Photo by Donna

The bright colors and bright minds I found in Ixtapa convinced me that I needed to brighten and clean up my blog.  The grays and and boxes were heavy and that combined with this winter that’s already too long, made me hunger for a lot of clean white space.  So I asked my friend Joe to give me that.  I also put one of my favorite kitchen tools as a graphic because I love the lines of that spoon.  Often I’ll read something or hear something that I want to get down or get out and it doesn’t really fit in a regular post.  So Joe created place in the right column for these kinds of smaller thoughts.  I don’t know if it will prove useful.  Comments are such an important and valued part of this blog, I’ve included a box below the comments box to check if you’d like to be alerted to further comments; you can also respond directly to individual comments.  Donna’s blog has gone away for a few days and will emerge as a separate, unique page.  Just finished breakfast to find that not only had Donna shot a great unexpected photo of sauteed grits cake, sausage and a poached egg, but that the new site had gone live as well.  Busy morning! We’re always evolving.  Hope this new evolution of the blog is easier to read and shows off Donna’s photographs to their fullest.


140 Wonderful responses to “New Site Design!”

  • Tana

    I love it. Especially how the spoon leads right to your face. Normally, I’ve have turned it the other way, but it works like that. Good work, Joe!

  • Kristina@FormerChef

    I like the new look!
    Interesting though that the spoon moves depending on the width of the screen/window. Make the screen narrower and the spoon moves over your name. I think this is what the first commentor was saying. I’m sure on something like a 10″ netbook it might look different.

  • Brigette

    Wow! That was fast … like those 10 minute hair colors .

    I really liked the previous blog, but I can appreciate the need for something new and different, especially in the throes of winter. Donna’s photos really stand out on the white space here; they’re so inspiring and truly complement your words.

    As far as the Micro Blog goes, it will be kewl to get snippets of your thoughts. Sometimes I don’t always have the time to read a complete post, and the Micro Blog will be a quick source for information.


  • Bunnee

    This is so much brighter and better! I really missed the red, although I understood why you chose to go in that direction. This works – and I’m glad it was your website, not your hair.

  • Mike W.

    This is great, everything vastly improved down to the number of posts per page and the font. Glad you heard our comments about the last redesign and have redrafted.

  • caitlindentino

    It really is interesting how color makes a huge difference. The onion photo (from the last post) looks like an entirely new picture simply with the white background. I like!

  • Lisa

    The main background is NOT set for white, it is relying on users to have their browser default be set for white. You may wish to have someone change this setting if you want it to be white rather than text on the user’s choice of color. I only see white in the header and text boxes for replies.

  • Kim

    I love the new look, particularly the vibrancy of the colors. (I had protested against the move to gray.) For those of us with aging eyes, it is much easier to read text against a crisp white background., I also love the italicized font for commenters’ names. The only question/issue is whether you can move the blog to the center and have it framed by a column on either side. The page seems to be out of balance, with the blog squeezed against the left margin. Thank you for constantly trying to improve your readers’ enjoyment of your website. I know that it takes a lot of time and effort.

  • jdw

    I feel like the microblog is going to get lost over there on the right side of the ads. It’s too separated from the main content. (And, yes, I know the ads are just links to your books, but once we’ve seen them ten or twenty times, they’re no longer interesting!)

    I think the comments are not quite right, though — the font, combined with the size, makes them a bit of a strain to read. I certainly don’t want to read through several comments if they’re more than a sentence or two long.

  • Carri

    I like the new look alot, the uncluttered feel definitely keeps the focus on the posts and the photos, which is really what it’s all about. In fact, it makes me wish I were in tha hammock right now…damn you, Ruhlman!

  • Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite

    What a beautiful new look. I am all about the clean white space (I have a lot of it on my own blog) and am loving what you have done with the space. Feels very fresh and spring-like. Roll on spring!

  • Boonie

    Much better! Gotta tell ya – the gray subdued tones sucked…Vibrant, colorful food is far more appetizing….!

  • HankShaw

    I like is MUCH better than the gray site, which seemed a little ponderous or even melancholic in a way. Love the typeface and the white space. Spoon is fun, and the number of post visible on the front page is better, too. More entry points in case you aren’t jazzed by one of the topics…

    Anyway, that’s my $0.02.


  • Linda J-H

    Love the new design! I agree with Kim – for those of us with aging eyes, this is a welcome relief – the gray was difficult to read. Thanks for the improvements.

  • Josie

    I love the white background, and the lighter/brighter feel is nice… We Ohioans need brightness where ever we can get it!

