Welcome to the redesigned ruhlman.com, with great thanks to Leah McCombe, the designer, and Kyle Crouse, the programmer.  Please forgive us if it takes a few days to work out any bugs.  Most of the changes are cosmetic, but a couple of new items have been added.  I’m going to try to offer signed copies of most books via paypal and see if this is practical.  Also, I’ll be writing a second blog, called The Elements of Cooking (using terms or ideas from the book), on which I hope to address issues of fundamental cooking technique.

It’s been an active week on the blog with the book tour and the Next Iron Chef brouhaha.  It’s my policy not to delete posts unless they are truly harmful in some way, but I urge commenters to post only words that you would say aloud to whomever it is you are addressing.  Just ask yourself if you would before hitting the button.

In response to the vitriol, I would offer this:

Among my favorite books, if not my favorite book ever, is Brendan Gill’s Here At The New Yorker .  In it he says too much is made of life’s being serious:

“In fact,” he writes, “not a shred of evidence exists in favor of the argument that life is serious, though it is often hard and sometimes terrible.  And saying that, I am prompted to add what follows out of it.  That since everything ends badly for us in the inevitable catastrophe of death, it seems obvious that the first rule of life is to have a good time; and that the second rule of life is to hurt as few people as possible in the course of doing so.  There is no third rule.”

Comments and criticisms on the new design are most welcome!


139 Wonderful responses to “New Site Design, and The Third Rule”

  • Drew

    Hey, MR.

    Sorry to have missed you at Book Passage Sunday – work calls, you know?

    And, thanks for giving us this forum to voice our (mostly measured) opinions. If you actually read your way through those past couple of ‘comments’ sections, then life on the book tour must be really unbearable!

    As to the ‘new look’, all I have to say is its a bit difficult to read this new font/size. If I weren’t such a luddite, I’d probably be able to make an adjustment of my own, but for now, its a bit of a headache to read.


  • Todd

    Pretty tiny font, I have to concur, but the layout is smooth. It’s a bit busier than the last one, but I like it.

  • Casey

    I’m delighted to hear about the second blog. I thought I was pretty kitchen savvy but I’m finding lots of fascinatiing and new (to me) elements in “Elements.”

  • carri

    I miss the cartoon to the right, of you creating a chef…and the moving ads to the left are distracting…but hey, change is okay…we can take it!

  • Lisa

    Congrats on the new design. Lovely photos, and nice section with all the books. I do agree with Drew about the new font and size of the blog text: a bit small for aging eyes.

    Just finished Soul of a Chef today, and ordered Elements of Cooking and Making of a Chef. When I find a writer I like, I go the whole hog and try to read everything! One idea for the new website: I would love an area to discuss the books. I know you are going to be opening a dedicated discussion for “Elements,” but some of us are discovering your older books for the first time. It seems the website would be a terrific place to chat about some of the issues they raise–sort of an online book group. Keller’s ideas about striving for perfection, for example, struck a chord with me, and relate very closely to how I see my profession. It would be fun to mull these ideas over with other readers, and possibly have the author drop in from time to time as well.

    “Soul” is an outstanding book, and I can’t wait to dive into the others. Thanks for putting up with all the craziness your TNIC participation seems to have generated here. The show led me to discover your writing, and for that, I am very grateful.

  • Rick

    The new design looks great in IE.. unfortunately I use Mozilla and the blog is all out of whack (no graphics, sidebar is off screen, etc). Hopefully the proper tweaks can be made. Looking forward to the new book and weblog!

  • Val

    Oh! Signed books on paypal! I’m in, since you don’t seem to be getting down to San Diego on your tour of the west. The site is slick and I like the “windswept look” picture. Font is pretty small, though.

    Travel safe-

  • Shelley

    Loving the new site! Have to agree about the font size, though. Never seen anything so teensy on the web before, but I’m sure your designers are CSS-savvy and will fix this problem with a quick wave of the mouse. (If not, wave your chef’s knife in their direction and demand 10 points, minimum, then threaten to mince their pixels.)

    Check that final sentence in Brendan’s quote. Yeah, I notice things like that! Sorry. 🙁

  • Stephanie

    pretty! i like the red. I like the home page photo of you in the kitchen.

    when I click on the “read more” for the Return to Cooking book, it gives info for Soul of a Chef…a normal kinda quirk for a new site.

