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”

  • Ms.Anthrope

    I like it…unless you already changed the font size, it’s fine for my 48 year-old (today!) eyes.
    The ad on the left keeps doing strange things though. Sometimes it’s REALLY BIG, and then it gets back into its box. Maybe I just need another cocktail.

  • Ms.Anthrope

    re: Previous comment about the ad…never mind, it’s supposed to do that.
    I guess I really DO need another cocktail.

  • Justin D

    Great new blog design. I love it. There are a couple nit-picky things that only a web designer would notice.

    1) the site is barely wider than will fit in a fullscreen browser at 1024 resolution. It’s so close, just bump down some margins and maybe shave off a few pixels of the right column width to get rid of that horizontal scroll bar.

    2) There’s no rollover for the main nav. I assume this just isn’t done yet.

    3) Moreso than text being too small, I think the leading is too small (space between lines). If that’s bumped up and each line is given some space it’ll make the text easier to read, small or not.

    It’s 90% perfect though. Great job and congratulations.

  • sailorgrrl07


    I just opened ruhlman.com on my boyfriend’s laptop and all the (blog, books, bio) were “below the fold”…have you and your team considered either decreasing the depth of the main image, or adding a row of text links above the main image, maybe upper right corner? If I hadn’t known to scroll down, I’d never have known all that important stuff was down there.

    Are you sorry yet that you asked for comments? …lol…


  • ChristaSeychew

    I like the look of the new site. I think that it’s sleek and perhaps more appealing to first time visitors, a slew of whom I’m sure have headed your way since NIC and the arrival of the new book. I’m looking forward to being able to order a signed book and add your second blog to my list of regular reading.

    Speaking of book signings, Mr. Ruhlman, is there any chance we might ever see you here in Buffalo, Cleveland’s sister city?

  • mirinblue

    I love the quality of the photos that you have been posting lately. So incredibly sharp and clear! I would love to see a photo album with pictures changing often enough to remain fresh and relevant.

    Matt’s tip about the CTRL and scolling bar on the mouse works fine for me re: font size so no issues there. I don’t love the adverts, but do understand the reason behind them.

    Thanks for your patience during the NICA debate, it has to hurt to hear your character questioned, yet IMO you rose to the top like sweet cream! Or is that smelling like a rose?? and always…MR, AB and MS – love you ~~rock on brothers!~~

  • Pam

    I REALLY hate going to someone’s website and being hit in the face with a bunch of cheesy advertisments. But in a day and age when names are for sale (the Boston Garden became the Fleet Center became…etc.), I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. But I am surprised. I thought you were better than that. Isn’t it enough that we buy your books?

  • Darcie

    @ Corey Haim and Eggs,

    It’s no surprise that you are a lawyer (I work with them daily, unfortunately, and frankly I assumed you were one. I almost became one but luckily came to my senses). I am no longer a caseworker because the pay is abysmal and the frustration level high. I still don’t know exactly what I want to be when I grow up (OK I do but I have to win the lottery first ;).

    After my post I thought to myself, ‘how you could you fall for that troll?!’ I guess it was pre-martini grumpiness. Two martinis later and all was well.

    Too bad they don’t have sarcasm emoticons. Sometimes it’s tough to ferret out the tone of a post.

    Now back to the important stuff: good food and good writing! I am wondering if Mr. Ruhlman is regretting his decision to solicit comments.

  • Corey Haim & Eggs

    I think Senor Ruhlman should be a weekly guest on Party Line With The Hearty Boys, and Monsieur Bourdain could pop- up, now and again, as a Nancy Drew-type protagonist.

    Culminating in… Ruhlman and Bourdain flogging The Hearty Boys with sticks of homemade Salumi.

    I hope that Db Sweeney concurs.

    Darcie, what type of Martini did you fix for yourself? If it is one I like, then you’re forgiven for your poor attempts at insulting me, as well as for blaming the world for everything that didn’t work out.

    And, are you related to Darcy Tucker of Toronto Maple Leafs fame?

  • Darcie

    Corey (if I may be so presumptuous), sorry, no relation to the hockey player. Although I have lost some teeth (pulled for orthodontia).

    Unfortunately, I agreed to join friends at the Outback Steakhouse 🙁 so I was unable to fix the martini myself. I had to settle for a dry Beefeater martini, stirred, no olives. It was acceptable. At home, I usually make a Plymouth/Noilly (best I can get here), stirred with hand-cracked ice, and occasionally a dash or two of orange bitters.

    I humbly await your blessing.

    Blaming the world for things that didn’t work out?? I didn’t like my job so I quit. EOS.

