The perfect combo.  Twenty & a pair of Spankettes. Photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman.

I’m giving away a personalized Twenty and two awesome Spankettes in return for your ideas. Photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman.

Short version: I ask you, cherished reader, what book would you like me to write next?

Update, 5/9, 8 p.m.: A winner has been chosen using randomizer: Aaron Weiss, a journalist and TV news director in Sioux City, Iowa. Thanks for commenting, Aaron, and for cooking with your family! Thank you everyone. Frankly, I was astonished by all the ideas and fascinated by the patterns. Still making my way through the nearly 500 comments.

My favorite suggestion, got filtered out due to a spam issue, from regular reader and commenter, Bob Tenaglio:

I’d call the book “Time; The Secret Ingredient You’ll Never See On Iron Chef,” and it would delve into dry-aged meat, fermentation, enzymatic transformation, what constitutes “freshness” and “rot,” the role of rigor mortis in meats and seafood, “low and slow,” development of flavors.

Very intriguing! Thanks Bob and thanks all. I’m blessed and grateful.


…and now back to the original post…

Complete version, or here’s what happened Thursday at Bar Boulud, my favorite culinary landing pad when touching down in NYC. I was there to meet with my editor, Michael Sand, of Little, Brown, which will be publishing The Book of Schmaltz in August, and in the spring, my innovative exploration of the kitchen’s most versatile ingredient. These were the known factors when I decided to hook up with this venerable publisher.

This, too, was known: I would also write four shorter, single-subject cookbooks. And this was the main topic as Sand and I munched through salads and jambon beurre and a taste of boudins noir et blanc (exquisite, all). What should those books be?

Ruhlman Singles will be about one-third the length of a traditional cookbook. Like The Book of Schmaltz: Love Song to a Forgotten Fat, they will comprise 20 or so recipes, but recipes that might be short master classes on a specific idea and technique within that broader subject. In the Single for Roast, for instance, there would be a high-heat roast technique and recipe, a low, slow roast technique and recipe, a pan roast, etc., and it would explore all the finesse points, the techniques that take a dish from good to aaaawesome, recipes that gave my prose room to spread out, in a format that would allow photos of each dish and as many process shots as we feel needed. (Can’t tell you how many of you have thanked me, or Donna and me rather, for making you feel comfortable in the kitchen because of the process shots.)

The world doesn’t need more recipes, it needs more technique, and home cooks need more confidence and encouragement in the kitchen. (Because you’re not too stupid to cook, even though Kraft wants you to think you are.)

Sand and I mulled: should they be basic technique books, like roast? Or ones more suited to the ambitious home cook, like sous vide or fermentation (cooking with bugs!), or cooking with actual bugs, grasshoppers, and whatnot?! (As that’s Andrew Zimmern territory, I’ll probably stay out of the latter.)

Then Sand said: “Why don’t you ask your readers. What do they want?”

Well? I’d love to hear from you! I have a list of ten or so ideas already. But take a moment to tell me: if you could choose one subject for me to write and think about, to cook through and photograph, what would it be? As an enticement, I’m giving away to one of you, chosen by randomizer on Thursday, a signed and personalized copy of Ruhlman’s Twenty: Twenty Techniques, 100 Recipes, a Cook’s Manifesto, and two—yes TWO!—Spankettes, the middle-sized wooden spoon that is one of my most cherished and valuable tools in the kitchen. While the winner has to be chosen at random and live in the U.S. (postage issue, sorry Canada, England, Australia, India!), if I write about what you wanted me to write about, I will be eager to acknowledge and thank you by name (if you wish) in the book.

So, I ask you, with deep thanks for even clicking on this page, tell me, what should the next book be? I shall return to Sand today the revised manuscript on the world’s most versatile culinary ingredient, and photography will wrap up soon. What should I write about next?

If you liked this post, take a look at these links:

© 2013 Michael Ruhlman. Photo © 2013 Donna Turner Ruhlman. All rights reserved.


484 Wonderful responses to “Twenty/Wood Spoon Giveaway
(with butcher’s string attached: need your help!)”

  • Ed Olszewski

    Sous vide – I have the beautiful TK book but its definitely not filling the space a shorter book that is designed for advanced home chefs rather than restaurants could. I am finding I am using my sous vide much more than I would have expected and its the perfect subject for a non recipe technique book as once you understand the abilities of the technique you can do so many existing recipes with it.

