Reddit Reddit reviews Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking

We found 75 Reddit comments about Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking. Here are the top ones, ranked by their Reddit score.

Culinary Arts & Techniques
Cookbooks, Food & Wine
Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking
Ratio The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking
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75 Reddit comments about Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking:

u/ZerothLaw · 530 pointsr/AskReddit

There is a lot of technique advice in here, which is all well and good. But these are all really basic things.
First, buy these two books:


Cooking is chemistry and art. It is chemistry not just in mixing things, but in how meat is cooked, and veggies brown. Those two books present the science of cooking, basic techniques, as well as some very advanced techniques. For the reddit crowd, they're perfect.

Learn what temperatures oils smoke at. (Smoke means turn dark and start smoking... oil at this point tastes nasty and makes whatever you're cooking in it disgusting.)
Learn how much fat by weight is in butter, margarine, sour cream, cream cheese, etc. Learn how much moisture is in each. These factors affect how they affect your recipe. So if you replace them, you will have different results.

A key example of this is cookies.
A very basic cookie recipe is 1 part sugar: 2 parts fat: 3 parts flour.
So this means 1 tablespoon of sugar to two tablespoons of butter to three tablespoons of flour. Adjusting this ratio in minute ways produces dramatically different cookies.

Add a bit more fat(in poppyseeds which are 75% fat by volume, and the fat renders out in the oven...) and the cookies become creamier.

Add some more flour, and they become stiffer.

Add more sugar and they become gooey.

Change the butter to lard, and it will be like increasing the fat.

Spices are volatile and under heat, they break down. So for stuff that is cooked for a long time, add the spices at the very end of the cook time.

Understand the physics of heating things. When you apply heat from the outside in, this creates a heat gradient. The length of time you apply the heat is how the meat becomes cooked. This is how you can burn a steak and still have it be raw in the center. It takes time for that heat to move, especially in thick steaks.

Learn the science behind techniques, and you will become a better cook. For example, to make a clear carrot-based stock, don't expose it to sunlight. Or, duck confit: the fat molecules are too big to get into the meat so all you're really doing is dry-cooking the meat with an efficient heat conductor. Cartilage and connective tissue turn to gelatin under heat and moisture. Absent moisture, the connective tissue becomes brittle.

My favorite recipe I made using science I learned:
Three day roast beef or: Pulled Beef.
-Marinate the roast in a 1:3 ratio of acids and oils. Only hot spices will be absorbed by the meat at this point, like pepper or garlic. Onion is too delicate. Do this for 24 hours in the fridge.

-Braise for another 8 hours on low in low-salt beef stock. Add some wine, shallots, carrots, garlic, and other spices. I like using dry mustard at this point for an added accent to the meat.

-Let the roast cool and chill in the fridge overnight. Reserve and chill the braising stock for gravy.

-Preheat oven to 300f

-Roast the beef for about 3-4 hours or until the center is hot.

-The braising stock will now have solidified lumps of beef fat floating on top. Use these with an equal amount of flour to make a basic roux. Brown the roux on medium, and add the braising stock on high, stirring vigorously. Add as much or as little stock as you need to the gravy. The gravy will thicken as the water boils off.

-Serve with side dishes such as roasted potatoes in thyme and rosemary.

What this does is produces fully cooked and flavourful beef, which retains its shape(isn't soggy), but is never tough to chew. This is because the cartilage has become gelatin, and chilling it overnight sets the gelatin. The gelatin helps the beef hold its shape, but is significantly less chewy than the original connective tissue.
Learn how to make basic sauces. Every sauce has as its base, a roux. Roux is basically a mixture of flour and oil, and browned or not browned. Add your desired liquid (1 tablespoon of flour = 1 cup of liquid) and stir.

Dairy will form a 'scum' if you heat at too high of a temperature. This is the origin of the word 'scum'. So heat it at low temperatures, with lots of stirring.

Always sear your meat on a very hot pan before you roast or broil your meat. This produces thousands of amazingly tasting chemicals that will add some flavour to your end result.