  • Natalie Sztern

    I love that you lost the dismal look…changing looks is like moving to a new house; but as always and like Matt says, it’s the content that you write which I look forward to: I could eat, uh read, your words all day long

  • Marcos Felipe

    Michael, if the inspiration was “the bright colors in Ixtapa”, you lack something green on the top of the blog, a bright green, of course, to go along with that red. I’m not from Mexico but already feel like a local here and I know what you mean. Ixtapa, well, it’s amazing and even from the web one may see how gorgeous the place is. And Ixtapa is only one place. Mexico has hundreds of special places. I also read all the other blogger’s posts about it and yes, it seems and sounds that the people were really bright 🙂

    But, really, what changes one in Mexico are the tortillas. Mole, Pozole, Tacos (Carnitas!!!), Tamales, it’s all amazing. But the craft of a really good fresh tortilla, specially when eaten in beautiful places (Mexico doesn’t lack those), has the power to change something inside. When you have a good tortilla, all you need is some salsa and little salt. The rest is God given bonus 🙂

    The fact that Donna now has her separate blog is really nice. She arranges and shoots perfect photos and deserves that. Obviously we know you guys work as a team, of course, but it’s nice to have Donna’s blog. My food photos are not awful anymore, thanks to her. And my cooking and food knowledge are better now, thanks to you.

    I wish the best for your family and for you blog 🙂

  • Marcos Felipe

    Oh yeah, and the “short thoughts” part is a good idea. I don’t Twitter and I see through Facebook that you do a lot so it should be nice to post these little thoughts on your website as well. And you can elaborate a bit more than those few characters Twitter gives 😛

  • Mike V @ DadCooksDinner

    Hooray! No more “Zombie Ruhlman” picture!

    I wasn’t happy about the grey cast to the rest of the blog (I second the “dismal look” comment I saw above), but I could sort of ignore it. But the washed out picture was getting worse every time I saw it. Thank you for the change – it looks much better now!

  • cdelphine

    ooh I like this much better. The gray was sorta depressing but I agree that the comments are a bit difficult to read.

  • Georgia.Pellegrini

    I see you are doing some spring cleaning of sorts! It looks fantastic. My blog is getting a facelift too and I cannot wait for it to be finished. It will feel so refreshing!

  • Chip

    The only problem is that the RSS feed now only has partial posts. A number of the food blogs that I used to regularly read have stopped including full posts on their RSS feeds and I find that I don’t read them nearly as much anymore.

  • Leela

    I’m going to put myself in the minority here and say that I loved the old gray site. I never found it to be depressing or gloomy. If anything, I thought it created an atmosphere wherein you’re invited to observe, think, reflect, and learn. At a risk of sounding absurd, there was a sense of solemnity to it. Don’t know how to explain, but it’s like it was sending a message, “You have now entered the territory of Ruhlman. Prepare to learn, be in awe, and leave changed.”

    God, I need a drink.

    Having said that, I love the new design too. It is bright and ‘full of energy.’ A welcome change, most definitely. My blog also has a white background as I think it makes food look better. The only thing I would change — don’t hate me — is the fonts of the blog title and description. They look kind of, uh, a bit too mature (read “old”). Heh. Can’t please everyone, huh?

    But, honestly, even if your blog had a black background with electric pink texts in Papyrus or Comic Sans font, I’d still read it.

  • Susan

    Looks nice and friendly. Love the 3-D spoon. Comment print is pretty tiny. You aren’t one of those people that write really small, are you? Kidding..but not about the comment print.

  • Barbara @Vino Luci Style

    I’m a web developer by trade (and see some of my clients up above…cool) and it’s funny when reading a post last week by Donna I remember thinking I wished your blog was a bit brighter; thanks for listening even if you didn’t know it!

    That being said, the font size for these comments is pretty tiny and when combined with a serif font in a digital environment; a bit hard to read. Could the font size be upped just a bit in the stylesheet, please?

    Congrats though, overall a very nice job!

    • Pam P

      Ditto! LOVE the new site, can’t see to even type this comment with my readers on LOL

      Just a little bit bigger, please?

  • Dawn J.

    I followed a link about sourdough starter to your site. It seems to have disappeared. Is that part of the change or a side effect? Will it come back or is it gone forever?
    The comments font is very small but I like the bright, clean look of the site.

  • craigkite

    This is the 4th version since I started reading your blog. Don’t piss off Donna. Her visuals are the real eye candy for this sight. I have always liked white backgrounds, more journalistic in appearance. As long as you keep the archived content, great link farm, new observations and food porn each week, I will keep reading.

  • Liz Larkin

    It’s official, I need glasses. Wait, I’m wearing glasses. Increase the comments font size, just a smidge. cool font. What is it?