    I’m excited about the Elements blog. I will have questions 🙂

  • realitybites

    I love your new site design. The banner at the top is fantastic. The red is perfect and the pans add a nice touch. Good job!

    Can’t wait until my copy of “The Elements of Cooking” arrives so that I can get in on the discussions.

  • Sandy

    I really like the new colors and graphics. Sidebars are a bit cumbersome for me as well, but nothing I won’t be accustomed to by the end of the week. I also am looking forward to the elements blog. Maybe something like a message board for people who want to ask about older books?

  • Shelley

    One more thing: The horizontal nav at the top is red text on a black background, which practically disappears. Change the background to All-Clad stainless grey. Or make the text that color. Either way will be a visual improvement and will still match your masthead’s pot rack.

  • Egaeus

    Michael, I think you must be unfamiliar with John Gabriel’s Greater Internet F***wad Theory.


    Note that there’s naughty language in the above link. Unfortunately, I myself have been subject to that in the past. People don’t tend to bite their tongue when they have nothing to lose. It’s honesty at its worst.

  • lux

    The blog looks lovely, with a few small issues excepted:

    1) Bump up the font size a little.
    2) Move the RSS feed link a little higher up to make it easier to find.
    3) “Upcoming Book Events” still has placeholder links.
    4) The dark-red text on black background in the top nav bar is very hard to read.
    5) The link to your wife’s photography business is listed under “Favorite Kitchen Tools”??? That doesn’t seem accurate.
    6) The right column is a little disorganized. You might want to move the graphic for the “Elements of Cooking” blog, it pulls focus in a weird way.

    Finally, I would not use quite that much third-party advertising on the site; it looks tacky, and it’s not like this is your primary or even your secondary income stream. If the ads don’t result in significant revenue after a few months, I’d ditch them and go back to the full list of your books on the left column instead.

    Those are all small things though. Overall it’s very nice!

  • Uncle Hulka

    Kudos, Mr. Ruhlman!

    On the new site and on the words of wisdom as to not taking things too seriously…

    I vow to direct any and all vitriol solely to a certain Brown and Orange-clad football team who plays their home games on the banks of beautiful Lake Erie…and only in the comfort of my own living room as I watch said team butcher the finer points of the greatest game ever invented.


  • Corey Haim & Eggs

    This effing rocks (and, yes: I’d say that in person!)

    One thing about TypePad (or as my friends and I call it, “Thai-Pad”) though, is, unlike, say, Yahoo Groups, where the format is relatively user-friendly, TP’s major annoyance — to me, at least — is that, one must peruse the entire page in order to read or backtrack on posts etc.

    Whereas, on Yahoo Groups, the formatting or template, allows the user to perform a search for posts or posters, and to read the posts in either a shortened or expanded sequence. Many more features, but you get the idea.

    Anyway, the blog looks cool.

  • Corey Haim & Eggs


    In response to the vitriol, I would offer this:

    Among my favorite books is Brendan Gill’s Here At The New Yorker. In it he says too much is made of life’s being serious: [Snip]

    Point taken, but you do take food – a tremendous part of your life, so it would seem – very seriously (some might argue, too seriously) and thus, would your idee-fixe not be contradicting Gill’s discourse?

    Now, if you had quoted Henry Louis Gates, instead, then, I’d be impressed.

  • Corey Haim & Eggs


    re: Knorr advertisement

    There’s a ton of MSG in Knorr products: enough to make Lot’s wife wish she had been turned into a pepper mill, instead.

    There’s a Bob Dylan joke somewhere in there.

  • Aaron

    I’d agree with Lux above: the advertising is pretty heavy handed, and the glaring contrast and bright colors make the rest of the site hard to read.

    Your Elements of Cooking blurb on the right still contains placeholder Lorem Ipsum text, btw.

    I’m sure I’ll still read the blog, but never really saw much wrong with the previous layout, so can’t say if this is a success or not.

  • sailorgrrl07

    Congrats on the new design, it’s really really nice. Sigh. I want that kitchen more than you know.

    Top nav buttons on books page: just switch the type to a tint of the red (i.e. pinkish) or better yet white. Red on black is going to be impossible for color blind people (there’s apparently a lot of them, mostly men)…The horizontal nav bar is fine the way it is.

    Ok, ok, I’m a designer, I’m opinionated. 🙂

  • kanani

    Very nice opening page. Very clean and crisp. Quickly conveys what your pages are about –food. (Though I did notice you also listed your general NF books as well).