  • Josh S

    A book of roasts is good, but a book of American classics would be fantastic. How to make the best burger, pizza, french fries, sandwich, etc with a focus on making them from scratch (you know…cooking) and technique for doing it well.

    • John Katzenberger

      How about regional cookbooks of the US? For example one for the South (maybe too broad) and some of the classic dishes of the regions with your Ruhlman take on them.

  • Sharon

    Gravies and sauces, that’s where I need expansion of my knowledge.

  • Brian E.

    Charcuterie: The world needs to see this made more accessible and home friendly.

    The Egg: You call it one of the greatest ingredients out there, why not make an entire book about it?

  • Christopher Neill

    I’d like a book that talks about the Cleveland food renaissance. You wrote about it in its nascent period when you talked about Michael Symon in “Soul of a Chef”. Let’s revisit some of these people, and expand to include Dante Bocuse, Zach Bruell, Karen Small, Paul Minnillo and so on. Even follow up on little Jill Vedaa, who was just a baby when you wrote about her working for Symon, now an executive chef herself.

    People are interested, people are paying attention. It’s your town, it’s my town. Let’s talk about it.

  • Jen

    I’m pretty comfortable around most cooking techniques, but I’m woefully lacking in skill/confidence with pickling, fermentation, etc. (and I see by the above comments I’m not alone). Some help with homemade yogurt and cheese, good kosher dills, kimchi, et al would be MOST welcome!

  • Son Dao

    One subject that one doesn’t hear or see much about especially in America are savory pies. There are such techniques and traditions in Europe but it seems to have been lost in this country. It would be an interesting companion to the cured meats/charcuterie material you have written about.

  • RMayfield

    Write on techniques/recipes that involve freezing food: granita, ice cream, etc

  • Susan

    Sauces, gravies and dressings…or Emulsions. They can be a condiment or a savory sauce or a salad dressing using whatever techniques and ingredients are used to emulsify them.

  • sheila

    Vegetables, summer and winter. Selection, storage, prep, and cooking technique, preservation.

    Also, grains of all kinds, and how to make them more than something to soak up sauce.

  • Skip

    The two subjects that interest me most at the moment have been been mentioned already, so I am just putting a vote for them. There is no good home sous vide book yet. The Keller is too involved and the Baldwin’s recipes are pedestrian. I also would love a book on quick sauces and gravies. Techniques to create sauces and gravies a la minute for everyday proteins and sides in imaginative ways that make them shine and yet are totally practical and quick.

  • Cheryl

    Love this whole idea, Michael! I went into Culinary School with a boat load of cooking experience but learning technique changed and elevated my cooking. I’d love to see a book on vinegars/acid. While I’m somewhat comfortable with the basics, I know nothing about pickling etc. I know what it brings to the food but have always been hesitant for some reason to explore it. Looking forward to this new venture. Cheers!

  • Jerry

    I would love to see you do a book on whole hog butchery. Your books on charcuterie are wonderful. It would be really great to see learn and explore the art of butcher. It might bring a better understanding and respect to a dying craft.

  • Alexis

    I’d love to see a short book on Eggs (and maybe cheese). Yum. More than just breakfast food….

  • Ed Tiesse

    How about condiments? Making your own ketchups, mustards, chutneys, etc. add a savory dimension to anything.

  • Katie

    I would like to know about ways to cook root vegetables, and sauces for meats, canning vegetables, making small savory pies like empanadas, how to make a tasty soup without milk or cream, paninis, stir fries, pickling, and braising,

  • Byron

    I would love to see a great process book on taking each cut of meat and walking through the prep and cooking in a variety of ways for best results. Illustrating the difference of types of meat and how they are treated for best flavor and tenderness etc…

    • cleek

      i like this idea.

      i walk through the meat section of the supermarket and see all kinds of cuts i’ve never tried because i have no idea what i’d do with them. but they’re always on the shelves, so someone must know what to do with them… just not me.

  • Jeff

    Pickling and preserving. Hot peppers, relish, preserved lemons etc. the who and the why.

  • Lori

    Casseroles from across the world- Tater Tot Hot Dish, Tuna Noodle, Biryani etc. I’d also put in my vote for fermentation. Something I’ve wanted to try, but have been a bit scared.