    I don’t think people really want to read about us, so this shall be my last off-topic post. So long, and thanks for all the fish!

  • Corey Haim & Eggs


    “…stirred with hand-cracked ice….”

    Now, if I may say so, someone pledge allegiance to Darcie, and, right now!

    A lady who makes her martini w/hand cracked ice?


    Someone propose, and now (that is, if someone already hasn’t :))

    My last OT post, too.

    Although, I must say that, I wish this blog had a section for OT posts, since it’s really not far off from being a fanclub-of-Ruhlman type page.

    He’s a rock star!

    But, I don’t know how he feels about Iggy & the Stooges just yet, so, we’ll see.


    Yes, I’ve done that – no shame, all people need to go somewhere, and fun is where one makes it.

  • Kevin

    I enjoyed watching TNIC, and the regular show in general, but I always have questions about the preparation that I can’t find answers to. I’d like to see, if you are able to divulge that kind of info, how much prep work is allowed before the show, how much prior knowledge has been attained, and is the secret ingredient really secret. Like the lamb’s tongue with sword fish. did symon just have that in the hip pocket, or did he plan to use that ahead of time? I realize you have to do certain things for the magic of TV, but inquiring minds like to know these things.

    Enjoy your writings, btw, looking forward to the new Essentials.

  • mirinblue

    During my earlier post, I forgot my most pressing question! Since your books and also AB’s are on many of our Holiday wish lists…what are YOU asking (hoping) for this season? Just curious!

  • hollerhither

    Looks nice and clean. Thumbs up. I’ve been through redesign launches a bunch of times (in the job I’m *supposed* to be doing right now) and typically the negative comments outweigh the positives at first, and, if not performance-related, the complaints diminish after people get used to the new design. Of course, you have a very friendly audience (usually) — judging by the comments, you’re already off to a great start.

    BTW although I’m not a designer I agree with Justin D’s comments. The font size here seems fairly standard so readers may want to adjust on their own machines, as they’ll see this size elsewhere. Until we all lose our eyesight, that is. 🙂

  • chaoui

    Very nice webdesign. And very interesting (photoshopped?) picture of your kitchen. How on earth can you open your oven door to put a turkey in?

  • Kay

    PayPal is the devil. If you don’t want to endure the hassle of getting an honest merchant account and gateway setup just register as a seller on Amazon and list your signed copies up there.

  • LauraTheRed

    Love the new look!! (Then again, I’m obviously partial to red ;-D).

    So where do I go to get a signed copy of your book? I’m all about it!

  • john atkinson

    finally your site looks as good as your new hair. i love it and you twoce a day (fucking be bim bap).

  • AC

    The new design is swell, Michael.

    I only just took a look at your Elements of Cooking blog (I’m really looking forward to learning new things from it!) and wanted to pass on this feedback:
    You need some sort of header (not necessarily a different graphic) to distinguish that blog from this one. It may be that your staff are already working on this.
    I felt this feedback post was the best place to put this.
    Thanks so much!

  • The Professor

    Ruhlman, what about Nashville ? I live about 20 miles north of Nashville, which would about 40 miles from where you were. I am about 10 minutes from where Johnny Cash lived. Now owned by Barry Gibb(burned to the ground)I hope you had fun.

  • m

    Hi Michael–My husband and I had the great fortune to score some tickets to the sold out Bourdain talk/book signing in Santa Cruz tonight. Bourdain, you should know, mentioned your hair and the words “Breck commercial” in the same sentence when asked about Next Iron Chef.

    (His affection for you was quite clear … congrats on the site redesign, it’s quite stunning.)

  • artnlit

    Would be interested in hearing more about the Santa Cruz Bourdain talk, m, especially what he said about Ruhlman. I guess I should have copyrighted that “BreckBoy” moniker that I gave Knowlton, ‘cuz everyone is using it now! LOL. My 5 minutes of fame…!

  • m

    Hey Artn,

    As soon as I get my act together today, I’ll be youtubing about 12 minutes of the talk — segments on Gordon Ramsay, why the audience member who asked about Pakistan (as opposed to Beirut) is an idiot, etc. I’ll let you know when it’s up.

  • lisa garner

    I wanted to drop you a note to tell you about a food show on WNPR in New Haven, CT Faith Middleton’s Food Schooze. It’s on Wed and Sat for a hour and covers CT, Long Island and RI. No one loves or get into food more then Faith and her buddies. Oh she also has a book show on Fridays. One of her book buddies is from RJ Julia book store in Madison, CT. They do alot of readings and talks with an amazing list of writers.

    Maybe you already know about them, they both have websites so if you don’t check them out!