    When I click on “Walk on Water” “Buy It Now,” I pull up your link to “House.” I checked the other NF books, and they’re fine. I didn’t check your cooking books.

    When I pull up your “About” page, I like the photo of you. The page is very balanced. However, there’s a lot of text –you might want to see how you can either bring in some white space or punch it up a bit with either some subheadings or bold text. Right now it has a nice narrative flow. I don’t think you need to do much, just figure out how to give the eye a place to anchor onto now and then.

    The blog is nice. Great use of graduated red on the top. I’m wondering if the photo sizes in your posts can be made a bit smaller, and the font size a bit bigger. The changing ad on the left is nicely integrated and it doesn’t bother me at all. Interesting column right width. I think it works… well… almost.

    The overall width takes up my whole screen unless I go in and play with my resolution settings. So sometimes –your photo in column right falls a tad off the edge. Think you can bring your mug over to the left just a bit?

    And lastly….can you edit this? “I write about many subjects in magazines and newspapers, but mostly in books and mostly about food, the work and business of the chef, and about cooking, for pleasure, for sustenance, for money…”

    But overall, a big improvement, very elegant and impressive!

    As for the rule of life to have a good time, I agree. Absolutely. But I think a lot of people –especially creative types, have to go through a phase where everything is rather serious and puzzling. I know I did. You don’t go through art school and much later decide to switch gears and become a writer without being a pill! It’s the getting out of it and finding your place later on that’s a blessing. What’s difficult now is watching people you like very much beating themselves over the head thinking that everything has to be “just so.” Ah well. They’ll find out later. Gotta have that faith.

  • ruhlman

    Thanks for ALL these excellent comments. I don’t disagree with any of them. I’ll be working on this this week. Thank you, everyone.

  • truenorthern

    Michael, the redesign looks great! I’m looking forward to the ‘Elements’ blog and how its evolved.

    Let the debates begin…holy cows beware!

  • realitybites

    “re: Knorr advertisement

    There’s a ton of MSG in Knorr products: enough to make Lot’s wife wish she had been turned into a pepper mill, instead.

    There’s a Bob Dylan joke somewhere in there.

    Posted by: Corey Haim & Eggs”

    Corey Haim & Eggs,

    Knorr is a good product, imo. MSG is underused in the U.S. That whole Chinese Restaurant Syndrome has proved to be a myth–not backed by scientific scrutiny. MSG is an amino acid found in nature e.g. seaweed. I’d be more worried about the sodium content in Knorr products rather than the MSG.

    Funny how nobody seems to care that the N.I.C. finale used swordfish as it’s secret ingredient. Swordfish has been over-fished. Many restaurants refuse to serve it as it goes against their principle of sustainability.

    I guess my point is that if we are gonna be opposed to MSG shouldn’t we also be opposed to other unhealthy things like eating swordfish which is full of mercury and is not a sustainable product?

  • Kal

    Beautiful blog design! I agree about the font size, but that’s all I’ll opine about — everything else is a matter of taste/early-redesign hiccups, I think.

    Hooray for an Elements blog — I’m halfway through “B” and can tell already that I’ll have questions!

    And something I meant to add in my previous comment regarding NIC: thanks for your honesty and willingness to discuss the process here. It was illuminating to see the inner workings of such a show, and I for one really appreciated that rare glimpse.

  • DrBehavior

    Congratulations on the excellent design for your new blog. The only comment I have to make is ubiquitous, hoping you understand its far reaching implications, – – you must be amongst the most patient of people ever to have graced either a stage or a blog. It’s a distinct pleasure to read you and to know that people like you are out ‘there’.

  • Elise

    Can’t read it, sorry! Must be the over-forty eyes. Must must increase the font size.

    I would recommend putting the ad strip on the right and the About/category sidebar on the left. That way if we don’t want to be annoyed by flashing ads, tasteful as they are, we can resize the screen to cover them. You’ve gone with a wide format, like our pal Heidi, which I’m not in love with, I prefer it 100 pixels narrower. If you are on a typically sized screen, then the site would take up the entire space. If you use a screen like mine, a big Mac screen, it doesn’t, but I like to see several windows open at once, don’t really like one dominating the space.

    The top nav bar is hard to read, in addition to increasing the contrast, I recommend doing some sort of mouse roll-over effect.

    Odd placement of the photo in the About window in the right sidebar. Makes you look kinda short, which from what I understand you are not. The windblown hair is oddly edited too.