  • Eric Geibel

    The one protein that I still struggle with is fish, even though I have fished my whole life. I think it intimidates most people. I would love to see a comprehensive work on selecting, cleaning, portioning, and most importantly, cooking this delicate protein. You could even throw some shellfish in the book for good measure, I have never met a home cook who didn’t cook prawns to a dry mealy consistency, what a waste!

  • Jeffrey Scott

    I vote for both sauces which confound me and the art of pickling. I want to know more about using vinegar in cooking. When talking of sauces, I don’t refer to just french sauces… just how do the Chinese get those great sticky, sweet & spicy sauces on orange beef, etc…? Good Luck!

  • Jimmie B

    Use of oils/fats, when to use, why one over another etc. Also, Soups!

  • Autumn Hoverter

    Sauces, not cream based but rather combinations of flavors like chimichurri one can put on grilled salmon or roasted veggies. What are the different herb-based sauces from around the world? What are the basic techniques? Are there easy short cuts for the home cook so he/she can whip up a flavorful home-cooked meal any night of the weeK?

  • Tim

    How about a book for each season? You can focus on seasonal ingredients and how techniques might vary or go in and out of season based upon climate and ingredient availability.

  • Jen

    For background, I’m a basic home cook and I’m always more than willing to experiment with new ingredients and new techniques, but not ones that require specialized equipment. I don’t mind spending some extra time on cooking on a weekend, but I also need to have a lot of really quick (30 min or less) meals in my repertoire for weeknights. So I wouldn’t be interested in a really complex book about sous vide or something like that. I would like to see something on good, simple vegetable side dishes (and maybe some options for main courses too), so I’d be able to reference it and find something to do with whatever I found at the farmer’s market that week. I also like recipes that freeze well so I can make things in advance and have something to pull out during a busy week, but I don’t always have a good feel for what will do well when I pull it out of the freezer later and what won’t (I’ve had a few mishaps and had to order take-out after a freeze/thaw disaster). So some info on the theory on what makes something freezer-friendly would be great too.

  • Ben

    I vote for the tomato and how it’s a good starting point for many great things such as sauces, condiments, salads, etc.

  • Heather

    I would love to see a book on frying – from pan-frying, to stir-frying, to deep frying. What techniques and things one should think about for what kinds of surfaces/foods you are cooking. Because for me, it is often hit or miss in terms of getting the temperature, moisture, etc right. Except for deep frying, then it’s pretty much always a miss for me.

  • Ben

    I really like the idea of a fermentation/pickling book. The recipes seem simple enough, but I’d love a deep dive into the techniques and science.

  • margot

    I’ll support comments above for vegetables (especially roots) and savory pies beyond quiche. Then pickles and condiments.

  • Adam

    Perhaps the greatest thing we can do for our children is to teach them how to cook. If there were a cookbook that was written both for the home cook and the child learning to cook (and read), it would be a great resource for parents.

  • Rachel

    I am a fairly confident home cook these days, but as another commenter mentioned above, I too feel daunted by seafood. Maybe as a product of not living on the coast, but with the cost of seafood as high as it is here, I usually opt to just not buy it, as opposed to messing it up. More confidence in this area would be great.

  • Chelsea

    I love the idea of a book aimed at ambitious home cooks, but with variations not dependent on specialized equipment. There are techniques I’d like to master, but I don’t have room in my kitchen for a vacuum sealer or sous vide machine.
    But I would welcome many, many of the other suggestions provided here.

  • Matt

    Whole animal cooking. Suckling Pig Porchetta, Spit Roasted Goat, Salt Roasted Fish, Buried Pig, Lamb, etc.

  • Heidi Pohle

    I love the idea of learning better technique as opposed to more recipes. I would also love a book on beef, and the different cuts that you can buy in the supermarket, and how to elevate them from humdrum to fabulous. My other issue is time. How to get dinner on the table in a reasonable fashion, after having to work all day. So, maybe having a component for a quick to the table meal for weeknights.

  • Denise

    How about a book on how to put a meal together? From fancy dinner party to weekday dinner, creating a balanced meal, like a roast dinner with a side dish that will balance the fat. On top of that, for the weekday dinner portion, something that helps people throw dinner together, and maybe tips on how to shop for weekly basic ingredients that will allow you to create various meals. I really hate those “cook 1 day for meals for 7 days” and “crock pot meals every night” ideas.

