Ok, this is it, my last new book: Ruhlman’s Twenty: 20 Techniques, 100 Recipes, a Cook’s Manifesto.” A distillation of all I’ve learned. I’m hoping it’s every bit as fascinating and pompous as my previous book, Ratio. But it’s very different, a big lavish book with great color photography to illustrate the techniques and recipes.

Twenty is the exploration of a single idea: that all of cooking can be reduced to a handful of techniques. It’s not as if you have to master a thousand techniques in order to cook well. Or even a hundred. You only need to know about about 20 things (you surely know more already than you think you do).

My goal is to explore the basic techniques we need to know to cook everything else. This is all I’ve been doing since I began cooking for real, attempt to reduce the fundamental act of cooking to its essence.

We’re taught by the processed foods companys, the Duncan Hines and the Krafts and the Swansons that they’re going to make our lives a breeze by selling us their product. Not true and not necessary.  Cook for yourself.

I asked a while back what were the cookbooks that teach?  I hope Twenty will be one of them.  It’s filled with techniques, yes, but also with 100 great, well-tested recipes that illustrate the techniques, and process photography by my awesome wife Donna.

The book is dedicated to Marlene Newell, a Canadian self-taught and passionate cook, who tested all the recipes, then oversaw repeated testing by others at her site cookskorner.com.  She’s created a forum devoted to Ruhlman’s Twenty for anyone who wants to cook along, ask me and Marlene questions, make comments, share their experience with the book. I hope you’ll join us.

But most of all I hope you’ll simply cook, for yourself and for the people you care about.

Let me know what you think!

Update: two errors have been found in the book, one of them serious. On page 161, the snickerdoodle recipe calls for 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar. The correct amount is 1/2 cup.

On page 22, I say that 40 grams of salt in a liter of water will result in a 1% brine; it should read 10 grams.

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