sorta get sufficient sunlight in our backyard, and 8 seedlings in one of our two Winterfield Community Garden plots. Hopefully we'll soon pick beautiful Red Delicious, San Marzano, Black Krim, Blue Gold Cherry, Brandywine, and a few "mystery" tomatoes, and I can …

Green is Good

Garden hobby-ing aside, I'm trying to eat more plant-based meals these days.

After taking on a six-week fitness challenge earlier this year that included a vegetable and protein-heavy meal plan,  I'm working vegetables into my diet in ways that I never did prior.

Example: this alien-colored smoothie. 


A recipe from McKel Hill's Nutrition Stripped, the Creamy Ginger Green Smoothie has a few unpredictable ingredients. Sure, bananas are common. But throw in an avocado, spinach, ginger, lemon, dates and this curveball - tahini, usually reserved in the Adams household for batches of hummus -- and this ain't your average blended beverage.
I didn't have dates so I swapped it for a few dashes of stevia for sweetness. I also included some extra grated ginger, as I am a ginger freak. We bought a whole root of ginger from the Charlotte Regional Farmer's Market from a vendor selling primarily Asian produce. I've frozen it and just take it out and grate it on my Micropl…