Photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman

Long enamored of black and white, my wife and collaborator has been working on a series of food shots featuring not food so much as the color of food. If you like her work, let her know or have a look at her gallery at

Update: In response to a comment below, Donna says she can make available reasonably priced 11×14 prints of this photo or any of her shots on her site. Email her there or send me an email via the above contact tab, and one of us will get back to you next week.

I’m on vacation from now until Monday, April 4.  Until then, check back in here every other weekday for another of Donna’s photos.

As ever, I’m grateful to all who come to this site, especially those who comment and keep the conversation lively! Thank you!

Want more food writing?

Happy cooking, everyone!

© 2011 Michael Ruhlman. Photo © 2011 Donna Turner-Ruhlman. All rights


23 Wonderful responses to “Brown”

  • Pat Barnes

    Not to forget the food-related books you co-wrote or collaborated. AND your columns in the NYT. Thanks Mr. Ruhlman(since we haven’t been properly introduced I shant call you Mike. lol)

  • Kathy

    Wow, I absolutely love this one! Brown is my favorite color (I’m weird, I know) and the composition of this is just so perfect. Bravo, Donna!

  • Victoria

    Brown is not my favorite color; I think it’s because I was the brown leaf in a first grade play, and I wanted to be the red leaf. The only reason I got to be any leaf at all was because my grandmother made all the costumes.

    But I do love pears in any color. And I love nutmeg, and I love eggs.

    So what’s not to love about this beautiful picture.

    • Rhonda

      It is common knowledge that the Brown Leaf is the most beautiful and sought after leaf. Red leafs, meh…

  • Mina

    Wow! I looked at Donna’s photo gallery and all of the images are spectacular. I especially like the jelly with Camembert—beautiful detail and color. The two of you are a gift to the world of food publishing!

  • Shayna

    I am really enjoying these color-centric photos, what beauty in simplicity!

  • Jason Sandeman

    Again, I love the composition and the color balance. The freshly grated nutmeg is a stunning crown to this picture. Great work Donna!

    • ruhlman

      donna says she can make reasonably priced prints available to those who want them! send me an email via the contact button on this site.

  • Toni

    I think that photo is superb, as well. But what really drew me in was the very last book you mentioned, Boys Themselves and your pro-single sex classroom stance.

    Since it has now been proven that girls do better in single sex classrooms and you’ve reached the same conclusion about boys, no surprise to me, I wonder why parents of children attending public schools aren’t demanding the option of single sex classrooms? It makes good sense and wouldn’t be difficult for the schools.Well, it might be for the few tiny schools where there is only one classroom per grade, or even combined grades in a single class. Even if only math and science classes were single sex it would make a difference. I know that wouldn’t be very difficult because when I was in fifth grade my teacher sent us to another classroom for math while our math teacher’s students went to our classroom for science. It would be easy to just exchange boys and girls– teach the girls math while the boys learned science and vice versa.

    • ruhlman

      yes, i did find benefits for boys, but they differ somewhat from the benefits of girls. bottom line I found was that ss schools are best for those kids who most need their education to be good, poor kids and kids that don’t have support at home. It’s available to almost no one who truly would benefit from it. in fact some would say the law makes it illegal to create them.

  • Rhonda

    I Love the subtle.

    You are such a great writer.

    “House” was the best. I cannot and will not read “Walk on Water”. How you lived through that is beyond me.

    Food is good. Food is great — but you have SO much more.

    How about a short story?

    Use a Pen Name if it feels good. Tell me about the Rabbits…

    – R

  • Strange Fruit

    The only brown worth mentioning here is brown-nosing. People, stop being so obsequious. Donna Ruhlman’s work at best is amateur and pedestrian. The lighting and composition are collegiate level, the styling forced, the choice of subject, banal. To call this work spectacular is laughable and superbly demonstrates how sycophancy promulgates inferior work. Michael Ruhlman has found his talent (designing spanking spoons for instance) but his wife needs to look elsewhere for hers.

  • Rhonda

    Strange Fruit.


    I love Donna’s work.

    She is a genius. If that is what collegial lighting and Forced Subject looks like, I will surely take.

    Donna Rocks!

    • Strange Fruit

      Albeit cursory, a search on the internet for a list of geniuses did not bring forth the name Donna Ruhlman. Amongst others, I read the names Jefferson, Picasso, Aristotle, Da Vinci and Mozart. Your response quite marvelously backs up my point. The sycophancy prevails.

      • Toni

        Geez, Strange Fruit, didn’t your mother teach you that if you can’t say something nice you shouldn’t say anything at all? What’s wrong with you? Either don’t be an ass or take it somewhere else. Comments here come from nice people, and you don’t seem to qualify.

  • ruhlman

    I leave strange fruit’s rude comments up because I believe in keeping this blog as open as possible. It verges on being rude enough to delete though. I wonder if Strange Fruit weren’t hiding behind anonymity he/she would say the same thing. Would Strange Fruit say the same thing to Donna to her face. That’s my touchstone when writing anything. Would I say this aloud to the person I wanted to address. It’s fine if he/she wants to criticize Donna’s work or my work, but to do so in a way that also criticizes those who like her work speaks more about the commenter’s bitterness and rudeness, and certainly doesn’t offer anything useful to Donna.

    Elise Bauer has a good post on comments. Basically, the comment field is akin to a party she’s hosting. If someone is rude, to one of the guests, or one of the hosts, she’ll ask them to leave. I have no tolerance for those who are rude to another guest, period. I’m much more tolerant of rudeness directed toward me. Maybe I shouldn’t be.

    For the most part though, excepting Strange Fruit’s sad bile, the comments here are incredibly enriching and helpful and smart and curious. And for that I am truly grateful.

  • Rhonda


    I applaud you for this response.

    Sometimes contrast can be good — even if it is not true.

    I am confused about the “sycophant” label I have been issued by serious fruit.

    What the fuck can a Food Writer from Cleveland possibly do for me and why would I “suck” up to him?

    …other than invite me for dinner — and I accept by the way.

  • Donna

    There’s a lot I agree with what Strange Fruit has said. Michael’s reader’s are generally too generous with their praise on the quality of my work. I am not a professional food photographer—at least I don’t think of myself that way. I would describe myself as a professional photographer with a photojournalism background whose husband needed me to start shooting food for his blog.

    There are many tremendously talented food photographers out there—and I am certainly not one of them. I expect I’ll get better at doing studio food photography just by doing it, but I do my best work capturing food and cooking in the style of photojournalism.

    I do learn something every day I shoot—and that’s all good and thankfully still fun.