  • Stacy Fontenot

    Our family kitchen would prove a hive of activity with “three-day meal” deals.
    Something along the lines of:

    Tomato sauce: Day 1 eat spaghetti. While making the spaghetti, create a lasagna to eat on Day 3. Day 2: use up leftover tomato sauce and make chili.

    Roast chicken: Eat straight off bird Day 1. Day 2 pot pie—boil carcass for stock to use in the pot pie sauce and Day 3 soup.

    Beneficial ideas about extending or reinventing a meal: such as the incorporation of eggs as protein for soups/gumbo (you wrote in “Ratios” to crack an egg in the bowl with hot soup).

    My kitchen and family need multi-use ideas and a condensed, to-the-point book written by you on this subject would be sure to fit the bill!
    Thank you!

  • Tracie Kimiayi

    I was recently diagnosed with a food allergy to Gluten. But I refuse to give up some of the things I love to eat…breads, pancakes, cornbread, cookies, cakes, homemade pastas….but I am finding it very difficult to learn how to make them without a lot of trial and error ! I think any advice in terms of using alternate gluten free ingredients would be greatly appreciated by an increasing percentage of the population. So far I make a mean gluten free brownie ..and I am working on my pancake skills. Aside from that, I am obsessed with condiments: dressing, sauces, marinades, etc..simple mixtures that make or break a meal 😉

  • Meredith

    My vote is like Eric, for fish! Obviously of the sustainable variety–I spent about twenty years of my life not eating fish and am making an attempt to bring it into my diet but it seems like there’s so much to know regarding variety (though I fear fish, especially sustainable fish, is one of those hyperlocal things that’s difficult to discuss for a really wide audience), cuts, techniques–I’ve pretty much stuck to cod because I have no idea what to do with other fish! Shellfish would be nice too but I think they’re a bit easier and have an appealing brininess (I’ve been eating them for a few years).

  • Chris M

    The two that come to my mind are sauces (basic and accesible ones for the home cook), since that is IMHO makes a great meal and the other topic is braising. So much can be done with braising and I don’t think many people have a great knowledge of it.

  • Sue

    Another vote for sauces, particularly pan sauces. One of my favorite cooking techniques is to sear a cutlet (chicken, pork, fish, etc) and then build a sauce in the pan for it – simple, versatile, good stuff.

  • John Loesch

    Street foods of the world–tacos, gyros, pizza, shawarma, etc. Market has plenty of books on 5-star type cuisine, what about the great foods the less well off of the world have been able to create.

  • Jessica @ Burlap and Butter Knives

    OR the American Food Crisis. Something that kind of takes the premise of “The American Way of Eating” to the next level. Talk to the government officials, Monsanto people, farmers, consumers, voters, lobbyist, etc. Get the nitty gritty of why are we so far gone, so mislead and mislabeled, and why nothing is being done about it!

  • David Tucker

    I have become utterly fascinated by baking bread with a starter and think this could be an area that lends itself to a shorter work along the theme of using your mind instead of a printed recipe. You could discuss creating and tending to a starter, and making different types of breads with it. Good photographic subject too!

  • Marc

    Maybe it’s been done and I missed the boat here, but would love to see a focus on going in the opposite direction of all the heart-healthy stuff :)-how to perfectly FRY. From the tools to technique for the home cook. Getting the batter for a perfect onion ring, calimari is not easy. When I fry, I cross my fingers and hope it turns out, it usually does, but I cannot replicate some of the more simpler but heavenly items. I want to nail it everytime. Maybe it’s more art….for the amount of work and mess I secretly pine for better results. Most recipes make a huge assumption and leave most of the technique out.

  • Garrett

    Pickling, preserving, steaming or frying. Cooking with flowers would also be neat.

  • Skip

    I looked at the Modern Sauces book you talked about somewhere above. It is indeed a fine book. But I would love something that really is about sauces and gravies that are quickly and simply made and elevate a dish immensely.

  • T

    how about one on herb and spices … combinations that you can use, how they can change the flavor of your dish, how you can store or grow them

  • Alexander Flenner

    Pickling and fermentation – 200 recipes for preserved lemons = >50 techniques. Some must be better than others.

    Second: Sous vide, but only if process can be made more accessible.
    An app or endorsement of another’s app for calculating times would be key.

  • Morris Jones

    I like the ideas for sauces/condiments, fermenting, and pickling.