You rest your meat because its like a vessel of water under pressure. Heat = pressure. As the pressure lets off, the juices settle and won't squirt out as soon as you cut the meat. This ensures your meat will stay moist and flavourful.


u/rageear · 44 pointsr/Cooking

It is from a book called "Ratio" by Michael Ruhlman.

u/svel · 21 pointsr/Cooking

also, Michael Ruhlman's Ratio

u/redditho24602 · 15 pointsr/Cooking

When I started out, I relied most of the Fannie Farmer cookbook, to be honest, but something like The Joy of Cooking, Bittman's How To Cook Everything or Alton Brown's I'm Just Here for the Food would be good, too. Joy is classic, simple recipes with clear instructions, aimed at beginners. Brown is excellent at explaining the science behind why reciepes work the way they do. Bittman emphasizes showing a technique, then showing lots of simple variations, allowing you to learn a skill and then apply it to different ingredients.

You might also take a look at Rhulman's Ratio --- for a certain sort of personaility, that book can be like a lightbulb going off. It's all about the common principles that underlay many sorts of recipes. Some people find it too abstract, especially if they're just starting (most actual recipes break his rules a little, one way or another), but if you're more of an abstract logical thinker it can be quite helpful.

But cooking in general can be quite diffucult to pick up from books --- techniques that are quite simple to demonstrate can be super difficult to describe. Youtube/the internet can be your friend, here --- Jacques Pepin, America's Test Kitchen, and Good Eats are all good at demonstrating and explaining technique. Check out the Food Wishes youtube channel, too --- Chef John is a former culinary instructor, and he demostrates a lot of classic techniques in the reciepes he does.

At the end of the day though, cooking's like Carnigie Hall. Think of stuff you like to eat, find a recipe for that stuff, and just go for it. If you start off making things you know and like, then it will be easier to tell if you're getting it right as you go along, and that I think is the most crucial and most difficult part of becoming a skilled cook --- being able to tell when something's ready vs. when it needs 5 more minutes, being able to tell if the batter looks right before you cook it, if something needs more seasoning and if so what kind. All that's mostly a karate kid, wax on, wax off thing --- you just got to keep making stuff in order to have the experience to tell when something's right.

u/charnobyl · 14 pointsr/AskCulinary

I personally like books by Ruhlman like techniques or ratio they aren't too chefy for me and are easy to read.

u/dsarma · 14 pointsr/AskCulinary

I'm a very visual learner, so I got good by watching Julia Child. She regularly peppers her shows with advice about how to get good at something, and how to customise a recipe when things go wrong, or when you want to switch things up a bit. She's got a decidedly French leaning, but French food is a very good place to start anyway. The full set of DVDs of The French Chef can get had for about $50 from ebay.

There's an episode where she was featuring four recipes for potatoes. She was trying to make a potato cake type of thing. She'd added plenty of butter to the pan, and threw in the boiled lightly crushed potatoes. She didn't let it set for a very long time, but tried to flip the whole thing over in one piece. Half of it ended up on the stove. Without skipping a beat, she scooped it off the stove, threw it back in the pan, and said the iconic line "When you're alone in the kitchen, who's going to see?" She then proceeded to dump it into a dish, throw in a load of cream and a few cubes of cheese, and instructed you to let it hang out under the broiler so that it gets bubbly and crisped up. She mentioned that you shouldn't ever apologise for how something came out, and just carry on as if that new thing is what you'd intended all along.

Whenever she had the ability to do so, she'd show you how to do something from scratch, including how to filet a fish, how to separate out a whole chicken, and how to break down larger steaks into serving sized portions. And, because you're watching her do it all for you, you get an idea of what it is you're looking for, step by step.

Another great resource (although their recipes are white, and tend towards the bland) is America's Test Kitchen's TV Show cookbook. On the show itself, they don't go into technique very much, but they certainly do so in the book. There are large, colourful pictures about how each step of the cooking process should look, and hundreds of recipes to try out. They thoroughly test out each recipe repeatedly, using tools that the average home cook will have access to, and taste test the results. It's an excellent resource to have on hand. You can generally find it used for about $20.

If you're curious to try out baking your own bread, I cannot highly recommend enough Bread by Eric Treuille.

It has HUGE full colour photos of the final product, and lots of foundational advice about the art of baking bread. They discuss various flours, how to combine them into an existing recipe, and the effects they have on the final loaf. It's one that I turn to whenever I have a craving for home made bread, and it's never lead me wrong.

If you want SOLID advice about how to quickly build up your cooking repertoire, Mike Ruhlman's Ratio is your best bet.

He realised that most basic recipes can be broken down into ratios, so that if you need to scale up or scale down, you can do so very quickly. His technique to teach you how to get comfortable with ratios is very good.

