Food Lab_978-0-393-08108-4_frame

I typically get sent what must be hundreds of pounds of cookbooks in the fall and so have a fair idea of the landscape of new books. Owing to an uncommon amount of travel, I haven’t had the opportunity this year. But I was sent one book to blurb (“say nice things about”) that goes above and beyond any cookbook I’ve seen since Nathan Myrhvold and company’s Modernist Cuisine. That book is The Food Lab, by Kenji López-Alt, Managing Culinary Director of Serious Eats, named for his cooking column there. That column first appeared in 2009. Over the next half-decade, this uber food geek tackled all kinds of cooking experiments to determine the very best way to cook, say, eggs. Kenji has combined knowledge gleaned over half a decade, reshaping it and putting all this knowledge, all this work, Read On »

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MR-xmas-books-@1020

I would of course be remiss in the eyes of my venerable publishers if I did not recommend my own books as being splendid gift ideas for the holidays. So herewith my not-so-humble descriptions of some of the books I’m most proud of. My favorite and most useful cookbook, especially for young cooks, home cooks who want to get better, or parents who want to help teach their kids to cook, is Ruhlman’s Twenty: 20 Techniques, 100 Recipes, a Cook’s Manifesto. It identifies the twenty fundamental ideas, foods, and techniques required to cook just about anything. It won a James Beard Award in the general cooking category when it came out. The egg is a miracle of nutrition, economy, deliciousness, and utility. There may be no more valuable food to the cook. So I wrote a book Read On »

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Mandoline @540

  Continuing holiday shopping week, and again reposting similar products from last year, as essentials rarely change, here are my recommendations for modestly priced kitchen tools that are essentials in my kitchen. (All but one of the following links is to Amazon; I’m a part of its affiliate program—when you shop at Amazon via this site, it helps to support this site.) I own and love everything mentioned below. The above Benriner mandoline ($21) is one of my most valued kitchen tools for uniform slicing, julienning, and making brunoise (a julienne turned into a dice). By far my most valuable electric device in my kitchen is the hand blender—I use Braun that seems no longer unavailable, but I bought this Cuisinart version for my mom ($99) and it works well—these devices all do the job of Read On »

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Braised-Lamb-Shank-parchmen

These are the big ticket recommendations from last year (and the year before, with several additions) because, well, the best equipment, like fundamental technique, doesn’t change. I always advise buying fewer items of high quality. Hope everyone had a happy and festive thanksgiving! My go-to pot is the 7-quart Dutch Oven . It’s what I bought my beloved Dad long ago; now, sadly, I have two of them. My other favorite is the braiser, the everyday pot in which you can cook just about anything. (Here’s one of the videos we did, where I use this pot to make an easy cassoulet.) I’m also partial to the smaller “ovens”—the 3.5-quart version is perfect if you cook for only one or two people. For stainless-steel cookware, All-Clad is the best. Here are their saucepans, plus a big sauté Read On »

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The ever popular Tool Bundle. It features our most popular kitchen items. Photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman.

I regret I’m not the sort to come out with a new brand of, say, Cheerios because the gluten-free, whole wheat Cheerios are old. I will soon recommend the same pans as last year, because good things last. That, ultimately, is why I care about the products I and Mac make. I love all of them. They’re good and they last. In keeping with Cyber Monday, and happily at that, we’re discounting all kitchen tools for this day. All of them are my favorites; why make anything else?. (Also, I just saw the movie Spotlight and it’s every bit as extraordinary as people are saying; go see it; but remember that a good wood spoon will last longer). And always remember during this stress-filled season, it will all work out in the end. So don’t stress. Read On »

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