    You may want to do something to highlight your comments among the long list of comments you often get on your posts. Easier for us to see the VOR (voice of Ruhlman).

    Nice clean layout. Love the colors. Well done.

  • casa

    The Brendan Gill quote is paraphrasing the great Kurt Vonnegut I believe. If he just came to the same basic conclusions on his on, all the better.

  • thespian

    dude; seriously, put the background back in the picture of you that’s next to ‘about’. Fade it out, fuzz it a little, whatever. But right now you look like you’re trying to do a Farrah Fawcett in 1978 there, and it looks sorta bad, though I like that pic of you when the background is in there.

  • bluexmas

    I think I have to agree that the font is a bit smaller, but in overall, the organization of the website is very fluid, I like it. If the font gets larger, the overall layout of the site will look different.

    …Today I’ve been to some voluntary work which needed to cook something for the needy, and I felt so sad about the people without very decent fundamentals about cooking and eating, and this seems so widespread that looks pretty normal, while seeking fundamentals like I do looks picky and obsessive, am I really?

  • Doodad

    Nice job Michael. You’ll get the kinks worked out.

    Will TFLC be getting signed copies as well?

  • JoP in Omaha

    Nice re-do of the site! I like the wider Comments column. Comments can be read with less scrolling. There are no major display issues on my system; I concur with some of the tweaks that have been suggested.

    On to “Elements.” I started reading some of the essays and quickly “ruined” (I perfer to think of it as lovingly used) my first edition by making a note in the margin about a question about storing stock. I’ll save the question ’til blog 2 comes about. Then I thought of something I wanted to check, and sure, enough, it was in the glossary. And then other, and another. Great fun was had persuing the glossary.

    This is an extremely useful book. For information that’s not contained elsewhere, for a quick reference, for times when you don’t want to carry around a huge tome, this volume hits the spot. It’s a terrifically fun read, as well as being a look at what you think is important in cooking. Very well done.

  • Lydia

    For middle-aged eyes, a slightly larger type size, please (I had the same comment sent to me at one of my own redesigns, and I’m so glad I listened — readability is everything). Love the new header. And as to vitriolic comments, (a) it seems we are all subjected to that once, and (b) comment moderation for a while might help, though in principle I hate to use it. However, once when I was out of town (and out of touch) for a few days, someone left a nasty piece of hate spam on my blog, and my readers were subjected to it for the whole time I was away. I felt awful about that, and vowed that whenever I am traveling I will enable comment moderation — because free speech or no, I would never have allowed a hateful (racist) comment to appear on my blog.

  • Matt

    For those having trouble with the font size:

    If you are using Windows and have a mouse with a scroll wheel, hold the control key down (bottom left on most keyboards) and use the scroll wheel. You can quickly change the font size that way in most Windows applications.

  • JoP in Omaha

    I’m not finding a list of recent blog articles so that I can click to go back to a previous topic. The user can navigate to the previous topic or the next topic using links near the top of the page, but IIRC the previous layout contained a list of a half dozen or so previous articles. That was useful. Could that be added here?

  • Corey Haim & Eggs


    “The Brendan Gill quote is paraphrasing the great Kurt Vonnegut I believe. If he just came to the same basic conclusions on his on, all the better.”

    Thanks, casa, but I was just playing around with MR, since he’s a Duke alum, and Gates taught there for a couple of years, in the early 90s (after MR’s time!) And riffing on some of the complaints I’d read in this thread, about diversity (or lack of) on FN.

    Meant in a fun, and not a mocking way, about that particular issue.

  • rockandroller

    I agree with what’s already been said. The ad should go on the right if you can manage it so it can be ignored, the type is too small and there should be a way to higlight/distinguish your comments. For example, on Scott Adams’s blog (dilbert), he does this:

    blah blah poster text poster text
    blah blah poster text

    [Really? – Scott]

    I also agree about the nav colors being hard to read, there are a lot of color blind people and they won’t be able to see it at all.

  • Bob delGrosso

    The site looks great Michael. You could bump up the font size for those who can’t do it themselves, it’s a bit small.

    As for the vitriol, I’m afraid that most of it is the natural result of the content you have been posting.

    Next Iron Chef is a sporting event, and many sports fans have a hard time accepting that they are not the ones who have been chosen to compete. So they compete vicariously, unfortunately for your nerves, here on your blog. It’s a pain in the butt, I’m sure. But as I told my daughter when she expressed horror over the obscenities being hurled at her beloved Mets during her first Phillies game, there’s nothing to be done about it. Not nowadays at least when the cultural and legal taboos against acting like a moron in public are at their weakest since Columbus subjugated the Caribes.