Another EXCELLENT place to start learning to build your own recipes is Julia's Kitchen Wisdom.

She gives some basic techniques on foundational recipes, and then tells you how to tweak the recipes to work with whatever you've got on hand. It's less a by the books recipe compendium, and more of a philosophical understanding of how recipes work, and what flavours should go together.

Speaking of flavour. Get The Flavour Bible by Karen Page.

There are hundreds of ingredients, and the things that go well with them. Instead of giving you a recipe, it gives you ideas of things to combine together, so that they go together in delicious ways.

If you are going to get a ruler, go ahead and get a kitchen ruler:

It's small, but it has a TON of great information on it. Very useful to gauge whether or not you're hitting your marks for whatever size you're aiming for.

u/Groverdrive · 13 pointsr/Cooking

Ratio is the book about this that many cooks/bakers I know recommend. Developing your taste is just a matter of experience and paying attention. Start by making easy things with a few ingredients you like from scratch and get more complicated from there.

u/glinsvad · 11 pointsr/AskCulinary

Also known as cooking by ratios. Ruhlman's ratios comes highly recommended.

u/fesnying · 11 pointsr/cookingforbeginners

Someone I know is a really good cook and an avid baker, so when I was lamenting my inability to cook (without recipes), he recommend three books: Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking,
The Laws of Cooking: And How to Break Them, and especially Craig Claiborne's Kitchen Primer. :) I only have the last one thus far, but it's great, and I'm hoping to get the others soon.

u/FuriousGeorgeGM · 10 pointsr/Cooking

I usually only use cookbooks that are also textbooks for culinary art students. The CIA has a textbook that is phenomenal. I used to own a textbook from the western culinary institute in Portland, which is now a cordon bleu school and I dont know what they use. Those books will teach you the basics of fine cooking. Ratio is also a great book because it gives you the tools to create your own recipes using what real culinary professionals use: ratios of basic ingredients to create the desired dish.

But the creme de la creme of culinary arts books is this crazy encyclopedia of ingredients called On food and cooking: the science and lore of the kitchen. It is invaluable. It should not be the first book you buy (if youre a newbie) but it should be your most well thumbed.

For a sauce pan what you want is something with straight sides. Sautee pans have are a good substitute, but often have bases that have too wide a diameter for perfect sauces. Fine saucepots are made of copper for even heat transfer. Stainless steel is also a good substitute. What you have there is something of a hybrid between a skillet and a saucepot. Its more like a chicken fryer or something. At the restaurant we use stainless steel skillets for absolutely everything to order: sauces, fried oysters, what have you. But when you get down to the finest you need to fine a real saucepot: 2-3 qts will do, straight sides, made of copper. teach a man to fish

I dont really know how to teach you the varied tricks and such. It is something that I pick up by listening to the varied cooks and chefs I work with. What I would advise you is to watch cooking shows and read recipes and pay a lot of attention to what they are doing. Half of the things I know I dont know why I do them, just that they produce superior results. Or, consequently I would have a hot pan thrown at me if I did not do them. And I mean these are just ridiculous nuances of cooking. I was reading The Art of French Cooking and learned that you should not mix your egg yolks and sugar too early when making creme brulee because it will produce and inferior cooking and look like it has become curdled. That is a drop in the bucket to perfect creme brulee making, but it is part of the process.

I wish I could be more help, but the best advice I could give you to become the cook you want to be is go to school. Or barring that (it is a ridiculous expense) get a job cooking. Neither of those things are very efficient, but it is the best way to learn those little things.

u/CaptaiinCrunch · 9 pointsr/Cooking
u/jecahn · 9 pointsr/AskCulinary

This is going to be the opposite of what you want to hear. But, you asked for it and I respect that. I think that there's no substitute for going about this old school and traditionally. The good news is that you can mostly do this for yourself, by yourself.

If you're disinclined (due to time or for another reason) to enroll in a culinary program get yourself either The Professional Chef or Martha Stewart's Cooking School

I know what you're thinking, "Martha Stewart? What am I? A housewife from Iowa?" Fuck that. I've been fortunate to have met and worked with Martha Stewart she's smart enough to know what she doesn't know and that particular book was actually written by a CIA alum and very closely follows the first year or so that you'd get in a program like that. It starts with knife work and then moves on to stocks and sauces. This particular book has actually been criticized as being too advance for people who have no idea what they're doing so, despite appearances, it may be perfect for you. If you want to feel more pro and go a little deeper, get the CIA text but know that it's more or less the same info and frankly, the pictures in the MSO book are really great. Plus, it looks like Amazon has them used for $6 bucks.