    All the best with your new book!

  • lisa garner

    I wanted to drop you a note to tell you about a food show on WNPR in New Haven, CT Faith Middleton’s Food Schooze. It’s on Wed and Sat for a hour and covers CT, Long Island and RI. No one loves or get into food more then Faith and her buddies. Oh she also has a book show on Fridays. One of her book buddies is from RJ Julia book store in Madison, CT. They do alot of readings and talks with an amazing list of writers.

    Maybe you already know about them, they both have websites so if you don’t check them out!

    All the best with your new book!

  • lux

    @m – Bourdain mentioned the jerk who confused Pakistan with Beirut at his lunch signing today in SF.

    He also plugged Ruhlman’s book, without even a swipe at the hair. Very decent of him. 🙂

  • Skawt

    To: Anthony Bourdain

    Re: Ruhlman poisons his readers

    Dear Mr. Bourdain:

    In regards to our conversation on the afternoon of Saturday, November 17th, I am submitting the following details of the sordid escapade which resulted in my being incapacitated by food poisoning for nearly a week, instigated by none other than Michael Ruhlman.

    On Sunday, November 11th, shortly before 2:00pm, Michael Ruhlman staggered into the Book Passage bookstore in the San Francisco Ferry building, smelling like the floor of a taxicab. In an attempt to be amusing, I introduced myself with the following:

    “Hi, I’m with the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Warthog Anus. Have you seen this man?” And then I held up a picture of you, Mr. Bourdain. At this point Mr. Ruhlman shook in a fit of ague, started swinging wildly with his travel mug full of Jaegermeister and cough syrup, and screamed incoherently about someone named Buford. He caught me a lucky clip on the side of the head, wherewith he dragged me outside of the store to a sandwich counter, where he demanded raw chicken – which he then proceeded to stuff into every orifice of mine that he could find. (I am still picking pieces of chicken out of my nostrils and left ear.)

    Needless to say, this resulted in my ending up with Salmonella food poisoning, which you are aware does some quite nasty things to the digestion. I have, in fact, expelled nearly three times as much water as I have taken in during the past week, and now when I sneeze only dust comes out.

    It is hereby my recommendation that whatever medication Mr. Ruhlman is on to control this behavior be doubled immediately, as its efficacy is no longer sufficient.

  • The Professor

    Many,many thanks to Skawt for the posting on your blog about Bourdain and the picture.Also the pictures from last week at The Ferry Building were really great too! Hey, I read many moons ago Bourdain said that he was going blog here so he could really open up and say what he wanted to say, I know he (and Ruhlman )have been super busy, but his signature poison pen has been absent for a long time. Come on , the common folks are hungry for that sort of stuff. Ruhlman…still no comment on my Nashville, was it that bad, let me have it, I can take it, I have lived here for 60 years. But really thanks to Skawt for this week AND last week.

  • Ms.Anthrope

    Skawt says:
    “where he demanded raw chicken – which he then proceeded to stuff into every orifice of mine that he could find. (I am still picking pieces of chicken out of my nostrils and left ear.)”

    Coulda been much worse Skawt…Chicken Cesar Wrap from Costco.
    Thanks for the laughs!

  • janet

    I finally figured out what bothers me so much about the wind-blown picture: the lack of context. It would be okay if the background were included, if you were standing on a beach, or a hillside, or your own back porch — somewhere, anywhere that wind-blown hair would look natural. It would also be okay as is if you were a teenage Hollywood starlet. But given your age and profession, it’s just silly, and it makes you look vain and self-dramatizing. That’s not the impression you want to give, is it?

    P.S. I am not saying that you’re vain and self-dramatizing, okay? Just that I think the picture makes you look as though you are.

  • MikeLibra


    Great site, worthy of a man of your stature. I agree with Christa Seychew, Buffalo loves you! We would be honored.

    The best to you always.

  • Elizabeth

    Wonderful new masthead! Beautiful red and clear links to well-organized features directly below.

    Less happy about:

    1) Not all images are legible, at least to this Mac user. I was googling a recipe and came across your praise of Heidi Swanson’s new cookbook. Image files appeared as names and little blue squares filled with white question marks.

    2) Where’s the new blog devoted to elements? I don’t see a link. If there is one, it might be given greater prominence.

    3) I am not a fan of the new trend of placing a narrow body of content in the middle of two very wide margins, each of which is nearly half the width of the central strip. The layout is superior to ones that interrupt text with ads, but I find it a bit distracting.

  • carole

    I love the new format but agree the font is a bit small/difficult…love your comments along the way on your book tour…also photos of the food you cook! you should have an “Elements of Cooking” show!!