    Argument, name-calling and macho posturing are part of the experience and part of the price you pay for wanting to be part of a competitive sport.

    The best that you are anybody can hope for is that the nastiness stays at a low simmer and doesn’t boil over like it sometimes does at football (soccer) matches. It’d be awful seeing someone stomped over something as silly as a disagreement over whether Andrew Knowlton is hotter than you are.

    Got Pork?

  • Water

    I like the layout of the new look. I prefer this type of font to the previous one. My only concern is that, in Mozilla Firefox, it has deemed the site too wide and added a horizontal scroll bar. I don’t really need to scroll. It’s just a personal peeve of mine. I’ll still read the site if it still scrolls. Lovely work either way.

  • FoodPuta

    The site looks great Michael. The words of wisdom you quoted are certainly true to life.

    But, this doesn’t mean we can’t still call Bourdain names, right?


  • Peter

    I usually read your blog at home with Avant Browser, with ‘ad blockers’ in place to streamline and enhance my net surfing experience; but today I had a quick look using the computer at work and – wow – I was almost blinded by the third-party advertising.

    It was so annoying I just turned off immediately! You know, your advertising within blog entries (Amazon links, etc…) is anything but subtle and, occasionally, it already feels like this whole blog is just one big money making experiment – so do you really need the flashing annoyances?

    Two columns with more space to the blog entries would be wonderful, because there is stuff worth reading here and the spirited and interesting comments by your readers is one of this blogs greatest strengths.


  • stephanie

    I concur with those who have asked for a larger font size. Other than that, everything looks fantastic!

    Question – the paypal link for Elements… will that get us a signed copy? (I’ve already purchased one, so if I’m getting a second, I want an autographed copy!)

    Thanks for putting up with us Michael!

  • Corey Haim & Eggs


    The best that you are anybody can hope for is that the nastiness stays at a low simmer and doesn’t boil over like it sometimes does at football (soccer) matches.

    That would be “futbol” or “footie,” you foodie.

    Now, even with crackdowns, there’s no doubt that random hooliganism still exists in the game. However, U. S. media prefers to spotlight these incidents from (usually) abroad, rather than focus on their own: unless they are so undeniable.

    For example, how many drunken (and usually, large) fans at baseball games, fall on innocent, unsuspecting seat mates or fellow fans, and fracture the unknowing persons’ vertebrae?

    How many fights take place at tailgating, in bars and so on?

    How many women and children get abused, because, the team or athlete favoured by the man-of-the-house didn’t meet his expectations, and his displaced rage gets projected and unleashed?

    Or, if their spouse didn’t serve up the meal the way they wanted?


    And I don’t mean Super Bowl Sunday, only.

    Just unpublicized, or not as much.

    Thus, as lighthearted as your analogy may appear, it’s also a rather heavy topic, too: Especially for those who may work in the fields of Social Work and Early Intervention (whether as attorneys or caseworkers etc.)

    Sometimes, a sport isn’t just a sport.

    Thanks for reading.

  • Angela

    Hi Michael,
    I really like the new look and feel of the blog, although I will have to echo the concerns about the small font size. Also, I miss the cartoon of you and not so into the new photo.

    Finished “Making of a Chef” last week (best read I’ve had in a while) and really enjoying “Elements” right now. Love your work!

    See you on December 3 at B&N in NYC.

  • Greg Turner

    Love the new site design. Very nice! I was bummed to see you didn’t make a swing into Florida. The weather’s lovely this time of year

  • frances

    Congrats on the new look!

    I’m really liking the new design — clean, modern, uncluttered and easier to navigate. The red banner works, too.

    Perhaps the font has already been upsized (or it’s my Mac + antique browser coming through for me), but it’s plenty big enough for these 44yo eyes.

  • artnlit

    I agree with the posts above – I like the updated site. It looks much more polished, professional (in a good way), and so far, easy to navigate. Good work, Michael (and crew).

  • the pauper

    my god man, what kind of (hair) product did you use for that lead-in picture to the about page? way to tame those flowing locks.

  • S. Woody

    New site design, but in the photo in the “About” section you still look like you need a haircut.


  • Connor

    It was pleasantly surprised to see the new design of the blog this morning! The red banner with the graphic of cooking tools at the top is well-done.