These resources will show you HOW to do what you want and they follow a specific, traditional track for a reason. Each thing that you learn builds on the next. You learn how to use your knife. Then, you practice your knife work while you make stocks. Then, you start to learn sauces in which to use your stocks. Etc. Etc. Etc. Almost like building flavors... It's all part of the discipline and you'll take that attention to detail into the kitchen with you and THAT'S what makes great food.

Then, get either Culinary Artistry or The Flavor Bible (Both by Page and Dornenburg. Also consider Ruhlman's Ratio (a colleague of mine won "Chopped" because she memorized all the dessert ratios in that book) and Segnit's Flavor Thesaurus. These will give you the "where" on building flavors and help you to start to express yourself creatively as you start to get your mechanics and fundamentals down.

Now, I know you want the fancy science stuff so that you can throw around smarty pants things about pH and phase transitions and heat transfer. So...go get Harold McGee's On Food and Cooking THAT is the bible. When the people who run the Ferran Adria class at Harvard have a question, it's not Myhrvold that they call up, it's Harold McGee. While Modernist Cuisine always has a long, exciting complicated solution to a problem I didn't even know I had, when I really want to know what the fuck is going on, I consult McGee and you will too, once you dig in.

Another one to consider which does a great job is the America's Test Kitchen Science of Good Cooking this will give you the fundamental "why's" or what's happening in practical situations and provides useful examples to see it for yourself.

Honestly, if someone came to me and asked if they should get MC or McGee and The Science of Good Cooking and could only pick one and never have the other, I'd recommend the McGee / ATK combo everyday of the week and twice on Tuesdays.

Good luck, dude. Go tear it up!

u/encogneeto · 9 pointsr/Cooking


The Flavor Bible



are great resources if you want to start cooking like this.

u/chocolatefishy · 6 pointsr/AskCulinary

Ratio by Michael Ruhlman ( - My absolute favorite at home cook book, hits everything you're looking for I think. Has baking and cooking recipes

Baking by Hand ( - More technically complicated, but still great. One of my go to books when I'm looking to learn something new. Mostly breads, but some pastries too

How to Cook Everything (Vegetarian) by Mark Bittman ( - this is the dark horse, you'd be surprised how much he includes in these books. Pizza dough recipe is the bomb.

u/FoxRedYellaJack · 5 pointsr/Cooking

Michael Ruhlman’s Ratio is truly freeing - the essential formulas you need to know as a basis for really creative cooking.

u/eatupkitchen · 5 pointsr/AskCulinary

I’ll recommend three books that have upped my research as a home cook; The Professional Chef by CIA, Techniques by Jacques Pepin, and Ratio by Michael Ruhlman.

Of course there are hundreds of books but I often reference these in particular for education.

u/Kibology · 5 pointsr/Cooking

McGee's "On Food and Cooking" can get a bit dry and technical, but man is it encyclopedic. If you ever find yourself saying, "I wonder why water chestnuts stay crunchy when cooked?" that's where you could look it up. It has from a paragraph to multiple pages about every ingredient you can think of.

Ruhlman's "Ratio" is excellent for understanding the structural properties of ingredients (it mostly concerns baked goods and sauces) -- it doesn't cover flavors so much as techniques for achieving different textures by varying the ratios of ingredients.

u/Nerdlinger · 4 pointsr/SubredditDrama

Anyone who tries to present baking as a highly complex chemistry experiment with the need for highly calibrated measuring devices and incredible precision needs to be beaten with a copy of Michael Ruhlman's Ratio.

It can be tricky, but in general it's not.

u/Erinaceous · 4 pointsr/slatestarcodex

It might be just a different sensibility but I find cooking from principles and ratios far more useful than any cookbook. For example the salt fat acid heat approach is more like teaching you to fish while a recipe is giving you fish. Ratio cooking and baking is the same idea except you can apply it to the more exact practices of baking (or even home job chemistry really). When you know that pound cake is 1:1:1 flour:fat:sugar you can pretty much substitute anything you have around into that ratio and make something tasty. (i should say as a caveat i haven't read these books; they just express an approach to cooking that I take)

Mostly these kinds of books give you the principles to tap into the craft, creativity and artistry of cooking while recipes are specific. It's sort of like the difference between agile and cascade project management styles.

u/JimmyPellen · 3 pointsr/Cooking

think of it as buying a reference book.

