Photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman


It’s been a busy publishing year, both frustrating (for many, many months Amazon made it hard for people to buy my books, mine and thousands of others, due to a dispute with Hachette) and exciting. I don’t think I’ve ever published two books in the same year. The big book is Egg: A Culinary Exploration of the World’s Most Versatile Ingredient. (Chris Kimball of America’s Test Kitchen last week picked it as one of his favorites. Thanks Chris, and sorry no macarons! The egg is inexhaustible; I couldn’t put every form of meringue in there!) My publisher, Little, Brown, also created an absolutely killer interactive iBook based on the ingenious egg flow chart I created. Yes, ingenious. Ferran Adrià even said so!

The second book is Ruhlman’s How to Roast: Foolproof Techniques and Recipes for the Home Cook, a smaller book about one of our most important techniques, the first in a series of technique books.

Also: a quick reminder that I sign and personalize all my books on request. Just go to my books page, scroll to what you want, and click the “Buy a signed copy” button. We can guarantee before-Xmas arrival only if you order by the end of the day Monday, December 15; if you want a personalized copy, best to order this week. But please, and this is really important, tell me who you want the book signed to by clicking the WHAT THE NOTE INCLUDED SHOULD SAY button before you hit the “pay now” button.

More gift ideas for excellent books on cooking: Near to my heart is Ruhlman’s Twenty: 20 Techniques, 100 Recipes, a Cook’s Manifesto. All you really need to know to cook basically everything is twenty fundamentals. This is a book for people who want to feel more comfortable in the kitchen, understand how and why cooking works, inside the hood as it were (recipes are the body and trim, techniques are the engine). It’s also a book for those who like or need to cook and want to cook better. My wife, Donna, did all the photography for the three books above, and the food is not styled but shot as I made it so you can see what food can look like when you know the basics. I dislike overstylized food photography that makes home cooks feel like failures because “that’s not how it looked in the magazine.” That weekday coq au vin on page 52: our dinner! Ditto the lamb shank. That angel food cake? I couldn’t eat it because the kids got to it first!

The short-subject book The Book of Schmaltz: Love Song to a Forgotten Fat is also one I’m really proud of (Donna did all those pix as well).

Some other of my books include Salumi: The Italian Craft of Dry Curing and Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing.

Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking and The Elements of Cooking: Translating the Chef’s Craft for Every Kitchen also strive to simplify the work of cooking, because it is work, but it’s really, really important that we cook our own food. Our future in many ways depends on it.

My most beloved culinary nonfiction seems to be The Soul of a Chef: The Pursuit of Perfection, closely followed by The Making of a Chef: Mastering Heat at the Culinary Institute of America, followed by The Reach of a Chef: Professional Cooking in the Age of Celebrity, each book about differing aspects of the endlessly fascinating, brutal, elegant, metaphor-for-life professional kitchen.

And last but not least, a great stocking stuffer, is my essay-long memoir on How I Became a Food Writer Without Ever Wanting to Be One, a Kindle Single called The Main Dish, readable on any device via the Kindle app, including iPads and laptops. I wrote this because I wanted to. I mean, how did this all happen, and why? It’s important that we stop every now and then and answer these questions.

How did this happen and why?

The shopping links for the week:

© 2014 Michael Ruhlman. Photo © 2014 Donna Turner Ruhlman. All rights reserved.


12 Wonderful responses to “My Books for Cooks”

  • Heather Olsson

    The Soul of the Chef is one of my top ten favorite books because it ushered me into a world of food that I did not yet know I was interested in. I’m now a food junkie!
    Seeing two more books available from you just plain made me smile. I’m going to send some major hints to family members because I can’t think of anything better than to sit in my pjs in front of a warm fire on Christmas Day reading about eggs and roasting the locally raised meats sitting in my freezer.

  • Bob

    While I started with The Making of a Chef, it was Ratio that really changed my game in the kitchen. Instead of following a recipe for a fixed quantity of bread, the ratio allowed me to play/experiment with greater confidence.

    Ratio and Twenty are my two ‘recommended’ titles for people wanting to kick things up a notch.

  • James O.

    Michael; Don’t sell yourself short on your non-culinary books. They’re good gifts (and better reading), too! I was gifted a copy of your “House” memoir during the buying process of our house, and read it during the renovation. (It’s funny how common certain aspects of living with- and during- restoration can be among diverse house situations — ours is an 1862 Greek Revival in Western New York just inland from Lake Erie). It’s a fantastic read, and I think it really makes the case for understanding why suburbanites can go for years without speaking with — or even knowing — their own neighbors. And here I was expecting it to be an edited journal documenting the buying and renovation process.

    Of course, it’s much more than just that (and more than a short summary provides). And I expect to pick up either “Boys Themselves” or “Wooden Boats” after the new year (probably ‘Boys’).

  • Steve Irby

    Ever think of writing a sauce book? Start with the mother sauces and branch out from there. Yes, Id buy it.

  • Willie

    So far I have two of your books on the bookshelf and (Charcuterie and Ration) I both are very good! I would have liked to see a Biltong recipe in Charcuterie!

  • Brad

    I fell in love, hard, with the first Charcuterie book, especially after attending the first PigStock in Traverse City and meeting Brian Polcyn.

    When the second edition came out I wasn’t sure if I needed to upgrade – are there important recipe changes or additions or errata that make buying the second edition worthwhile? Other than having fewer pages smeared with pork fat thumbprints?

  • Amanda

    So Michael, what are the other books in your technique series? I have Roast, Braise is coming out next, but what are the other two?


  • Darcie

    I’m making my holiday wish list right now. Are any of your apps/ibooks available for Android?

  • Kellie

    Ruhlman’s Twenty = Game Changer! Best gift you can give anyone in your life that loves to cook.


  1.  Holiday Cookbook Gift Suggestions | Michael Ruhlman