    In addition to increasing the font size, I recommend putting lines or bars between the commenter posts. It’s a little hard visually to follow where one post stops and the other begins. Other than that, it looks great!

  • jsmeeker


    So far, I’m liking the new site. (Looks fine on IE on a PeeCee. I’ll have to check it out on Safari on my Mac later tonight) I especially like the picture of you on the home page. I love that kitchen. It was nice to catch some views of it during the No Res. Cleveland show.

    I haven’t picked up a copy just yet, but does “Elements” touch on kitchen equipment/supplies in any way?

  • ktdid747

    GREAT site redesign Michael! (I’m lovin’ the red banner and home page photo is great (I WANT your kitchen!….just went to the Fabulous Food Show over the weekend and was drooling over the Wolf gas ranges..sigghhh!). Especially after just having finished reading “House” (excellent, btw) it’s nice to see a photo of you cooking in your kitchen. (I can appreciate the work and panic and aggravations you guys went through as we gutted two very old homes in Lakewood (duplex) and Fairview Park (and did all the work ourselves with the help of our very talented remodeler bro-in-law—can definitely say we’ve been through it all and went through the same “house lust!” ;)…your book has got me itching to restore another old house (uh ohhhhh.. 😉

    but, anyway, from a graphic and web designer’s standpoint, I wouldn’t change a thing with the website! (And, even though I like it, onnnnnnly thing I might change would be to change the color of the navigation text so that color-blind people would have an easier time getting around–light gray or even white would work well). Site design looks very clean (not cluttered at all) and everything is easy to find–great font choices. I primarily use Safari (on a Mac) and it’s working well and all also looks good in Firefox and Netscape (though I’m sure your designer probably already tested this out. 😉

    Congrats on going live with the new site! Really been enjoying your blog! 🙂 -K

  • Claudia

    Very sleek new design, Michael! But I do miss the sidebar that showed the most recent comments posted. It spared one going through all the boards (including the “dormant” ones).

    Is it deliberate that screen tags still come up in red (i.e.,you cannot click onto them and send someone an off-board e-, which you once could, many moons ago, when the tags came up in blue), or is that still one of the lingering issues with Typepad? Just wondering.

    Hope you’re having fun and moving a lot of units on the book tour – sorry that means a lot of airport food for you (!)

  • The Professor

    I love the new site, my trifocals work just fine for viewing it. Your opening rings true for me,I could not have worked 33 years in a public service government job that was very political(I could have lost my job every election)without sticking very close to the rules you quoted.The main thing that I look at is…this is your site and I respect that, as well as you too.

  • logicalmind

    Ruhlman, I think the new site design looks very professional. It no longer looks like just any other blog site.

    I have a question regarding the NIC judging. If you were asked to do it over again, knowing what you know now, would you still participate?

  • Kansas City rube

    I absolutely love that quote, Ruhlman.

    I’m also very excited for the new blog. It will be perfect for someone like me who is trying to learn the fundamentals on his own. Any chance you’ll be able to post short video demonstrations or anything like that?

  • Shelley

    Aaaaah! My eyes thank you for fixing the font problem today. (Matt: I did try increasing it via my browser controls last night, and that didn’t work at all.)

  • JoP in Omaha

    I just went to the Main page….awesome photo there. The kitchen and it contents are to die for. Beautiful.

  • jeana

    Love the new format and front page. Matt’s control/scroll trick really works, too.

    Do you have any kind of book tour schedule you can list on your site as well? (Either here or in the Elements of Cooking blog?) Maybe you did post somewhere and I missed it…Curious if you are coming to Texas at all.

  • Darcie

    I like the new site design, and it’s easy enough to change the size of the font, so the current size is fine with me. I like the three column format: it is easy to navigate.

    However, it wouldn’t hurt to edit or replace that windblown photo on the main/about pages. Either that, or make it a link to a Harlequin Romance novel. 😉

    I don’t find the ads to be obtrusive. Perhaps I’m just immune. Hey, ya gotta make a living.

    Overall, it’s a good design. One small point for those of us Firefox users: have your web folks work on the horizontal spacing so it doesn’t scroll. A tiny flaw but one that bugs me.

  • Uncle hulka


    I have to agree with Darcie on the “windswept photo” thing. It sort of makes you look like Paul Revere or Captain Bligh…I can’t decide which.

    But this comes from a place of caring and good and joy and nice.