And pick up a copy of Ratio while you're at it. It helps you think of the WHY things work in cooking. Helps you get creative when you need to or when you're bored and want to try something different.

u/frizbplaya · 3 pointsr/AskCulinary

There's a cookbook called ratio that talks about ratios of inredients to get good flavors.

u/silkymike · 3 pointsr/malefashionadvice

this one? i might check it out next, thanks.

i was between this and Bread Bakers Apprentice but i read Forkish's pizza book and like his approach on starting out.

u/yaddyadd · 3 pointsr/de

> Ratio von Michael Ruhlman
hier der Link zu den Rezensionen

> Bryant Terry meintest Du dies?


u/pl213 · 3 pointsr/Cooking

James Peterson's Cooking. It has lots of good recipes and not just the how, but the why. Also, How to Cook Without a Book and Ratio to learn how to improvise.

u/Acute_Procrastinosis · 3 pointsr/slowcooking


Michael Ruhlman’s groundbreaking New York Times bestseller takes us to the very “truth” of cooking: it is not about recipes but rather about basic ratios and fundamental techniques that makes all food come together, simply.

When you know a culinary ratio, it’s not like knowing a single recipe, it’s instantly knowing a thousand. "

u/lostereadamy · 3 pointsr/recipes

This may be what you are looking for. I've heard good things, and I have two of his other books, which I've found pretty useful.

u/chileseco · 3 pointsr/Cooking

For using your stock this time, I'd make something simple that shows of the stock's flavor without too many overpowering flavors (i.e. no coconut milk, tomato soup, etc). Something like Alice Waters' chicken noodle soup.

Other stock advice:

Overnight is not necessarily too long, but it's also not really necessary. I give my stock 3-4 hours on the stove at a bare simmer (a bubble breaking the surface every few seconds) and it's always rich and delicious.

I avoid dried herbs - they tend to have a really strong flavor that you don't need in your stock. If it's a flavor you want for a soup later, just add it when you make the soup. A few fresh parsley sprigs are nice, though.

I like to keep stock a blank slate: just carrot, celery, onion, and bay leaves for aromatics.

I generally rely on Michael Ruhlman's Ratio for stock technique. The game changer for me was his advice to add vegetables only for the last hour or so of cooking. After that, they break down and their flavor gets muddy.

Edited to add: of course, the most important stock advice: NEVER LET IT BOIL, and NEVER STIR. Leave it alone!

u/Yolay_Ole · 3 pointsr/mindcrack

I haven't. I've got a bunch of science-y cookbooks.

Edit: Here is the best book I've found. It's a really heavy read, though: On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen

My other favorite, go to book is America's Test Kitchen Best American Classics. I also do recipe testing for ATK - regular recipes and gluten free.

Oh, and don't forget Michael Ruhlman's Ratio:The Simple Codes Behind The Craft of Everyday Cooking. This is the most amazing book. It's short and to the point as well. You begin to understand how a simple tweak to a recipe can create an entirely different dish.

I love how a great Mindcrack thread became a cooking thread. My 2 favorite things in life.

u/Muffin008 · 3 pointsr/Cooking

The book Ratio by Michael Ruhlman is probably your best bet. Although it's not a quick cheat sheet, it explains exactly what you're looking for.

I've been baking for about 10 years so if you have any specific questions, feel free to ask and I'll see if I can help!

Edit: a word

u/danprime · 2 pointsr/Baking

You should check out Ruhlman's Ratio book ( ). It goes through the base ratios of quickbreads like cupcakes and muffins, or the basic cookie recipe in terms of proportioms flour, fat, and liquid. Once you learn the basic he does how to modify so then you can create your own. Eg once you understand the fundamental muffin recipe, then how to modify it for blueberry.

Check it out from your local library if you want to test it out before buying. It doesn't have a lot of pictures but it's packed with information.

u/GBJI · 2 pointsr/Quebec

Un des livres que j'utilise le plus souvent c'est "Ratio" de Michael Ruhlman.

Ce livre te donne les proportions d'aliments pour à peu près toutes les recettes de base.