    But an interesting idea may be the techniques for eating on $40 a week (i.e. the value of food stamps). From building up and pantry to getting more meals out of a chicken. And all with an eye on maintaining a healthy, tasteful diet.

  • Walt Smith

    Where would we be without Fermentation? I would love to learn more, it’s a technique for the ages.

  • Dan

    How about directly taking on “too stupid to cook”? Which prefab foods do you find the most inexcusable? What scratch-based alternatives do you think everybody should know?

  • Laurie

    Cooking with alcohol. How to incorporate all kinds from wine and beer to liquor into cooking to enhance the flavor of dishes

  • Beachfinn

    +Egg. By far the most versatile ingredient in the kitchen, heck there can almost be a book of boiling an egg (so many variables). sauces, emulsions, cakes, pasta, you name it.

  • E.S.

    A book on basic techniques. I know there are excellent longer books on braising, roasting, etc. out there…however, I think that a smaller book that was easy on the eyes, had illustrations of what you’re looking for at each step, and was focused primarily on necessary techniques would be very helpful to a lot of people I know. For example, a guide to braising with any flavors with clear images of each step (mise en place, searing meat, sweating veg/deglazing, and so on…).

  • Chris Huck

    I think many of us have specialty equipment that isn’t used often enough. I’d like more tested recipes by a respected food expert / author (you!) for lets say pressure cookers, crock pots, vita mix, panini makers etc…

  • Heather S

    A book on the basics of all of the most used utensils and how to use them with basic fundamental cooking skills!

  • James Wes Buel.

    Write about the three main foods the Americas gave the world. Corn, potatoes and tomatoes. You could flesh it out with others like chilies.

  • Pam

    Fish. Not shellfish, just a short book on fish. An awful lot of people don’t know what to do with fish. It’s so often done badly. It would be great to see techniques and recipes for different types of fish-flat fish, oily fish, etc.

  • Jack

    Sauces from many different cultures. The classic French sauces, Asian sauces for stir fry, and salsas with grilled food for example.

  • Adriana

    The secrets of umami – fermented food,whether vegetables or protein, smoked or slowly simmered. What brings it about? What makes it happen?

  • Adam

    breakfast. and i mean good breakfast, sunday style, after a relaxing lay-in when you need a good home cooked weekend breakfast. one that you’ll enjoy cooking the right way and serving this sunday treat with your wife. i’m sure you could do wonders describing (simple but essential) techniques for sunday breakfast staples: omelettes, shirred eggs, pancakes, biscuits, gravy, and more.

  • Emilia

    Bob Tenaglio : I’d call the book “Time; The Secret Ingredient You’ll Never See On Iron Chef” and it would delve into dry-aged meat, fermentation, enzymatic transformation, what constitutes “freshness” and “rot”, the role of rigor mortis in meats and seafood, “low and slow”, development of flavors.

  • Barry Lee Marris

    Book suggestion (s): Pro techniques applicable to home cooking, which could include holding food/sauces at temp, par-cooking, thickening (a single subject of Thickeners would be good, so many different ones that react in so many different ways), pan-to-oven finishing, etc. A lot of tricks the pro kitchen uses effectively that would be handy info for the home cook.

  • One Swell Foop

    Why limit yourself to a single book? I think there would be a great market for well researched, academically approached breakdowns of regional cuisines/cooking styles. Think the food of the Outer Banks in the Carolinas, BBQ styles and techniques and the differences between states and sub-state regions (with the white BBQ sauce from North Alabama as a prime example), Pacific Northwest cuisine (with the chef at Castagna foraging for ingredients many others are unfamiliar with and the amazing access to fresh mushrooms available to those in Oregon and Washington).

    A breakdown of how history and culture have influenced the development of significant ingredients in places like New Orleans and Savannah could yield a book, or series of books, whose exploration of the cultural depth of a regional cuisine would nicely parallel the expression of the cultural depth within a restaurant like French Laundry and might make excellent primers for those unfamiliar with the foods of certain parts of the country (there are, after all, still people I meet who claim they don’t like grits because they’ve never had properly done cheese grits or shrimp and grits.)

  • Vince Memoli

    After a quick scan, many of these suggestions are great. The obvious choice to me is a short book on cocktails – you are probably 3/4 of the way there already I truly enjoy the vignettes and the suggestions

  • Phyllis Dickler

    Altough it may seem mundane…I would like to know good techniques for making pie crust. I have been baking for 50 years and still loose the design on my crimped pie crusts! Your blueberry pie is THE BEST!!!