  • oggi

    I love the new look, can’t find anything wrong with it. I don’t mind the ads either, they don’t bother me at all. In fact, I just clicked on a book edited by Tahir Shah, sometimes ads are good.:)
    BTW, I just ordered a signed copy of The Elements of Cooking.

  • kanani

    I found another bug…
    I clicked on the “MORE” links for your general NF books and the description fo “The soul of a chef” came up. (I have an old house too and am constantly working on it. Right now, I’m getting ready to re paint the trim. Yuck.

  • abulafia

    Nice clean design. Only one quibble. The Martha motherlovin Stewart ad running down the sidebar.

    It made me want to scream.

    And not in a good way Martha.

  • Stuart

    You should have more content on the front page. You’d be surprised how many people will go to the trouble of finding your page but aren’t willing to spend one more second clicking through what is essentially a splash page.

  • Sandy

    I gotta agree about Martha. I don’t know if that’s something optional or not, but… ugh.

    I think I like the cartoon too. Its not that the new photo isn’t good. It’s that the cartoon felt more personal, as opposed to windswept airbrushed — how did Bourdain put it? Jesus Christ Superstar stage-ish.

    Speaking of photos, my favorite so far has got to be the one on the “About” link on the Elements blog. Anyone who has spent any amount of time sitting at a desk trying to write can appreciate that photo and all it entails. Love it, love it, love it.

  • Sandy

    Figures I’d write about the about page after you changed it! Put it back! 😛

  • Frances Davey

    Michael, there’s a new conspiracy theory regarding your reasons for updating your blog site. But thanks to one commentor’s tenacity and webarchive, your coverup attempt has been revealed! *snort*

    I shouldn’t laugh. *snort* But I can’t help it. Sorry. *snort*

  • Sandy

    You’d think with such tenacity he’d have archived the photo of Ruhlman staring into his monitor from behind. But nooooo. *sniffs*

    Maybe there were clues there too, maybe the screen had stuff typed on it about the conspiracy.

  • Claudia

    Jeana, Michael’s book tour schedule is under The Elements of Cooking comments (a few boards under this one.)

  • Sara

    Pretty, Ruhlman! It actually made me say “Woah” outloud. I look forward to posting on this far-more-aesthetically-pleasing blog.

  • Darcie

    @ Corey Haim and Eggs
    How many women and children get abused, because, the team or athlete favoured by the man-of-the-house didn’t meet his expectations, and his displaced rage gets projected and unleashed?


    Thus, as lighthearted as your analogy may appear, it’s also a rather heavy topic, too: Especially for those who may work in the fields of Social Work and Early Intervention (whether as attorneys or caseworkers etc.)

    Sometimes, a sport isn’t just a sport.


    Um, the SPORT is at fault for someone who beats his wife? That’s absurd! Domestic violence is indeed a heavy subject. To try to tie it in with a Food Network television show via a sports analogy is ridiculous and inappropriate. It’s a feeble attempt to inject seriousness into a situation that is not serious.

    (Oh, and in case you think I just don’t understand, I’ve been a caseworker.)

  • Corey Haim & Cheese

    re: New Ruhlman Photo:

    Ride like the wind!

    Where’s Ralph Lauren hiding in that photo?

    Is Kelly Klein and / or Kelly Bensimmon in the offing?

    PS: Db Sweeney – owe you a reply on the NICA blog, will get there soon, but any thoughts on our host’s coiffure?

  • Corey Haim & Cheese

    @ Darcie

    “(Oh, and in case you think I just don’t understand, I’ve been a caseworker.)”


    Has been?

    No need to feel insecure, and you missed the arid tone which was supposed to be taken – or mistaken – for being unsmiling, if you will.

    And, of course, you took the bait.

    If you know anything about triggers, then you’ll know that something as seemingly as innocuous as the competition, TNICA, on FN could ignite a person who has already imploded, to the point of explosion: it doesn’t have to be (so) literal, in order for it to happen.

    Even larger than this, you omitted, or overlooked the fact that, it was Bob (del Grosso) who, loosely or otherwise, labeled TNICA as a “sporting event,” and used that as his paradigm for the rest of his post.

    re: vocation – J. D., here.

  • Mer

    Jaysus, Ruhlman. Martha freakin’ Stewart? Do you want us to come back or not?

    Seriously, I despise that woman. Please yank that ad. Please.