Puisque ce sont des ratio, au lieu de seulement des quantités précises, ça permet de facilement moduler la quantité. De plus, chaque ratio de base est présenté avec des variations, ce qui est très inspirant.

bémols : en noir et blanc, presque pas d'illustrations, et en anglais seulement quand je me le suis procuré il y a de cela quelques années.

u/rusty0123 · 2 pointsr/EatCheapAndHealthy

I'm not a great cook, but this is exactly what fascinates me about cooking.

I came across a book a few years ago, Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking. Completely changed the way I look at food.

I still have problems with spices. Knowing the flavors, how they interact with each other, and the right amount to use.

As a side note: After many years of not keeping lard, I do now. It's amazing how easy making a pie crust can be, and the taste is so much better than pre-made. I'm really into savory pies at the moment. Been doing pot pies for a while, and just ventured into hand pies. And biscuits. And pancakes. So many different pancakes. Been playing with butter/lard substitution and at what point it impacts flavor.

And another side note: I used to have a good collection of old cookbooks. Not depression era, but self-published fund-raiser type cookbooks where you get all Grandmother's Old Recipes. Those are some interesting recipes. And they all turn out awesome. Unfortunately, I lost a whole box of them during my last move. I would love to replace them.

u/tallguy744 · 2 pointsr/INTP

First off, for all the "screw the recipe" folks, let me recommend Ratio - I love the book, and it helped quite a bit with my desire to not worry about what the recipe says.

I love cooking and baking, and often do it as stress relief, or just to take up time. It has long been one of my obsessions, and I suspect part of the reason why is because it's so difficult to get a competent level in all areas of cooking. Each new dish is another skill that needs mastering, and so it has held my interest for a long time.

I'll follow a recipe the first time I make something. After that, I go by memory, or feel.

u/aelios · 2 pointsr/pics

You should read this book about cooking Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking.

He breaks down recipes into their most basic forms, explains why the ingredients are there & how preparation changes the outcome, and then gives recipes on how to build up from the bare-bone basics with several variations.


pie dough

  • 3 parts flour
  • 1 part liquid
  • 2 parts fat

    biscuit dough

  • 3 parts flour
  • 2 parts liquid
  • 1 parts fat

    cookie dough

  • 3 parts flour
  • 1 part sugar
  • 2 parts fat

    A pound cake is the same ratio of ingredients as a sponge cake, just the order they are mixed is different.

    Pound cake

    1 part butter:1 part sugar:1 part egg:1 part flour Cream the butter & sugar first.

    Sponge cake

    1 part egg:1 part sugar:1 part flour:1 part butter Beat the eggs & sugar first.

    (not associated with the book in any way, just a fan of the way it explains things.)
u/MiPona · 2 pointsr/Cooking

My 10 Commandments:

  1. Keep it simple. Try to highlight one and only one "ingredient" in every dish. Although the ingredient may actually be a sauce, a mix, or even a technique.

  2. Classics are classics for a reason.

  3. There are 5 basic flavors: salty, umami, sweet, sour, and bitter. Shoot for at least a strong note of one and a lighter note of another. Never use umami without salt.

  4. To extend 3: every kitchen should have salt, butter, eggs, and either vinegar or a citrus juice on hand. Even if you think you're using enough of these, you probably aren't. Olive oil is good for you, use more of it as well.

  5. For the busy, chronically ill, disabled, and lazy: Don't be afraid to cook up a big mess of a single ingredient and keep it on hand. I try to keep a tub of unseasoned white rice and some cooked chicken fajita meat on hand at all times. Even when you're sick, you can do something with them.

  6. Don't confuse prep time with total cooking time. Just because something is going to take an hour or more to cook doesn't mean you're going to be standing beside the stove the whole time. If it takes 3 minutes to get it ready for the microwave or the oven, it's the same 3 minutes. There's more truth to the statement "I wasn't feeling very well, so I just roasted a chicken" than you might imagine.

  7. Avoid unitaskers, both gadget-wise and ingredient wise. Only spend money on things you'll use often and in a lot of different ways.

  8. Exception to 7: Items that do one thing extremely well, and you need that thing one very often. My beloved microwave rice cooker is only good for cooking rice, but it's excellent at it and I use it constantly because once the rice is cooked I can just put the whole thing in the fridge as storage.