  • Thomas Lockard

    I would like your insight on the cast iron skillet. No other piece of equipment seems to be more well loved or offer more kitchen utility throughout culinary history than the cast iron skillet. Sear your steak in a cast iron skillet. Roast your chicken in a cast iron skillet. Pan fry chicken in a cast iron skillet. I’ve seen several photos on this website with the ubiquitous cast iron skillet. Alton Brown’s very first Good Eats episode was a love song to the cast iron skillet. Alas, every time I use it, I seem to be harming the food more than helping it. I attempt to recreate Keller’s roast chicken on a bed of root vegetables–the vegetables on the bottom come out with a thick layer of char. I sear a steak–the steak is overdone, or there’s char. The only thing I’ve managed to do relatively well is pan fry fish. And then there’s the rust–I’ve reseasoned this skillet so many times I don’t know if it’s worth it. Well, a lodge cast iron skillet only goes about $20, so it’s worth it. I realize that some of my issues might have more to do with my inadequacies as a cook, or the limitations of the electric stove I have, but I just feel like I could be getting more out of this thing.

    So, I don’t know, maybe you could do something with that. The cast iron skillet.

  • Matt Lara

    You can count me in as one of the more ambitious home cooks, but also one of the more concerned cooks that people and kids don’t know the real taste of vegetables. So I’d like to see a volume on maximizing the flavor and enjoyment of vegetables besides the typical food network style of adding flavor (bacon, butter, cream, etc.). I’ve been seeing more tapas style dining popping up, so I would love to be able to take whatever looks good in the produce section, prep, and serve an incredible array of vegetable sides that make people go wow. Thanks!

  • Austin

    Would love to have your thoughts on meals out of leftovers. I read these great ideas about people turning their leftover Thanksgiving turkey into bolognese and pot pies. What about during the week? What about those of us who love to cook but have time and budget constraints? If I make a roasted chicken on Monday, what can I do with the leftovers to make something on Tuesday? If I make a brisket over the weekend, what can I turn those leftovers into during the week? And what those pork chops from last night? How can I turn that into a lunch at work the next day? Is it possible to set something up like in your “Ratios”? Thanks for all your inspiration! “Twenty” changed the way I approach cooking and enjoyment of food. Thanks!

  • Jackie @ The Beeroness

    I think (or, rather know) that there are a lot of forgotten, old world, techniques that people don’t even know that they should be learning, like salt roasting. These beautiful kitchen classics that got pushed aside (no) thanks to Sarah Lee and Swanson. I WOULD love for you to revive the Old World Cooking that we don’t even know that we should be doing.

  • Ed

    Fermentation would be interesting, or how about roasting a chicken?

  • Patrick

    Here’s a simple list:
    1. Sauces
    2. Vegetables and side dishes
    3. Cocktails
    4. Rustic breads and baking

  • Gerry

    I would love a book (even a Single) that taught me how to cook sous vide. I have a collection of almost 200 cookbooks which I read for pleasure and inspiration – plus the internet! But I’m the type of cook who loves to just cook! And experiment! But not follow recipes like a chemistry class lesson. While I have some gorgeous sous vide books (Keller’s “Under Pressure”, Achatz’s “Alinea”) they didn’t leave me confident I could cook sous vide successfully and safely without a recipe.

    Can you do that for me, Michael?

    Thanks, Gerry

  • SamWest

    How about ONE POT MEALS!? I’m sure you could breath a bit of fresh life into this category. I know its been done before, but not with the Ruhlman stamp! P.S. is what Bourdain wrote about you in Vegas true?!?! Couldn’t sleep for laughing after reading that particular chapter of Nasty Bits.

  • SamWest

    Oh and PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE write a ‘Friday Cocktail Hour’ book!!! Sorry for CAPS I’m a very passionate person.

  • Deb

    Sauces and gravy type stuff to pour over food. Especially pairing flavors and textures.

  • Laurajanine

    I like the idea of the sauce/emulsion book, the frying book, and the cocktail book. I think they all lend themselves to your conceptual/technique/short book idea. I love fermentation, and I’m sure your book would be great, but I’d rather you plugged the bajeezus out of Sandor Katz’s books instead.