  • Db Sweeney

    How to even begin to address Ruhlman’s hair? I’m sure this is what he dreamed of when he started this adventure in blogging. And to be fair, writing comments about another man’s choice of style and corresponding product is making me ask myself some questions about myself too. Not that’s there’s anything wrong with that as our good friend George Costanza might say.

    Simply put, I’m looking forward to seeing Ruhlman’s blonde flowing locks every Sunday when I open my paper and see the $9.95 coupon for a cut at Great Clips. Simply put, our Mike is trying to be everybody’s All-American. It’s the perfect combination of boardroom savvy, after-hours cool. That’s our Ruhlman.

    There is also a bit of wisdom in our hero’s plan. Look at Presidential candiate John Edwards. He’s paying $400 for something that could be done with a bowl and a comb. If you’re going to splurge, why not on a decent meal and a fine bottle of wine? I would say if anything, Mr. Ruhlman has his priorties straight.

    Yes, our good man does have a sense of style. Did you see the suits he sported on TNIC? One word (and it isn’t rented), sharp. Very sharp indeed.

    However, the entire situation really boils down to this and the sooner we all realize and accept this, the better off we’re all going to be. It’s Ruhlman’s world now and we’re all just happy to be living in it and along for the ride. A new and snazzy website. A new blog just on cooking techniques. Judge on a prime-time television show. A new book, one that Eric Ripert wishes he had written. Guest spots on another network with a friend who always looks out for Ruhlman’s best interests. Profiles of his home town. LeBron James calling Cleveland home. Symon. As long he can control that potty mouth that rears it’s ugly head every once in a while, I’d say Michael might be looking at the World as his Oyster right about now.

    One might call this a banner year, at least professionally and hopefully personally, for our esteemed moderator here. Perhaps those Godfather anaolgies I made in yesterday’s posts weren’t that far off. Maybe Michael Symon was in fact a proverbial Johnny Fontaine and our Ruhlman took care of everything. We’ll know for sure if the next post on the new blog has to do with the proper way to make a cannoli.

  • Corey Haim & Cheese

    re: Homepage Photo (Ruhlman’s kitchen)

    Okay, I see 2/3rds of a Mirepoix at work there, but the greens… they do not resemble celery.


    No, can’t be.

    Maybe… leeks, as variation on a theme?

    Was that for a Matignon (eventual, perhaps, since I see no pork), or were you just being cool, and, instead, that photo defines this blog as being about CUISINE?

  • Christie

    Like the new site design!

    My only complaint is that the pages load slower.

    I love the idea for a second blog devoted to cooking. Thanks!

  • Kathryn

    Holy crap! Haha, I love the new site! I’m not having a problem with the font size — maybe I’m used to reading Internet fonts (or maybe you’ve fixed it by now). But to respond to the person who suggested how to make it larger, if you don’t have a mouse (i.e., working on a laptop), Ctrl + “+” usually works as well.

    I haven’t had a chance to check out all the redesigns, but I was so pleasantly surprised that I just had to say something. -)

  • sailorgrrl07

    “Ctrl + “+” usually works as well.”

    That is so awesome,it really does work.

  • Hyperboliz

    It’s elegant and beautiful (kitchen photo). I’ve only recently discovered you, Ruhlman, and am enjoying “House” at this moment. I too, own a century old, glorious and grand ark which beckoned us for the same reason yours did to your family. Only ours is on Virginia’s Eastern Shore which is at present still relatively undiscovered. Question about stock, is it just me, or does stock smell kind of rank? Just wondering as I’ve got a sensitive olfactory system and am just entering the world of making stock (at age 52!) I respect your writing and the risks you (and your family) have taken for its sake. The “immersion” technique is, I think, the only way to write with any degree of conviction about what one really, truly ‘knows’.

  • Chad Edward

    If you’re in Cincinnati for dinner next Tuesday, make sure you try JeanRo, if you haven’t already. There’s also a new tapas bar attempting to bring ideas from molecular gastronomy to Cincinnati.

  • dan s.

    Not sure if it was already posted but if the font is too small for you, click on “View” and go to “Text Size” and adjust accordingly.

  • marc

    Perfect. Can I have your kitchen? I love the new book. I would pay for an online subscription to a version of your book with a link to an interactive demo. I am surprised that with all the work going into a cookbook that someone hasn’t videotaped the kitchen work and made that available as a companion to the book as a CD ROM or at least an online resource. Anyway I look forward to this new design and the new section.