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.

More links:

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


48 Wonderful responses to “It’s Here! Introducing The New Book!”

  • pchak

    This is going to be a favorite of mine. Can’t wait to get my copy.

    Also, regarding the “No recipes” comment. I guess I’d be somewhere in between Marc’s estimate and yours. I’m not discounting technique, but in some instances, you can pull off some neat things with basic technique and a lot of inspiration. I know some people w/great technique, but their food is good, but unimaginative. Otherwise, some folks with merely “sound” skills come up with some pretty brilliant stuff (not saying that better technique couldn’t make it better, though).
    Technique does give you the edge, though. Take cutting potatoes. We did Belgian frites for tailgating. My friend is only ok with cutting potatoes, where my knife technique (far better than his, though not perfect) allowed me to efficiently cut double the taters in 1/2 the time, and more consistent result.

    Now, if my technique for making mayo was better, I would not have had to serve garlicky hollandaise with those crispy little treats! 🙂

  • Sam

    Will there be a book tour? (I ask because my local place usual insists that you buy a copy from them.)

      • Sam

        Sweet. Seattle. (Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park is near my house and attracts a lot of big names [which I consider you] for book tours. Generally you have to buy the book from them though to get a line-ticket, which means I will have to hold-off on buying this for now… a great bummer since Ratio changed the way I view my kitchen… because of Charcuterie I now have a Bradley Smoker, because of Ratio I now have an electronic scale and eye any cup-measure recipe with suspicion…because of Elements I now “rewet” all of my stock bones, doubling my output and freeing me to expermeint with a product that is now less prescious… so I am genuinely anxious to see what we do next!)

      • Mark

        When will you be in Seattle? I have the 3 Keller tomes that you had a hand in and would love to pick up your latest offering.

      • Marc Barringer

        Detroit. I’m sure we can find a place for a signing. Perhaps a butcher shop? (Unless Polcyn has it!)

  • Shannon

    Looks beautiful, but I’m confused. Most of the “techniques” seem to be ingredients or recipes.

    • ruhlman

      Yes, this was some grumbling from marlene about this. But, yes, knowing how to use seven foods is technique; they’re tools and how you use tools is technique. An apple is an apple, but butter is a shortener, an enricher, a sauce, a cooking medium, even a preserver.

  • Sandra McKenzie

    I can’t wait to get my hands on this book. Sounds like my basic philosophy of cooking, which is that there are really only about seven recipes in the world, and everything else is just a variation on a theme. A friend of mind distills that even more: she says there are only three essential recipes: cook it with moist heat; cook it with dry heat; eat it raw.

    • ruhlman

      I meant last because i really dont have more to say. or i’ve said all i need to. just feeling booked out, i guess. but never say never say never, right?

  • JoP in Omaha

    Awesome! I’ll have the book in my kitchen soon, and I’ve checked out the forum site. This’ll be fun!

  • twoshoes

    I got it on friday and have flipped through it. rather impressive presentation at least. I’ve learned a lot from a couple other books you’ve had your hands in (french laundry and ad hoc in particular), so I look forward to trying a few of these recipes. I suppose my only regret is that it isn’t autographed. even though I think autographs and signed books are kinda silly. in a grown up kinda way of course.

    we’ll see how things come out once we dig in and will perhaps let you know.

  • Michael

    What about the next Charcuterie book you were talking about? Is that still in the works?

  • Carri

    Hi Michael. the book looks great! I am just curious, and I’m sure others are as well…which method of purchasing the book gets YOU the most money?

  • Josh

    Sounds very interesting. Can you comment on what distinguishes it from other technique driven books such as Cooking or Pepin’s Complete Techniques?

    • Marlene

      I want to comment on this. I think what makes the most difference is Michael’s ability to distill information to a level we, as home cooks can all understand and relate to. The process shots really help as well. Donna is a gifted photographer.

      I lived and breathed this book for almost a year, and we had many “discussions” on chapters and content and recipes. I may be a little biased, but we didn’t always agree, and sometimes he even discovered I was right. Ok, not very often, but I’ll take what I can get. 🙂 Michael asked me at the end what made me want to put so much of myself into this, and my answer was simple. “I learned a lot”. I’m a pretty accomplished home cook and have taken several culinary courses at ICE, but every time I work on something with Michael, I learn something new. And his ability to be able to explain to me when I wasn’t “getting” it, I think has translated itself to these pages. I’d encourage you to try a few things, come on over to the Twenty forums and share your thoughts.

      As good as I think the book is, Michael and I are always up for learning from his readers. !

  • Victoria

    This book is BEAUTIFUL. I am looking forward to a thorough explanation – and some mighty fine seared sea scallops – my fave!

  • Margaret

    Michael, I am heading to Hyde Park this Saturday to take a class at the CIA. Loved reading “The Making of a Chef” and can’t wait to experience, at least for a few hours, the things you wrote about there.
    I look forward to reading the new book!

  • Dana N.

    I have to reiterate what Marlene said. This methods are well within the scope of most home cooks, and they open up whole new avenues a home cook. Several are now in permenant rotation in my collection, not only for family dinners, but for entertaining. Smart ideas for prepping ahead of time make this particularly valuable. The practical application of the techniques for the home cook has given me new inspiration.

  • Jill

    Thanks to you, I made pizza dough for the first time…and it was fabulous! Love the book, love the photos. It hurts my heart to think it may be your last.

  • Chuck McLean

    Two comments and a a question. Comment one, just finished the book and love it! Looking forward to spending this rainy East Coast weekend making some of the recipes. Comment two, I think you were a little hard on store bought chicken stock. There are certainly brands I would never use again, but at the nice grocery store around here, I can find an organic brand whose ingredients are chicken, onion, carrot, celery and salt. Period. Nice to have around when I have none in the freezer. Question – water is its own technique, but I don’t see where you mention what kind of water you use? Do you just use tap water, or something else?


  • naomi

    I’m so excited for this new book. I bought Ratio-read it, loved it, applied it and then bought three copies and sent it along to three other bloggers! I’m a huge fan!

  • Rick Ballard

    I just got my copy, and it looks great! One question, though: immediately after recommending Diamond Crystal Salt over Morton’s, the book notes that all salt measurements will be for Morton’s. Why didn’t you use the salt you’re recommending? As someone who stocks Diamond at home, it would’ve been a lot more convenient for you to use your own recommended salt for measurements.

    You say you do this so that volume and weight are the same, but couldn’t you just adjust the volume you recommend for Diamond salt?

  • Norah Gibbons

    I am really enjoying your Rhulman’s Twenty Book… I borrowed it from the library and liked it so much I went and purchased it yesterday… Have a pot of stock simmering on the stove inspired from my reading on the weekend.. btw… I wanted to share your book on my fb page but when I tried to do that the picture of one of your other books shows up not the Rhulmans Twenty picture .


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