  9. You do not, in fact, need a knife collection. You need one large workhorse knife (chef's, santoku, or cleaver), and either a paring knife, a utility knife, or both. If you find you actually need another type of knife later you can buy a high-quality single. Don't feel you have to spend a lot of money on your knives, either. As long as it holds an edge and feels comfortable in your hand, you're fine.

  10. Don't worry about cookbooks. Instead, buy books on cooking. My favorites are Ratio and Ruhlman's 20. If you like them, there will eventually be content in /r/CultOfRuhlman
u/MrBoonio · 2 pointsr/london
u/NoraTC · 2 pointsr/Cooking

My grandmothers, but my current footnote is Ruhlman. At 61 with decades of serious cooking under my belt, I fiddle with all sorts of stuff, including his ratios, but they are a reliable touchstone and starting point. I think everyone who enjoys cooking should know basic ratios. It is like mixing blue and yellow to make green - a tool for creativity.

u/whatmepolo · 2 pointsr/food

How to cook everything, and Ratio are great first cookbooks, covers equipment, theory, and basic recipes.

Alton Brown's old show Good Eats is decent too if you can handle the grainy video quality of the feeds out there.

u/Bigfatchef · 2 pointsr/KitchenConfidential



The Bread Bakers Apprentice

Are the two I"m always pulling down off my shelf to look at besides the Flavor Bible.

u/quietbirds · 2 pointsr/AskBaking

Highly recommend this book!

u/asflores · 2 pointsr/food

Of course. I would encourage anyone that is interested to bake bread. My usual first suggestion is to get a digital scale, only because before I made the purchase I absolutely hated baking, as nothing was ever consistent. It's also useful for cooking with ratios a la Ruhlman.

u/mcs80 · 2 pointsr/Cooking

A little spendy, but I really like this one: Essentials of Professional Cooking

Not sure how it compares to others mentioned in this thread, though. It's more of a text book of techniques & standard practices.

I'd also grab a copy of Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking

u/lemon_melon · 2 pointsr/TumblrInAction

I love Budget Bytes for her affordable, family-sized recipes. Most of her dishes are vegetarian because it's just cheaper than buying meat. Also, investing in a book like The Flavor Bible, Herbs and Spices, The Flavor Thesaurus, or Ratio can really help someone learning.

u/queerMTFchicago · 2 pointsr/IWantToLearn

Two more great books on top of the many already recommended here. (Food lab has both of my thumbs up).

RATIO - Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking


HOW TO READ A FRENCH FRY - How to Read a French Fry: and Other Stories of Intriguing Kitchen Science

u/Scratchyscratch · 1 pointr/AskReddit

The primary advantage of a bread maker is the timer.

You can bypass this cost if you're willing to invest minimal time and effort.

Read Ratio by Michael Ruhlman. He does a great job of simplifying bread. His basic recipe of 5 parts flour, 3 parts water, a little salt a little yeast, and Time, is a very easy and very tasty recipe.

u/Ol_beans · 1 pointr/Cooking
u/mattgrieser · 1 pointr/Coffee

I recommend this one: My Weigh KD 8000 Digital Weighing Scale
A really great scale. It allows percentage weights which is great for ratio recipes.
See also: Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking

u/odarkshineo · 1 pointr/Cooking
u/crookedplatipus · 1 pointr/Chefit

Ratio was an eye-opener as far as how I thought of recipe structure.

u/sneef22 · 1 pointr/Random_Acts_Of_Amazon

As you have some cooking things on your list, I thought you might like this cookbook. It's one that I've been wanting for a long time - it breaks down cooking into ratios, so that you can learn to develop your own recipes. It's come very highly recommended!

u/Mrs_Matty · 1 pointr/AskCulinary
u/oliefan37 · 1 pointr/KitchenConfidential

Ratio is an interesting read. It's not perfect, but it does provide a solid foundation for creating your own recipes.

u/Lemina · 1 pointr/AskCulinary

I'm not sure if it's exactly what you're looking for, but I enjoyed Ratio:

It doesn't really focus on flavors, but it does explain why certain ingredients are used in specific ratios to create certain types of food, e.g. bread, cookies, stocks, sauces, custards. I really enjoyed it.

u/kumquatqueen · 1 pointr/food

Is This The book you're referring to? I'm big into baking, and I want to make sure I'm looking at the right book.

u/BatmansUglyCousin · 1 pointr/Cooking

Check out "Ratio" by Michael Ruhlman.

u/disclown · 1 pointr/Cooking

You might like this cookbook:


He shows you the base ratios of ingredients and explains why they are what they are and then provides a few recipes for each to show how the individual dishes are variations on that base ratio.

u/Kitae · 1 pointr/AskCulinary

It's a pretty basic recipe. Try the one in this book! It's bulletproof works every time. Also this is just an incredible book...Buy it now and thank me later ;)

u/killfirejack · 1 pointr/Cooking

Gastronomique is an incredible resource for all pretty much anything edible.