  • Romona

    This is a wonderful, clean site. I love reading your blog and have gained much knowledge about food and cooking!

  • Dragana

    Nice change, although I rather liked the gray as well. You new look feels more spacious and bright.
    I agree that the size of the comment font is difficult on the eyes.

  • Andra

    Fun revamping of the site. I am shy with comments (although I am not with writing, considering that I food-blog myself) but I really love the new design…and the spoon!

  • Brian Cronin

    I don’t like how the right columns run out of content when you scroll down the page–what’s left is a blank space taking up 40% of the page!

  • Victoria

    Personally, I liked this “gray” site, but as I am a person who loves color, I do prefer this one.

    I always think I love cool, calm colors, but when I picked the colors for my house I choose sunflower yellow for the living room, raspberry red for the dining room, and a little brighter than Wedgwood blue for the kitchen – 3 primaries right in a row. Soooooo happy.

  • Rachel Forrest

    Curse you ,Michael Ruhlman, now I’ll have to change my blog to look just like yours again!!!! Just Kidding. Sadly I’m not married to someone with the photography talent your wife has.

  • rockandroller

    I find the comment text to be very tiny as well, an eye strain to read. And I know we are archaic at my job, but we are forced to continue to use IE6 because of certain programs not supported by upgrade (and many other companies are in this boat as well, and are still using IE6), and the formatting at the top isn’t right on this browser; the search box and the twitter/FB stuff are all on top of each other.

    Just my 2 cents. I welcome a new, “brighter” design but I think some brighter, fun colors breaking up all the white space would be nice. But you can’t please everyone.

  • Beth

    I can appreciate the intent behind white. White and food go together. Chefs don’t wear grey jackets. Well, not usually, anyway. But I really liked the grey for the site, even if it did feel a bit heavy. White feels, forgive the phrase, pedestrian, and I’ve never been a fan of black and white and red together. But that’s just me. Perhaps the grey needed some gradation to lighten it up. Or pinstripes! (I wrote that to be funny, but I kind of like the idea, actually.)

    The point about the photos reading better on white is well-taken, but perhaps, if you alter the background color, you can just add a white border around photos, like the snapshots that resulted from film when we were kids.

    And I, too, would orient the spoon in the header in the opposite direction. Your web guy can flip the image, I expect.

  • Walker Lawrence

    Michael the changes are nice. I thought the last design was satisfying as well, maybe a bit more dull. This definitely more lively. The font size seems smaller (although that could be my own screen resolution). I like the font though.

    I don’t like too much white and there’s a lot of blank white space when all the comments are shown.

    I really like the option of replying to individual comments I know that on a number of occasions I wish I could have done that in the past. This should stimulate even more rewarding discussion.

  • Karen

    The site looks great in IE, but in Mozilla the font looks a little off. And the comments are really, really small.

  • Laurence

    A larger font size for the comment text is needed, and a smaller one for the correspondent’s name. There also seems to be too much whitespace. Better, but not there yet.

    • SallyBR

      I agree – I do think the font is a little too small, and a little compression on the spaces could help too. No big deal on the spacing, but the font is hard on my eyes.

  • other side of the river

    Please keep the full entry posts in your RSS feed, not the first few sentences.

    • Dave Strock

      Yes, please put the full articles in the RSS feed, not just the first few sentences. That defeats the entire purpose of feed aggregaters, like google reader, etc.

      • Chip

        I also read blogs through a feed aggregater, and I go to sites that use abbreviated feeds much less often than I do for sites that use the full feed. Without the full feed, I simply skip over most of their posts. You have got to make that first sentence absolutely amazing to get me to click over to your blog.

        If I can read the entire entry in my aggregator, I’ll actually read what you wrote. Since you have great commenters, I often will take the extra step of clicking on the link to come to your site.

        I have no idea how typical I am but I know myself well enough to know that with the abbreviated feed I will come to your site less often.

  • luanda

    Yes, a larger font for the comment text. I know my eyesight is bad, but Lord almighty! This is excruciating to read.

  • Laura

    Another vote for increasing the size of the typography in the comments section- otherwise, lovely.

  • Alen Rogers

    Nice new look. Really miss the links, and the index of old posts though.

  • mary lynn

    Love the new site. I agree with Kim, having content shifted to the left seems out of balance. Not only that, I finally had to move my chair to the left to read all the comments. Got tired of turning my head to the left!