  • Stephanie Struble

    I haven’t read through all the comments, so this is probably a duplicate, but a book on carving and removing bones at table, from food that is already cooked… a roast chicken or turkey, a prime rib, fish, lobster, rabbit, for example. Some of this is done by the host and some by the diner, but in general the art of approaching food with the correct implements and technique is dying. And this is a shame, for much food tastes better when it is cooked on the bone, but since bones intimidate, people opt for skinless and boneless. The book could have an interesting historical overview as well.

  • William Frost

    I second whoever said eggs. There seem to be a million ways to use them, and I recommend them to beginning home cooks as the gateway to learning all the techniques of the world, but even sometimes for me they are pretty darn finicky. (Like, when poaching.) I’d love to see what you can do with that.

  • Scott

    The bad nineties infomercials aside, how about a book on steaming? Dumplings, fish en papillote, things wrapped in banana leaves, etc. Take the technique back from steamer trays full of bland veggie mélanges.

  • Kirk

    Would love to learn more about how a chef thinks about composing a dish. In reading about another’s eating experience, one often reads something like “the heat of the chilies is tempered by the sweetness of the roasted onions” and the like. But is this how a professional chef thinks when he conceptualizes a new dish? It would be good to learn how one should think of a dish before executing it. There could be some explorations on fats, acids, temperatures and textures, or some complex sauces like a mole. It could explore some classic traditional recipes such as mapo tofu or cassulet and examine why it works, and then fly into “new” or “modern” dishes that include combinations people usually don’t think about. In whatever case, it could be a book to help cooks think more clearly, which was a part of your 20 techniques.

  • Joe Meredith

    Something related to fermentation would be terrific. I’ve recently started keeping (and regularly feeding) a sourdough starter and baking bread with it every day or two. Before this I assumed that making my own sourdough bread (and crumpets, and english muffins, etc.) was incredibly complicated and unattainable. But, it turns out, like many other things in the kitchen, it isn’t as complicated as I thought! This revelation reminds me of the first time I made mayonnaise using your instructions – wow, that was exciting! An exploration of simple fermentation-based methods like sourdough starters, yogurt, etc. would be very fun. Thanks!

  • john

    Sauces and gravies. Your writing is accessible and easy going. You could guide people easily through the basics. Although admittedly you have left a plethora of info in other books. All in one place; pure awesome. When I buy one of your books it feels like sitting down with an old friend.

  • Paleo Bon Rurgundy

    If Joel Salatin and you had a culinary baby, it would be me. Joel turned me onto real food, you turned me onto technique.

    I now eat an Ancestral Health Diet (i.e. a combo of Mark Sisson, Chris Kresser, the Price Pottenger Institute, Art DeVany, Robb Wolf, Amy Kubail, Dr. Amy Meyers, Dr. Mercola, Matt LaLonde, etc.)

    Furthermore I live near a Johnson and Wales (PVD). Since my culinary/real food birth I have taken over 20 cooking classes at JWU (leisurely through JWU’s Chef’s Choice). I’ve gone from cooking zero to (almost) a culinary hero.

    My nutritional and culinary journey are intertwined. Now that I understand real cooking techniques, using nutrient dense foods, I ditch recipes for flavor profiles and paleo/primal ingredient substitutions.

    For the record my first culinary class at JWU was in charcuterie. I was seeking a class in “Knife Skills” or “Culinary I”, but all classes were filled EXCEPT for one seat in “Charcuterie”. I dove in head first with no clue.

    That class lit a fire. So much so that a year later I had 10 JWU classes under my belt, I purchased your Charcuterie book, and I attended Pigstock 2013 where I killed, butchered a pig, practiced Eastern European charcuterie, and took home half a pig for self experiment.

    If you and your publisher want to capitalize in the culinary world, I HIGHLY recommend addressing the Ancestral Health and Scientific Community. This community is extremely food intelligent and most have disposal income. I find most paleo/primal cookbooks full of recipes but totally lacking technique. (Mind you I own “Ruhlman’s Twenty” and use rule #1 the most of all).

    Currently the voices of the Ancestral Health movement are grass roots and fringe voices. Search Amazon for this genre’s cookbooks… good, but not great. Why? No technique!

    Come on Mike, bring a powerful culinary voice to this scientifically proven way of eating. Bring it on home Ruhlman. There are great profits to be had. I know you can do it.


  1.  Twenty/Wood Spoon Giveaway(with butcher’s string attached: need your help!) | Foodies Love This