Harold McGee's On Food and Cooking is also a great resource but is more like a text book than a cook book.

The Ideas in Food books are pretty good too.

I guess I've been leaning more towards "educational" type reading lately (opposed to recipe tomes). Ratio is also very good. Does reddit like Ruhlman?

u/harrellj · 1 pointr/LifeProTips

And knowledge from a book like Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking you can really expand what you can do.

u/ksoviero · 1 pointr/Chefit

I'm not sure if it's the same thing, but I have this book:

Some of it seems outright wrong, but most of it is still a good reference.

u/drtwist · 1 pointr/AskReddit

have you read Ratio ? it's totally eye opening.

u/Poprawks · 1 pointr/EatCheapAndHealthy

This. The most important thing about any recipe is that it is usually built upon several widely accepted ratios of certain ingredients (i.e. a vinaigrette is typical 1:3 acid to fat). This book is my bible and I've bought a copy for every kitchen I've worked in (it's like $8). Spend a couple of months with this and you'll be building your own recipes in no time.

u/ereandir · 1 pointr/secretsanta

This book is pretty neat. :)

u/dannyr · 1 pointr/Cooking

Without "Ratio" - your book collection isn't complete. Michael Ruhlman makes things seem easy....

u/theboylilikoi · 1 pointr/Random_Acts_Of_Amazon

4! :) Any item on my wishlists under $20 is equally wanted, but I guess I will link a random one anyways!

I'd love this book!

u/slow_one · 1 pointr/rva

no lie, The Ratio pie crust is solid.

u/McDumplestein · 1 pointr/AskMen
  1. Eat (and learn about) what you enjoy

    If you go searching for learn-how-to-cook tutorials and get stuck making some boring ass chicken recipe but don't even like chicken, you'll make the food correctly but have trouble enjoying the results. It's homework. You won't last making food you don't like.

    To stay interested, follow the foods you already love.

    For me, it was pasta. I went nuts. My first year or so learning, I was making an insane amount of pasta and was always stoked to eat the results, even if they sucked.

  2. Learn from someone who actually cooks.

    Too many recipes have one-off ingredients you'll never use again. You want to learn how you can improve your food with what you already have (i.e. Don't worry about the imported, smoked, Himalayan pink salt yet).

    A person who understands food will give you so much more than a checklist and directions can. Understanding trumps a recipe every time. And you'd be surprised how little you need to make great food. A good cook knows how to do this.

    I was really fortunate to have a roommate who's Italian grandma was an amazing cook. He knew his shit. He would coach and correct everything I was doing with my horrible attempts to make pasta. It was fun and quickly showed me how to improve--all with no recipes. It showed me you can taste as you go.

  3. Most cookbooks are shit for learning

    Today there a more books telling you what to do, and less telling you why you do it. The latter is the key.

    These two books really opened a lot for me regarding understanding food and how to make it better:

    I'm Just Here For The Food: Food + Heat = Cooking

    Cooking (James Peterson)

    Honorable mention:

    Ratios: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking

    Cheers, and best of luck. Now go eat!

    Also Good Eats and Mind of A Chef are amazing shows to watch. We are so visual nowdays.
u/generalbaguette · 0 pointsr/Fitness

You are funny. You get the knowledge to cook by learning from others---e.g. your mother, friends or books---and by experimenting. Strict recipes are one of the worst ways, because you won't learn the background.

And the test for finding if your food is good or not for you, is just tasting it. If you need an external standard, go to a restaurant of your choice (or visit a friend who can cook), and compare to their taste.

The book `Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking' ( makes a similar argument. And it's written by someone who went to a culinary school. He argues that you should know the basic ratios that make recipes tick (E.g. bread dough is around 5 parts flour to 3 parts water plus 2% (of flour) salt. All parts in weight, not volume.), and then experiment on your own.