  • Bradley

    This is nice, I don’t have anything bad to say about the grey/black…I thought it was classy

  • rose

    I like variances, different and that is what the contrast of blk/wht was/is – colorful is always nice but everyone does it! Hopefully there will be variety…

  • dawn

    Love the clean, bright page! I would say the type is Goudy Oldstyle, one of my faves and easy to read. But please change the foot mark in your subhead to an apostrophe. We type-geeks notice those things.

  • Peter Kaizer

    Michael, huge fan of yours and your blog but speaking as a web UI designer I think this new design really needs some work. Particularly the grid structure and the typography. I liked the previous version but agree that the drab colors needed to be brighter.

  • SallyBR

    I have no idea where my reply went, or if it got posted, but I would like to join everyone who is saying the font for the comments is too small. Apart from that, the new look is great

  • SallyBR

    I have no idea where my previous replies went, or if they got posted, but I would like to join everyone who is saying the font for the comments is too small. Apart from that, the new look is great

  • Rhonda

    Michael, just checked in.

    I know you do not have any control of the add space but there was an add that told me that I most probably have celiac disease. I know this is a real issue for some but others, I think, just want attention.

    The good news is that I took the quiz and I do not have celiac disease but I may be suffering from erectile dysfuntion which is odd because I am a woman.

  • Marianne

    Where are the links to to your favorite WEB Sites? I wqish I knew you were taking them down so I could’ve copied them. I would just pop in on your site and then click onto other sites once I finished readingyour post.

      • Marcos Felipe

        Charcuterie Sundays!!! I love that blog! Of course I have it bookmarked but the other links I don’t. It’s easy to put them back on and it would be really nice.

    • Arturo

      Me too. I’d click threw to bob DG’s site among others. But then I still mourn Saute Wednesday with the great content and links.

  • Deanna

    I like it! It’s very clean and crisp. My only suggestion would be to make the body text sans-serif. It’s a pretty well researched fact that sans-serif is easier to read on computer monitors than serifed fonts. But overall, a fantastic redesign!

  • Tom K.

    Font is harder to read. Either a sans-serif or a darker serif font.

    Everything else is better. But isn’t the text what it’s really all about?

  • Jill

    The new design is great! However, the apostrophe in chef’s is not an apostrophe, it’s a foot mark. As in: The basketball player was 6’8″. Apostrophes have lovely curves in them. (Yes, I’m an annoying editor, but you don’t want a cludgy foot mark in your tag line.)

  • James Davies

    I like the new design. I must also echo Chip’s comment that it would be great if you put back the full text of your posts in your RSS feed. Partial RSS feeds are really annoying for those of us who read many blogs each day and use an aggregator to organize and read them.

  • Barbara @ VinoLuciStyle

    I have to admit I’m in the group of sans serif fans…I use Verdana for every site I develop; it’s True Type, considered sans serif but has more softness than Arial so it’s just my go to font (and there are so few you can go to!).

    Of interest is the discussion regarding your tagline; it does seem that the character we typically use for apostrophes is a ‘foot’ mark but a standard keyboard lacks a true apostrophe so out of curiosity went looking for an apostrophe and here it is: ’

    Maybe subbing that foot mark with this character would squash some of the comments about your tagline but I think of more importance would be to add some character spacing to the font in your stylesheet. A bit of space between the text characters would make the mark more evident and eliminate some of the confusion…cause it’s there, but it’s smack against the f and just looks like an extension of that letter.

    Aren’t you glad (?) you asked!

  • Jose Canseco

    Yawn, snore.

    Don’t you people have anything better to do than discuss a blog format change?

  • S. Woody

    “White. A blank page or canvas. The challenge: bring order to the whole. Through design. Composition. Tension. Balance. Light. And harmony.”

    – from Sunday In the Park with George, book by James Lapine, music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. It was the first thing I thought of when I saw the change.

  • Wilma de Soto


    Not anything YOU would want to know! Pero,

    “Yawn, snore” is NOT inappropriate for Donna’s “Bee-YOU-tee-ful” photograph!

  • Wilma de Soto

    Mayhap a larger font size is better, but sans serif type is better for titles or headers.
    Serif typeface, (such as Times new Roman, etc.), is much easier on the eyes. Could one imagine if the NYT were written in all Helvetica or Arial or Arial Black?

  • Sara

    Lovely new site! Looks a lot like Mr. Lebovitz’s, actually, which is amusing given your ongoing tiffs…

  • alissa j

    Love the new set up. The micro-blog is a good idea as well.
    Thank you for what you do!

  • Sara

    i love the new look, however now i dont have easy access to all teh great blogs you had links to! where can i find those on your website now?

  • Skip

    I think this look is terrific and inviting. I’m so glad the full color portrait of you is back and you no longer look like a character from True Blood or Twilight.