Photos by Donna Turner Ruhlman

The economy struggled but cooking and writing about food sure didn’t! My colleague Emilia and I decided to have a look at the most popular—or most viewed is perhaps the better phrase—posts from this site this year. By far the most exciting blog event of the year was Cathy Barrow‘s and Kim Foster‘s Charcutepalooza. What an amazing thing happened, and all because of that catchy hashtag on Twitter. This would not have happened without Twitter. Congrats to all who participated and who pushed themselves to cook in unfamiliar and often difficult ways! Special congrats to Cecilia, who blogs at One Vanilla Bean, and Peter, who blogs at Cookblog, as the two year’s end finalists. Good luck to you both!

Top ruhlman.com posts from 2011, in no particular order:

Stock Convictions & Stock Clarifications

In which I urge people to make small batches of stock. I still keep mine on the stove top overnight and bring it to a simmer the next day without worry. My queries resulted in a New York Times evaluation of the risks, linked to in the latter post. (Btw, I tried leaving some stock on the stovetop for three days without reheating it, just to see what happened. It stank after two days, and by three days, the smell made me gag. I think our senses, including common sense, tell us a lot.)

As far as I know, I was the first to call bullshit on companies marketing bacon and other cured products as “Nitrite Free” or “No added Nitrites”: No Nitrites Added Hoax. This too was picked up by The Times though I went uncredited on that one (thanks Biz Day!).

Birth of a Foie Gras Torchon, was a guest post by Hunger Artist Bob del Grosso on creating a great product for Hudson Valley Foie Gras. It inspired this post on how to make you’re own foie gras torchon with fab slideshow by my wife Donna.

I was honored to be asked by The New York Times to review the most astonishing cookbook ever created, Modernist Cuisine, and I did my best. I had a few serious issues which I had to address in the review but there is now doubting that this 6-volume work is a monumental addition to the the science of cooking, food photography, food safety, basic cooking technique, and, of course, Modernist techniques (no more utterances of the horrible phrase “molecular gastronomy.”)

This was just cool: talking about my favorite stock, veal stock, and how crowd sourcing created two excellent new preparations: Veal Salt, & Veal Stock & Guinness Bread.

On a whim during a blogher conference, Diane Cu, one half of the extraordianary whiteonricecouple, asked to film some impromptu editorializing in black and white video, I Had Something to Say. She and Todd Porter put several shorts together—expect more in the New Year. Thank you Todd and Diane, you guys rock. Happy New Year.

I devoted a whole month to one of the most fundamental and ancient of our cooking acts, baking bread. What fun this was: No Knead Bread, Gluten-Free Multi-Grain Bread, Home Made Bagels, Challah, Curry Leaf Bread, Classic Rye, Ciabatta,  & Multigrain Bread.  We were even able to update the Bread Baking App for iPad, iPhone, Droid, and Nook (soon for Kindle), to include a no-knead ratio. Love that these apps are organic and can grow!

Now, time to make some Hoppin John for tomorrow, the first day of 2012. May the coming year be happy, healthy, fruitful and filled with great cooking by and for you and your families!

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9 Wonderful responses to “Top Posts of 2011”

  • Barbara | Creative Culinary

    I participated in some of the Charcutepalooza challenges; as a sponsor of the event I just sort of played along when I felt like it as I wasn’t eligible for prizes but I’m glad I did. There are some more things I want to do but I will forever be grateful to Cathy, Kim and YOU for the experience. My life will never be without home cured/smoked bacon again. And I might have started something. Added to the jars of liqueurs and maraschino cherries and cookies in gift baskets I made for the holidays was a pound of maple cured and smoked bacon. Now the refill orders are coming in fast and furious. I’m just sending them to your book!

  • Jenn

    I came across the No Nitrates Added post last week and I am so glad I did, as I had fully fallen for the hype. It makes me think of the Health Claims advice in Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food. Thanks for the education.

  • Saads12

    Happy New Year to you, Michael. Twenty is a kitchen essential, like a good chef’s knife. Best birthday gift I ever got. Some adjustments are needed for my West Indian cooking, but that is normal. The sharing of your cooking advice is just awesome; reminds me of Nigel Slater’s approach to cooking too. Hope you have a great 2012. (PS- your pics are awesome! )

  • Patrick Dennis

    I made the torchon for our monthly dinner party. We decided to go “all out” on ingrediants for December. The “Birth of a Fois Gras Torchon” was inspiring and suprisingly easy. It goes without saying that the end result was well worth the effort and coin!

  • Natalie Luffer Sztern

    I owe a deep gratitude for the Charcutepalooza girls for pushing me to the limits of what I have never done; for making me learn more about Canadian Food and Agriculture than I cared to know and mostly where I can get black market pink salt in Montreal, which is not pink here.

  • Jack

    Great collection of posts Mike. One post that struck me is the No Nitrites Hoax; a very interesting opinion on foods with “no nitrities” labelled. Love the collection of bread baking posts too!

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